Being a landlord demands a thorough understanding of landlord-tenant law. This helps evade tenant rows and run-ins with law enforcement. However, some landlords intentionally break the law while some are just inexperienced. Here are some of the common illegal actions you can take as a landlord that could lead to a lawsuit:
• Refusing to Repair the Property
Two primary instances make landlords not to consider the required repairs. One, they want a tenant to move out so they make their life uncomfortable. They may put a stop to essential amenities to the tenant like hot water or heat. Two, they may fail to make repairs in a bid to save money. All these actions are illegal. A landlord is expected to ensure their rental property is in a habitable condition. For this reason, it is against the law to refuse to repair the property and in turn affect the safety or health of the tenant. Furthermore, a landlord may make repairs by hiring unlicensed contractors to do the plumbing or electrical repairs while the town may require licensed contractors to perform.
• Covering up Safety Issues
Safety issues may be brought to the attention of landlord the and instead of attending to them, he/she may attempt to slide it under the rug. For example, the rental unit may be a lead paint hazard. The landlord may try to evade the costly, yet required remediation of lead paint. Instead, they may install decorative molding to cover up the hazard.
Every landlord is expected to abide by the Fair Housing Laws. Additionally, there’s a Federal Fair Housing Law and states may also have additional rules that landlords must abide by. All these rules are essential as they prevent the discrimination of particular classes of people by landlords when they are renting property. For example, a landlord may be adamant at renting out their property to people because of their skin color, the religious group that they go by, disability or because they have kids. Landlords commonly make these violations either when they post ads to fill vacancies or when they are screening potential tenants looking to fill vacancies.
• Entering the Tenant Property without Proper Notice
Landlords are required to observe the right to privacy that tenants have. In the case of an emergency, a landlord is allowed to go into a tenant’s apartment. However, in other situations, they have to give the tenant proper notice before they can enter the apartment. The landlord-tenant law also dictates the amount of notice that a landlord is expected to give and if not, a clause should be included among the lease agreement details. All in all, the only time a landlord can gain access into the property of a tenant is for legal reasons such as making repairs or taking prospective tenants through the unit.
• Increasing Rent
Some rules outline how a landlord should go about raising a tenant’s rent as well as the amount they can increase it by. For one, it is illegal for a landlord to increase the rent while failing to give proper notice, say, 30 days before lease renewal. Two, it is illegal to increase the rent with rates that are not legally allowed, say 10% when the state allows for a 5% increase annually. Three, it is illegal for a landlord to increase a tenant’s rent as retaliation because a tenant had brought light to a safety or health issue with the property.
Avoid being in the wrong as a landlord by ensuring you abide by the landlord-tenant laws. Additionally, look up your state laws and what they dictate about repairs, occupancy, increasing rent etc. If you are looking to have your property managed, look no further. At lapmg, we offer property management services and leave you to other pursuits. Check us out here.