Parents being sued, am I liable for anything?

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chudat
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Parents being sued, am I liable for anything?

Post by chudat »

Parent's being sued for personal injury to tenants from rental property (housing discovered to have lead). They have no real savings or assets (besides the rental property). How big of a trouble are they in? and am I liable for anything?
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WoodSpinner
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Re: Parents being sued, am I liable for anything?

Post by WoodSpinner »

Op,

Are you part owner of the rental? Do you have your parents as owners on any of your accounts?

Do they have insurance for the rental?

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000
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Re: Parents being sued, am I liable for anything?

Post by 000 »

For an authoritative answer, you need a lawyer.

But unless (1) I were involved in the ownership or management of the rental or (2) in a situation where familial support laws apply (few States have them), I would not be worried about my own liability at all.
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willthrill81
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Re: Parents being sued, am I liable for anything?

Post by willthrill81 »

000 wrote: Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:09 pm But unless (1) I were involved in the ownership or management of the rental or (2) in a situation where familial support laws apply (few States have them), I would not be worried about my own liability at all.
I agree.
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TheDDC
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Re: Parents being sued, am I liable for anything?

Post by TheDDC »

Many municipalities require water testing for lead in order to obtain a rental permit. Did your parents follow all applicable regulations required of them in their respective municipality in the case of a rental situation? If so, then they would not be held liable.

If you do not either co-own the property or are not in any way affiliated in the ownership of the partnership (if an LLC) then you would not be liable at all.

Familial support law is [implied expletive removed by Mod Misenplace], most of those are just itching for a court challenge anyway and are not used.

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scorcher31
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Re: Parents being sued, am I liable for anything?

Post by scorcher31 »

Usually this is more of a concern for children. Were they doing renovations on your parents rental... i hope not. Were they eating the paint as grown adults? Are there any actual confirmed damages?
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JoeRetire
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Re: Parents being sued, am I liable for anything?

Post by JoeRetire »

chudat wrote: Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:03 pm Parent's being sued for personal injury to tenants from rental property (housing discovered to have lead). They have no real savings or assets (besides the rental property). How big of a trouble are they in?
How good is their lawyer? Where do they live?

Some cities have very strong tenants rights laws.
and am I liable for anything?
Are you involved in the property? If not, then no.
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student
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Re: Parents being sued, am I liable for anything?

Post by student »

TheDDC wrote: Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:11 pm Familial support law is BS, most of those are just itching for a court challenge anyway and are not used.
What is Familial support law? I have never heard or it. I assume it is not the same as filial support law? (For filial support law, I only know about https://www.elderlawanswers.com/son-lia ... y-law-9873)
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chudat
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Re: Parents being sued, am I liable for anything?

Post by chudat »

I am not involved at all with the rental property.

Background about the property:
Parents bought this property as a foreclosure property and 'as is'. No initial workup for lead or asbestos testing. They were themselves unaware of any lead or asbestos as well.

One of the tenant's child tested high for lead during an annual school check up. The local health department was notified of the results. The local health department then immediately contacted my parents about the lead issue. My parents then immediately started the process to fix the lead, but covid hit and everything was put on hold until recently. Tenants is now suing my parents for personal injury.

Planning on shopping for lawyers tomorrow. Any advice on how to handle this current situation?
000
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Re: Parents being sued, am I liable for anything?

Post by 000 »

student wrote: Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:26 pm
TheDDC wrote: Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:11 pm Familial support law is BS, most of those are just itching for a court challenge anyway and are not used.
What is Familial support law? I have never heard or it. I assume it is not the same as filial support law? (For filial support law, I only know about https://www.elderlawanswers.com/son-lia ... y-law-9873)
That is what I meant, as filial is a subset of familial, and for all I know there may be some jurisdiction where non-child family members have some obligation.
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ram
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Re: Parents being sued, am I liable for anything?

