3 Legal Mistakes That Any Californian Landlord Should Avoid

iStock_000015752174_SmallYou’ve studied for more than a decade to become a great accountant, and you’re fairly good at what you do on a daily basis. But nobody has actually prepared you for the challenges that you may have to face as a landlord. Assuming that you are getting ready to rent your property for the first time, what are the main aspects related to your accommodation option and your relationship with your tenants that you should focus on to avoid legal complications? Here are a few mistakes that you should never make as a landlord.

  1. Do Not Ask Discriminating Questions. Sometimes, people don’t know that the questions that they ask can backfire in an unexpected manner. You know what they say: curiosity killed the cat. Don’t let your investigative nature compromise your bond with your new tenants and expose you to penalties and/or a potential lawsuit. Refrain from asking delicate questions that could be interpreted as discriminative (related to gender, color, religion, race, familial status or disability). By asking such questions you would go against the principles set in place by the Fair Housing Act. Your actions could result in a lawsuit or an ample investigation conducted by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
  2. Do Not Rent a Place That Could Be Catalogued As an Unsafe Environment. Clearly, all tenants have the right to live in a house or apartment that represents a perfectly livable environment promoting their wellbeing. Failure to ensure a decent accommodation option meeting the basic needs and demands of your tenants could get you in serious trouble. A landlord has the responsibility to keep his tenants safe at all times and protect them against any type of criminal activity and/or dangerous conditions associated with their rental property. Adequate lighting and locks constitute basic safety measures that renters should implement to minimize risks. If tenants sustain physical injuries on a certain rental property after its landlord identifies the features that compromise its safety, they may be able to drag the renter to court and ask for compensations.
  3. Do Not Forget to Make Disclosures to All Potential Tenants. Did someone actually die on your premises? Did you fail to provide punctual info related to the sexual offender registry? Did you try to hide a mold contamination problem impacting the overall condition and livability of your rental? Your refusal to make disclosures may also have serious repercussions, especially when you stumble across very determined and educated tenants who know their rights. Therefore, play by the book, do you best to build and maintain a solid relationship based on honesty and respect with all your tenants and don’t forget to increase your odds of filling your vacancies by listing your for rent properties with Apartment Hunterz.
Jan 2015