As a landlord, you hope never to be put in a position where you need to know landlord-tenant laws. However, it’s important to at least be familiar with a few of them so you know what you can and cannot say or do in certain situations.
To fully understand these laws, you should contact your attorney to have them explained. Let’s look at four landlord-tenant laws all landlords should be familiar with.
Rent and Security Deposits
Rent collection is the primary income stream for your business, so it’s crucial to make sure you understand the rules and are handling it correctly. Depending on the state, there are different rules regarding how to collect rent and security deposits. Some states have restrictions on how the rent must be collected, how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit, and how many days the deposit must be returned after the lease is over.
If you allow tenants to bring pets into your rental property, you will likely charge a pet deposit. Certain states limit the amount of money landlords can charge for a pet deposit, while other states have no restrictions. Emotional support animals and service animals are not considered pets, and tenants are able to live in a rental property even if they have a “no pets” policy, according to the Fair Housing Act.
Always make sure you and your tenant are aware of how lease renewals work. You don’t want them to assume it will automatically renew at the end of the lease and then end up losing high-quality tenants. Communication with tenants on whether their lease is month-to-month or fixed-term is important to ensure you avoid vacancies.
If you have a tenant who is consistently late paying their rent or causing issues, it might be time to evict them. The legal eviction process is very specific and different based on the state; however, most states require the tenant to be given a termination notice before filing a lawsuit.
There are many reasons a landlord might choose to have a tenant evicted, but some of the main reasons are:
- Nonpayment of rent
- Failure to vacate after the lease is up
- Violation of terms
- Safety violations
Ultimately, you should always consult your attorney with any issues, but knowing the basics is important. If you have any questions or need recommendations, reach out to us! We would love to answer any questions you may have!