Post by ram »

At one time more than 20 years ago I lived in a rented apartment where I signed a waiver that stated that I knew that this apartment has lead paint. As part of the deal they also gave me a brochure made by the state that gave advice on how to live in a lead containing apartment without getting poisoned.
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Re: Parents being sued, am I liable for anything?

Post by 000 »

chudat wrote: Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:28 pm I am not involved at all with the rental property.

[...]

Planning on shopping for lawyers tomorrow. Any advice on how to handle this current situation?
Well I think that you should not allow yourself to become too involved in the situation. If you are going along to lawyer interviews, talking with the litigants, etc. there would seem to be a remote but non-negligible chance the litigants would claim you are an owner-in-fact.

I don't think you need to do anything until your parents hear from what their lawyer says. Unless they need help picking a lawyer? Are you looking for information to help them pick a lawyer?
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scorcher31
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Re: Parents being sued, am I liable for anything?

Post by scorcher31 »

Parents definitely need a lawyer. You can ask their lawyer if you are exposed but if you wernt involved and name wasnt on anything you are prob fine. Note i am not a lawyer.

Usually there needs to be a disclosure on properties of a certain age that there can be lead. This is the case even if you dont know if there is lead. Sandtrap would know for sure. Without that it may put them at risk. I would still think they would have to prove damages. Did the department of health confirm there was lead found in the property for sure? You don't need to say where it was. The reason i ask is lead can be in toys and other products as well.
Last edited by scorcher31 on Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
neverpanic
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Re: Parents being sued, am I liable for anything?

Post by neverpanic »

You can help advise them, but don't take on any material involvement. Very sorry to hear about the kid. You already know, but for the benefit of future readers, lead can cause serious damage.

No one here can know what disclosures were made by the landlords.

Assuming they weren't negligent (e.g. proper disclosures), of course, are your parents operating their rental business through an LLC?
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scorcher31
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Re: Parents being sued, am I liable for anything?

Post by scorcher31 »

neverpanic wrote: Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:53 pm You can help advise them, but don't take on any material involvement. Very sorry to hear about the kid. You already know, but for the benefit of future readers, lead can cause serious damage.

No one here can know what disclosures were made by the landlords.

Assuming they weren't negligent (e.g. proper disclosures), of course, are your parents operating their rental business through an LLC?
Im assuming there were not proper disclosures. If there were, that would probably make a big difference.
denovo
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Re: Parents being sued, am I liable for anything?

Post by denovo »

chudat wrote: Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:28 pm I am not involved at all with the rental property.

Background about the property:
Parents bought this property as a foreclosure property and 'as is'. No initial workup for lead or asbestos testing. They were themselves unaware of any lead or asbestos as well.

One of the tenant's child tested high for lead during an annual school check up. The local health department was notified of the results. The local health department then immediately contacted my parents about the lead issue. My parents then immediately started the process to fix the lead, but covid hit and everything was put on hold until recently. Tenants is now suing my parents for personal injury.

Planning on shopping for lawyers tomorrow. Any advice on how to handle this current situation?
Assuming your parents have landlord insurance (I hope they do), you should contact them before any lawyers. This is what insurance is for. Are you a part-owner? If not, why do you think you are liable? It seems odd you think you were unless there's something you are not telling us.
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TheDDC
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Re: Parents being sued, am I liable for anything?

Post by TheDDC »

neverpanic wrote: Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:53 pm You can help advise them, but don't take on any material involvement. Very sorry to hear about the kid. You already know, but for the benefit of future readers, lead can cause serious damage.

No one here can know what disclosures were made by the landlords.

Assuming they weren't negligent (e.g. proper disclosures), of course, are your parents operating their rental business through an LLC?
Some of the risk from these sorts of disclosures is also mitigated by the use of a property manager who should have gotten the appropriate sign offs from tenants and are responsible for repairs related to lead. If your parents have employed the use of a property manager then that would also be a significant factor here.

Also would agree that a call to the landlord insurance agent would be a great first step here.

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Pu239
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Re: Parents being sued, am I liable for anything?

