How professional property managers can help landlords avoid legal problems

The responsibilities of a rental property owner are seemingly never ending. While managing the rental property, filling rental vacancies with the most qualified tenants, and navigating day-to-day life events; it can be easy to overlook important legal aspects that could lead to trouble down the road. There are many benefits afforded to landlords through hiring an experienced property management company.

With so many rules and regulations that revolve around landlord-tenant law, one of the biggest perks of investing in a property manager is having a professional who will handle the legal aspects of maintaining your property. Staying on top of safety laws, property codes, regular inspections, and lease negotiations are just some of the many services that reputable property managers will provide in this area.

Knowing Federal Laws that Pertain to Leasing Property

Even with the best intentions, landlords may unknowingly break federal laws because they are entirely unfamiliar with them or specific details regarding the laws. Property managers are fully versed in these laws and make sure to stay up to date with any regulation or compliance changes that occur. Knowledgeable property managers are able to take these rules into account when drafting lease agreements, screening rental applicants, performing routine maintenance, and making sure your property provides a safe living environment for your tenants. Some federal laws that commonly affect property owners include:

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act – This law states that you cannot legally discriminate against potential tenants with disabilities. Additionally, if a tenant is disabled, you must allow installation of equipment or modifications to the rental property to ensure adequate access. This law also stipulates that a landlord can never restrict or charge extra fees for a service animal, even if pets are not allowed in other cases. A professional property management company can help landlords by being proactive and responsive to the needs of disabled tenants.
  • The Fair Housing Act – This law was put into effect to prevent property owners from making tenant decisions that could be based on race, color, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, or handicap. This is why the wording in the lease agreement and during tenant screenings needs to be handled very sensitively. When context is confused or the wrong questions are accidentally asked, costly violations can pile up. Property managers will adhere strictly to these requirements to prevent legal issues arising concerning this area.
  • Habitability Regulations – The general requirements of these laws state that your rental property must provide a safe and comfortable living environment for your tenants. If you fail to do this by not conducting basic maintenance, responding ineffectively to repair requests, or requiring tenants to pay for or perform the basic repairs themselves, this can lead to costly legal disputes. The government will also intervene if the property is deemed too dangerous to be habitable. Property managers are extremely valuable in these situations because they are able to maintain the rental property the right way, make sure every detail is up to code, and ensure that all tenant requests are met as quickly as possible.

Staying Current with State and Municipality Rules

In addition to federal laws, there are also state and local municipality rules that apply to landlord-tenant regulations. Depending on the region, there may be additional requirements that need to be met in order to completely adhere to the laws mentioned above.

For example, certain states or regions could have an additional protected class added to the Fair Housing Act that does not apply in other areas. This shows how crucial it is to not only be familiar with the federal laws, but the local state, city, and county laws as well. By investing in a property manager, you can feel confident knowing the professionals are always current with the rules you are required to follow and adhere to, ultimately avoiding legal problems or code violations.

Enforcing Terms of a Lease Agreement

If a landlord does not make sure tenants are upholding their end of the lease agreement, it could easily lead to a messy disagreement or costly lawsuits down the road. Unfortunately, landlords are often the ones who suffer when a tenant breaks lease terms, especially if a property manager is not there to enforce the rules.

For example, if a tenant makes modifications to the rental property without first getting permission from the landlord, even though it is strictly required in the lease to do so, it is up to the landlord to discover these modifications and collect reimbursement for the damage. If too much time has passed between the tenant making the changes and the landlord noticing, the tenant could be reluctant to pay. Not only does this situation take away from a landlord’s valuable time to fight for the reimbursement, but fees for legal services could end up being extremely expensive. With a property manager on your side, these situations can be prevented by practicing routine property inspections and knowing the proper legal process for violations.

Assistance with Accounting and Taxes

Another tremendous benefit to having an experienced property management team on your side is the assistance provided with the accounting needs of your rental property. This involves everything from collecting monthly rent payments from your tenants, to handling payment for expenses. The landlord is then provided with detailed monthly statements that are essential to successfully running the business.

Furthermore, property management companies handle year-end 1099 forms that are required by law to properly file taxes. In many cases, special accounting reports or assistance with filing taxes are available if needed.

The Henderson and Las Vegas property management professionals at THE BLACKFORK GROUP are dedicated to making sure our clients always adhere to all property laws and requirements. By staying current with both federal and local regulations, you and your property are protected from costly code violations, tenant disagreements, and legal disputes. To learn more about our services and how we can help you avoid legal issues, contact the THE BLACKFORK GROUP property management team today for a free evaluation.

1 thought on “How professional property managers can help landlords avoid legal problems”

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