It is no news to you that local laws that govern most residential houses vary from state to state. There are some lines that every property manager worth his/her salt knows not to cross. You may not know this, but there are also gray areas in the field of property management. There are specific actions that seem harmless and reasonable. However, these actions are deemed as infringements upon the law in many different states.
There is no doubt that when you comply with the law, things go a whole lot smoother. It also helps if you read up on the latest additions to the ethical code for property managers. To make things easier for you, we have decided to compile a list of the most common manager actions that break the law.
- Dropping in unannounced: News flash, 100% of all tenants have the rights to unhindered privacy. It is unethical and criminal to drop by for visits without prior notice. If you, as a property manager need to stop by for maintenance and inspections, you must offer a warning. This is backed up by the landlord-tenant law. A section of the code clearly states that a property manager must seek a tenant’s consent before entering as they have relinquished possession of the rented space upon signing the rental agreement. If you do decide to drop in unannounced, some nice tenants might waive their rights to an advance notice. However, under no circumstance should you make use of your keys without earlier notice.
- Fishing for personal info during an application: Of course, landlords are well within their rights to select tenants based on their income, marital status etc. However, reverse is the case for property managers. The field of property management does not allow its players to ask about personal masters. As a property manager, information about religion or place of origin are baseless and needless. They might even lead to legal action against you. All you need to do is ask questions that are an accurate reflection of the tenant’s ability to uphold the terms of the lease.
- Increasing rent midway through the lease: If you are a property manager, you can definitely increase the rent. But only with a renewal or a new lease. It is against the law to raise the rent before a tenant’s contract is up. This rule can be bent under special conditions. It might be possible to change the price of the rental before it is up. This may be done due to an additional service or an improvement.
- Evicting renters because of a sale: Property owners may decide to sell on a whim. While working as a property manager, you have to adhere to the wishes of the property owner. However, regardless of any sale made, you must not violate the lease. Sellers have a responsibility to make sure that tenants will be kept in place by new owners. Alternatively, you may have to find a way to buy out the tenants.
- Failure to provide a Certificate of Occupancy: Once in a while, it is a distinct possibility that clients forget to request to see a certificate of occupancy. For example, tenants who rent spaces in already established complexes make assumptions and forget to ask. Despite this, it is your responsibility as a property manager to let your tenants know that that they are being provided with a safe, comfortable and most importantly, legal dwelling. One of the best ways to do this is by providing your tenants with a CO. Let them know that your unit meets up to the requisite standards set by local codes.
- Overcharging the rental deposit: In some states, landlords are not allowed to charge tenants more than one month’s rent. Some have more flexible limits while some have none at all. However, as a property manager, it is very important that you check up on local rules on rental deposits and follow them.
From the above, it is clear that it can be easy to fall awry of the law as regards tenancy and occupancy rules. That is why we at LAPMG.com have studied up on these laws repeatedly. That way, we can offer you the best property management practices. With LAPMG, you can be sure of avoiding liabilities, lawsuits, and expensive penalties.