Post by Pu239 »

chudat wrote: Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:28 pm I am not involved at all with the rental property.

Background about the property:
Parents bought this property as a foreclosure property and 'as is'. No initial workup for lead or asbestos testing. They were themselves unaware of any lead or asbestos as well.

One of the tenant's child tested high for lead during an annual school check up. The local health department was notified of the results. The local health department then immediately contacted my parents about the lead issue. My parents then immediately started the process to fix the lead, but covid hit and everything was put on hold until recently. Tenants is now suing my parents for personal injury.

Planning on shopping for lawyers tomorrow. Any advice on how to handle this current situation?
Has the source of the lead been identified through testing? Water, paint, ???
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jjface
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Re: Parents being sued, am I liable for anything?

Post by jjface »

Pu239 wrote: Mon Sep 28, 2020 9:42 pm
chudat wrote: Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:28 pm I am not involved at all with the rental property.

Background about the property:
Parents bought this property as a foreclosure property and 'as is'. No initial workup for lead or asbestos testing. They were themselves unaware of any lead or asbestos as well.

One of the tenant's child tested high for lead during an annual school check up. The local health department was notified of the results. The local health department then immediately contacted my parents about the lead issue. My parents then immediately started the process to fix the lead, but covid hit and everything was put on hold until recently. Tenants is now suing my parents for personal injury.

Planning on shopping for lawyers tomorrow. Any advice on how to handle this current situation?
Has the source of the lead been identified through testing? Water, paint, ???
Yes exactly. sounds like the assumption is the house but are you sure?

Did the tenants leave the property immediately after it was found the house was the problem?
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Sandtrap
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Re: Parents being sued, am I liable for anything?

Post by Sandtrap »

Thoughts:

Contact insurance company.
**Seek legal counsel. (things your parents might ask or look into)

Clarify tenant complaint:
Has Tenant hired legal counsel (letter from their attorney.)
(what is driving this complaint?)
What does the tenant want? IE: void existing lease and move out, monetary compensation for medical expenses related to the issue, what?

Has health department assumed high lead levels due to existing residence or from what, prior residence, food, etc, ?
Is complaint from the health department without verification of lead in the residence?

From a legal perspective: seek legal counsel, contact insurance company, etc.

From a landlord's perspective after checking with legal counsel: ask if the following are prudent:

1. Change the existing lease to month to month to give the tenant the option to move if they desire.
2. And/or release the tenant from the lease and give them the option to move asap as they wish, or, at legal counsel suggestion. send a "notice to vacate". (later, it can be said in court, "why did you stay if you were not happy there and the landlord released you from the lease duration?"
This letter can come from legal counsel and properly worded.
3. If the owner has multiple rental units, not in that building, then also give the option to switch to another building in another part of town.
4. Etc. (follow legal counsel advice)

Seek legal counsel asap.
In these kinds of matters it is absolutely important that the landlord be extremely and immediately responsive in every way and provide actionable and immediate solutions to any potential problems whether or not there is a lead issue and whether or not the lead issue is sourced from the rental unit or elsewhere in the tenant's life, etc.

This is a good example of the need for landlords to have very responsive and highly competent legal counsel, at least one, on "speed dial".
Why?
Fore example: tenant is away on military deployment, tenant's girlfriend sleeps over in his unit, goes out night clubbing with other females, comes home intoxicated, unit is on a second floor, girlfriend falls out of her high heel shoes and rolls down the stairs, sprains an ankle. The next morning, girlfriend calls the building department to report a defective stairway in her boyfriend's rental unit building. 3 days later, the landlord (my property mgt' company) receives a letter claiming damages and impending lawsuit.
This is why landlords need to have legal counsel on "speed dial" on a lst name basis.

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Re: Parents being sued, am I liable for anything?

Post by Flyer24 »

This is getting into legal issues which are beyond the scope of this forum. Best advice is to consult an attorney. Thread is locked.
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