Property Management Blog

Rental Property 101: Legal Side of Successful Landlord

Rental Property 101: Legal Side of Successful Landlord

Part 1: Basics You Should Know Before Becoming a Landlord

Part 2: Financial Benefits of Landlording

Part 3: Responsibilities of Rental Property Ownership

Part 4: Legal Side of Successful Landlord

Part 5: Attracting Dream Tenants

Part 6: Building Win-Win Tenant & Landlord Relationships

To be a successful landlord, you have to keep your business in good standing with local, state and federal laws.

Where to take a look at the compliance concerns you have as a real estate rental property owner.

Local Housing Laws

Requirements for your rental facilitates, the structure and the basic services such as heating and water are found in and determined by the local housing codes. Additionally, think such as rents, eviction of tenants, how to take care security deposits and other standards many be cover and local laws as well as state laws.

You can stop by your local housing authority office to get a copy of the local ordinances and laws that impact the tenant – landlord relationship. Also, you can check your local city manager’s office, Mayor’s office, or even the public library for these local laws and ordinances. If all else fails just check online.

State Housing Laws

Most generally, state laws are what regulate issues such as landlord right of entry, eviction’s, maintenance and repairs, security deposits, and evictions.

To obtain a copy of pamphlets that lay out the state laws concerning landlord – tenant relationships, you should reach out to your state’s consumer protection agency or attorney general’s office. Be sure to request the most updated information on rental statutes and laws, because these laws change from time to time.

Federal Housing Laws

There are several laws you should be concerned with and must abide by at the federal level.

Landlord responsibilities regarding environmental health hazards, such as lead paint and asbestos, and discrimination in the landlord – tenant relationship it’s covered under federal laws.

Landlords must follow the Fair Housing Act of 1968 as well as the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988.

In these laws, discrimination is prohibited based on:

  • race or color
  • religion
  • national origin
  • familial status or age (including families with children and pregnant women)
  • disability
  • handicap
  • gender

To add to this, the act prohibits landlords from doing any of the following:

  • advertising or making statements that show a preference or limitation based on a protected class (such as race or gender)
  • falsely stating that a rental unit is unavailable
  • setting different or more restrictive standards for certain tenants (such as requiring a larger security deposit)
  • refusing to rent to members of certain groups
  • setting different terms or conditions for certain tenants, before or at any time during the tenancy
  • ending a tenancy for any reason that can be attributed to discrimination

While every landlord is nonexempt from the Civil Rights Act, there are certain situations in which the fair housing laws do not apply, including:

  • owner-occupied buildings with four or fewer rental units
  • single-family housing that is rented out without advertising or the assistance of a real estate agent/broker (provided the landlord owns three or fewer such homes)
  • housing operated by certain religious organizations and private clubs who rent solely to their own members
  • housing that specifically serves senior citizens (including “62 and older” and “55 and older” communities)

Bottom line, you are responsible to know, correctly interpret and abide by the local, state and federal laws.

That’s why, for you rent your first property, it’s a great idea to consult with a lawyer who is an expert in the local, state and federal laws concerning the landlord – tenant relationship.

While you have audience with your attorney, they can also take a look at the lease you plan on using to make sure it contains all the proper language needed to protect you before you enter into legal obligation with your tenant.

A good lawyer can ensure that your lease provides a legal foundation for enforcing rental policies.

An even better move to make would be to contact a good property management company that can handle all of this for you.

For instance, Utz Property Management takes care of leasing your property out to new tenants, make sure that you are in good legal standing, and maintains the property and relationship with the tenant ongoing.

This ensures that you will run into trouble somewhere down the line and that you have a hassle-free experience as a landlord.

So don’t wait, contact Utz property management for your free PROPERTY PROFITS STRATEGY SESSION today.