What is a Liability Waiver Addendum?
A liability waiver addendum is a legal contract that all landlords should include in their residential lease agreement. The purpose of this document is to release the landlord from any responsibility surrounding any damage to the tenant’s property or personal injury on the premises.
Why Include a Liability Waiver Addendum in a Residential Lease Agreement?
Including this addendum protects landlords from being sued for incidents that may result in damage to the tenant’s belongings, injuries, or illness. By signing this agreement, tenants agree to waive certain legal rights. This includes holding the landlord blameless for any accidents or injuries that occurred on the property—regardless of the cause.
In addition to this addendum, landlords may also require the tenant to purchase renter’s insurance. This would protect the tenant and help reduce conflict during an unexpected incident. However, a tenant’s lack of insurance does not change the landlord’s liability status.
What is Not Covered By a Liability Waiver Addendum?
IIn general, landlords can still be held liable for instances of their own negligence, even if the tenant has signed a liability waiver. States have different interpretations of negligence, but this generally includes:
- Dangerous living conditions – This could include broken stairs, loose railing, windows that don’t open, exposed wires, cracked floorboards, etc.
- Pest infestation – Landlords may be held liable for pests if they are aware of the issue and don’t address it within a reasonable amount of time.
- Fires – If the landlord fails to provide working smoke detectors, they could be held liable for fire damage.
- Health Issues – Landlords may be held liable for health issues related to mold or other toxic materials if they do not address them within a reasonable time period.
What to Include in a Liability Waiver Addendum
Landlords should include the following information in their liability waiver addendum:
- Type of Agreement – The heading and opening should state that this is a liability waiver addendum.
- Lease Date – The date of the original lease should be included.
- Agreement Date – Landlords should include the date that the addendum is signed and goes into effect.
- Name and Address – The names and addresses of both the landlord and tenants should be included.
- Signature and Date – The addendum should be signed and dated by both the landlord and tenants.
- Terms – The terms of the agreement should be stated clearly—including the tenant’s agreement to hold the landlord blameless for any accidents or injuries on the property.
Before utilizing a liability waiver addendum, landlords should thoroughly research state and local laws and consult with an attorney. In some states, liability waivers must meet certain requirements in order to be enforceable. For example, California law requires liability waivers to be written in clear, unambiguous language with an easy-to-read font.
All parties should have a signed copy of this addendum and it should be kept with the original lease agreement. If a tenant refuses to sign this addendum along with the lease agreement, the landlord can deny renting to them.