5 Things A Landlord Must Know
Updated: Sep 2
Property ownership can be an excellent long-term investment. For the most part, being a landlord can be a fairly easy and enjoyable process if you use the proper procedures, and are educated about the rental market. It’s safe to say that every landlord hopes to have a problem-free rental experience with the best tenants who they won’t have to evict. But that can’t be true if you lack some of the basic knowledge of a landlord.
Having knowledgeable expertise will set you apart and help you stay afloat in the industry. For both new and experienced landlords, here are five things you must know!
Know The Tenant Rights
Knowing your rights and responsibilities as a landlord can help prevent legal issues with your tenant from arising. When legal problems arise along the way, understanding the law can help resolve them as smoothly as possible. But knowing just your rights isn't enough, you must also be attentive to the tenant's rights to ensure smooth sailing through this business.
For example, you should know that tenants are usually obliged only to take reasonable care of the property. Reasonable care means carrying out minor jobs such as gardening, and general housework while keeping the house in good condition. It’s not mandatory for them to carry out any major reparations or renovations. By knowing this, you can avoid any disputes or even legal issues.
Warranty Of Habitability
What does “warranty of habitability mean”? Well, in simple terms, the landlord must provide a safe and habitable space for the tenant to be able to live in. “Habitable” means that the rental unit must be secure and free of any potential hazards. According to this Tucson property management company the necessary utilities, including water, appropriate heating systems, and electricity, must be provided. The unit must be pest free, and any damages to windows or doors that would render the unit unsafe have to be repaired.
Suppose there are local requirements pertaining to safety. In that case, those must be followed as well, such as lead paint disclosures, providing safety measures such as handrails and appropriate outdoor lighting, and removal of snow, ice, or other hazards.
Know Your Legal Responsibilities
You should always ensure that your tenants have signed a written tenancy agreement before renting since informal oral arrangements can cause major problems along the way. Once your tenant is in occupation of the property, you can't force them to sign any sort of agreement that varies the terms of their tenancy, so make sure everything is done and set in place before the tenant moves in.
With a formal agreement, you will be able to insert clauses that will protect your position and regulate the tenant’s use of your property, and an example would be a “no pets allowed” clause. If there’s no documented tenancy agreement, you're required by law to provide the tenant with written details of the main terms of the tenancy within six months, so it only makes sense to provide a written tenancy agreement in the first place. You must also not discriminate against your tenant because of their race, sex, disability, sexuality, or religion due to the Fair Housing Act.
Also, in most cases, landlords will be responsible for making all major and structural repairs. This is in accordance with the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985, section 11-17, which stipulates that landlords must keep the structure and exterior of the property in repair. These would include walls, floors, roofs, and windows. You are also responsible for fixing heaters, electrical wiring, and gas piping.
Know Rental Rules
Tenant and landlord protections vary by state, so you need to tailor your lease or agreement to that state's rules. An example would be states vary on how much notice you must give for renters to vacate, the maximum deposit you can collect, and rules on notifications for entrance to the property.
Do your research very well before doing anything in order to avoid any legal issues along the way. You can also get your property manager to assist you with this particular task, as they are skilled professionals with expertise in rental rules.
Know When To Take A Break
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 necessarily 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 everything around you to protect yourself.
However, these things can get very overwhelming at times, and if you feel like you can’t handle it or are too busy, you can always take a break and let the property manager take over. They can easily provide you with peace of mind and help while keeping your business flourishing.
These are just a few of the key things a landlord must know. It can feel like a big responsibility and can take a considerable amount of time, especially if you want to do it right. But by following these 5 pieces of knowledge, you can have a nicer experience as a landlord.
If this still sounds like too much, hiring a property manager to handle the landlord's duties for you can be your best decision yet. They can handle all aspects of renting, from advertising your property, screening tenants, preparing leases, handling repairs and maintenance, and facilitating move-out, this way giving you an opportunity to focus on other things and remain stress-free.
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