Probably one of the least exciting parts of being a landlord is staying up to date on the latest laws and regulations related to property management. For a person that’s not in the law field or doesn’t have general knowledge, it’s not a simple walk in the park. Although all landlords hope their property and tenants won’t bring them any legal issues, sometimes it’s better to be aware of the laws to protect yourself. Although each state may vary in its law, we want to create a guide of laws every landlord should know about.
Keep reading to get acquainted with these.
Lease Documents Laws
If you want a proper lease from head to toe, you need to put in place a legit agreement between the parties. This will ensure everyone knows their responsibilities, the details of the lease, and the rules the tenant needs to follow to help ensure you can enforce the terms.
Of course, this document has to abide by local and federal laws. Therefore, it must contain all the relevant names, tenancy details, financial details, responsibilities, contact details, house rules, and eviction procedures. It will serve as a security blanket for both parties, and proof in front of the court in case legal disputes come up.
You can use an online template or contact a real estate lawyer or property manager to draw up a proper agreement.
Fair Housing Act
Probably one of the most famous laws in real estate, the Far Housing Act prohibits landlords from discriminating based on the following: religion, race, color, sex, family status, disability, or nationality. Landlords are prohibited from refusing to rent to potential tenants based on any of these characteristics. They are also banned from imposing different rental terms and conditions based on any of these.
Although they vastly vary from state to state, these laws provide tenant and landlord relationship guidelines. These laws can cover a wide range of topics, such as the landlord’s right to enter the rental property, the tenant’s right to privacy, and the landlord’s obligations to make repairs.
Fair Credit Reporting Act
During the tenant screening process, all sorts of information will be collected to ensure the landlord finds a fit that meets his needs. This law safeguards data obtained by consumer reporting agencies like credit bureaus, medical information firms, and tenant screening services. Information in these reports cannot be disclosed to individuals who lack a specified purpose according to the Act. It also requires landlords to send an adverse action letter to notify the specific person that they have been rejected based on information provided by the reporting agency.
Security Deposits Laws
These laws specify how much a tenant can ask for security deposits, how it should be handled, what it’s used for, how fast the landlord must return the security deposit, and how should evidence of deduction be registered.
Unfortunately, evictions may be a necessary evil a landlord must deal with. However, they may be more manageable if the landlord is familiar with the local laws that govern this process. This way, they may have a clear set of rules for approaching the eviction.
Before beginning this process, the majority of states require the landlord to send a proper eviction notice, giving the tenant some time to make things right or to vacate the property before a lawsuit is filed. Not only is it less complicated to do it this way, but it may avoid a costly trial.
Laws For Criminal Activity On The Property
A landlord must be familiar with the laws regarding any criminal activity for an obviously good reason. If the landlord suspects this is the case, they must alert authorities or, otherwise, risk as much as their property being seized.
Any landlord is responsible for making the property habitable and providing a safe, clean, and pleasant environment. The landlord must have funds available to cover immediate needs for maintenance or repairs. To clarify what is not viewed as acceptable, we want to provide the following list of what a property must have:
Structural Integrity: The property must be structurally sound and free of any significant defects, such as water damage or mold. This includes the roof, walls, foundation, and any other structural elements.
Protection from the Elements: The property must be able to protect occupants from natural elements, such as rain, wind, and extreme temperatures. This can include features such as coverings.
Health and Safety: The property must meet all health and safety standards set by local, state, and federal laws. This includes smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and other safety measures.
Security: The property must provide adequate protection for occupants, such as proper locks on doors and windows, good lighting, and alarm systems.
The landlord needs to keep these general laws in mind, but you might want to check your local laws for the rest. If you do everything by the law, you have nothing to fear in case of legal challenges.
Property managers are friends with the law and will provide constant support in this area, keeping you safe and out of trouble.
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