As a landlord, it’s all too easy to unknowingly fall into common legal pitfalls.
Every landlord’s nightmare is to be faced with an expensive legal problem. But, when it comes to renting out a property, there is a long list of legal challenges that you need to be prepared for. Luckily, by knowing what these legal challenges are, it gives you the information you need to avoid them. That’s why the property management experts at Stowers Real Estate have come up with this list of the most common legal pitfalls landlords face:
#1. Failing to continuously ensure a safe, healthy environment.
Most landlords know that, before someone can move into their house, they have to ensure that the property is free of any hazards that could threaten the health and safety of the tenants. But did you know that that you are responsible for ensuring that your property stays that way over the life of the lease? That’s right, to avoid unnecessary legal issues, you need to ensure that your property is hazard-free, which means getting necessary repairs done ASAP.
#2. Using a standard lease agreement.
The lease agreement is your first line of defense when it comes to legal issues, but the lease agreement itself can also be a legal pitfall if you don’t customize it to your needs and property. If you simply print out a lease agreement that you find online, it opens you up to all kinds of legal trouble down the road.
#3. Adding illegal clauses into the lease.
While a cookie-cutter lease is a bad idea, it’s also a bad idea to add clauses into your lease without first seeking legal advice. In order for your lease to be legally binding, all clauses must also be legal. If you try to include an illegal clause without knowing it, like a clause that says tenants must pay for repairs or that you can use the tenant’s deposit to pay utilities if they fail to pay them, then the lease could be broken.
#4. Violating the Federal Fair Housing Act.
The Fair Housing Act helps to protect tenants from being discriminated against based on their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability and family status. Unfortunately, many landlords unknowingly violate the Fair Housing Act when they are screening for tenants.
#5. Failing to appropriately handle situations with dissatisfied tenants.
Some tenants will never be happy with your property regardless of what you do. But, no matter how picky your tenants are, it’s important to have a plan in place for how to deal with the situation. In situations like these, it’s important to be both firm and respectful, but most importantly, you need to make sure that they are handled consistently.
Avoid the legal pitfalls with Stowers Real Estate.
As a landlord, there are all kinds of legal pitfalls you could fall into, but when you take advantage of the property management services from Stowers Real Estate, they are easy to avoid. We proudly serve San Ramon and the surrounding areas. Visit us online to learn more, and stay tuned for our next blog to learn about more legal pitfalls we can help you avoid.