When you rent a house, you are only obligated to pay rent. Property owners must take care of business matters related to the homes they own, and that includes paying the property taxes and keeping the home insured. Although it is the landlord's responsibility to pay taxes and homeowners insurance on the house you are renting, she is most likely counting on your rent payments to help her do that. You may think you aren't paying taxes or insurance, but it's likely built into the rent you pay every month and as rent and insurance rates increase, so will your monthly payments.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
When you rent a home, you do not pay taxes and homeowners insurance directly. The homeowner, however, has probably taken these figures into consideration when coming up with the amount of your rent.
Unpaid taxes could lead to a bad situation for homeowners. Municipalities will typically hold an auction on the courthouse steps and sell a home to the highest bidder if property taxes go unpaid for too long. The stakes are high when it comes to being current on property tax obligations. That is one hassle renters do not have to worry about -- and most property owners would not even dream of putting themselves in that kind of vulnerable position. But if you rent a home and the owner falls behind on taxes, this could lead to an unexpected eviction.
Houses will sometimes burn to the ground or be damaged beyond repair by a natural disaster. Renters only stand to lose their personal possessions if some disaster were to strike, but the landlord would lose the home as well as the income stream from the rent payments. It behooves the landlord to make sure the home you are renting is properly insured.
Renters cannot legally own a homeowners policy on a house in which they are renting and have no ownership interest. The only policy renters are allowed to own are policies that cover their personal possessions against theft and damage. Even if your landlord carries homeowners insurance, in the event of a disaster your personal property would likely not be covered unless you had your own renters insurance policy. Renters insurance is available through most major insurance companies and, in some cases, a landlord will require you show proof of renters insurance before you can move into the property.
Rent to Own
Even when renters have entered a rent-to-own agreement with the property owner, the owner of the house is still usually required to maintain full homeowners insurance and pay all the property taxes and other fees, such as homeowners association dues, while the renter is still renting.
Tim Grant has been a journalist since 1989 and has worked for several daily newspapers, including the Charleston "Post & Courier," the "Savannah News-Press," the "Spartanburg Herald-Journal," the "St. Petersburg Times" and the "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette." He has covered a variety of subjects and beats, including crime, government, education, religion and business. He graduated from The Citadel with a Bachelor of Science in business administration.