Today we’re talking about vendors and whether you need licensed, insured professionals. At Portola Property Management, all of the vendors and contractors we work with in the Santa Cruz area are licensed and insured. We ask for copies of their documentation annually.
People often ask us why this is important. We usually get new clients who have been using the same gardener or handyman for years, and they want to keep working with those people because they know the property. However, if those vendors don’t have insurance, it presents a liability and risk management issue that we do not want to accept. If that vendor gets injured on your property, they can come after you and initiate a lawsuit. If you own rental property, this is a potential problem that you need to take seriously.
Another thing to keep in mind is that these licensed and insured vendors will not be the cheapest. They have to pay for insurance and they have to pay for their employees to have worker’s compensation insurance. This tells you that you’re working with a true professional who takes the business seriously instead of a person who works out of the trunk of their car or the garage in their house. Paying the professional rate has value. Your rental property could be worth more than your entire 401K investment, so why jeopardize that financial security by hiring someone who isn’t insured?
I have served as an expert witness in court cases, and one particular case always sticks with me when I’m talking about this issue with new clients. In this situation, an owner allowed the tenant to have a friend climb a tree on the property to trim a limb. The friend fell and broke his hip he and he didn’t have medical insurance to cover his injuries. He sued the property owner. That owner could have hired an arborist or a licensed landscaping vendor to trim the tree limb. Instead, it cost him over $50,000 to settle that claim.
Be wise, limit your risk and hire properly insured vendors. You will be glad you did. If you need help finding licensed and insured vendors for work at your rental property, contact us at Portol Property Management, and we’d be happy to make a referral.