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What are the potential liabilities if you rent out your half of a duplex?

What are the potential liabilities if you rent out your half of a duplex?

Apartment Building

For many property owners in Illinois, owning a duplex and renting out the other half of it is a beneficial arrangement. However, before embarking on the renting process with the assistance of a real estate lawyer in McHenry, those interested in becoming landlords should familiarize themselves with some of the potential liabilities they face.

Property damage

Not all tenants are as careful about maintaining their living space as others. In some situations, duplex owners may find that their tenants purposefully or accidentally damage certain aspects of the home. Although certain tenant/landlord regulations protect landlords from becoming liable for purposeful damage, other situations may place the liability on the landlord. Before renting out half of their duplex to new tenants, prospective landlords should carefully review tenant/landlord regulations in their area and perform background checks on the new renters.

Tenant injuries

In some situations, landlords can be held liable for tenant injuries after renting out a duplex with the assistance of their real estate lawyer in McHenry. For example, a landlord could be held responsible in an injurious situation if he or she:

  • Failed to maintain a portion of the  premises that caused the accident
  • Did not take necessary steps to prevent the accident from occurring
  • Did not fix the problem, even though it would have been easy to correct
  • Was negligent in a way that led to the accident

For example, if a tenant fell and broke his ankle while walking up the steps that led to the duplex, the property owner may be held liable if it was his or her responsibility to maintain the steps. The property owner may also be considered liable in this situation if he or she failed to take reasonable measures to keep the steps in good condition.


Those who rent out half of a duplex have several different legal responsibilities. One of these is to make sure that the rental unit is in livable condition at all times. For example, landlords are often responsible for making sure that the duplex has working electricity, the plumbing is in good working order and that the heating system works properly. If any one of these major systems breaks down or needs to be replaced, the duplex’s landlord, not the tenant, is responsible for taking care of it.

Before renting out half of their duplex, property owners may be concerned about how these potential liabilities could affect their finances. In this situation, those who own a duplex may benefit from speaking with a real estate lawyer in McHenry about how they can avoid risk while renting.

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