Top Landlord Mistakes you Must Avoid

Jul 3, 2013 by

Top Landlord Mistakes you Must Avoid

If you are someone who is considering being a landlord, then you should know that this is something which is not easy at all. As a landlord, your duties don’t only entail you to worry about leaky pipes and broken dishwashers, but also to think about the legalities which are involved in the process. Given below are a few of the top landlord mistakes you must avoid making to ensure that you stay out of any unnecessary trouble.

1.     Ask unnecessary Questions

As a landlord, you are to avoid any questions of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability as asking these questions is considered to be discriminatory intent, which a illegal in the eyes of the Federal Housing Act. For instance, if you ask someone too many questions about their disability or familial status, expect them to file a law suit again you very soon. However, these strict rules do not mean that you cannot screen your tenants because it is quite okay if you run background checks or ask for credit history reports etc. So, if you want to stay away from trouble, you need to make it a point to avoid unnecessary or discriminatory questions.

2.     Failure to disclose important information

Even though every country and state has its own requirement, you should know that the failure to disclose important information may get you into trouble. Things like knowledge of mold growing somewhere in the house or sex offenders in the area need to be mentioned to the tenant. Also, if the landlord is aware of any deaths, natural or murder in the rental unit, he should make it a point to inform the tenant.

3.     Using illegal terms and conditions in the agreement

One of the most common mistakes that are being made by landlords today is that of using illegal provisions that violate the state of federal laws. A lot of landlords think that they have the right to put in any clause which they like in the agreement but this is in fact a huge mistake. You need to know that putting in things such as to take away the right of refunding the security deposit or suing the landlord will not be tolerated by the law at all.

4.     Failure to offer a safe environment

Depending on the state that you stay in, you have the duty to inform and protect your tenants from any criminal activity in the area. You have to make the proper inspections and tell the tenants about anything that might be dangerous for them. You must take some measures to ensure that your tenants are safe and that no criminal can enter their houses. For this reason, you should provide your tenants with the best locks and lightening. Failure to do this can injure the tenant, who can then sue you or ask for compensation.

5.     Refusal to Fix Things

The most important duty of a landlord is to make the required repairs and fixes. This rule applies even if it is not specified in the rental agreement. Basically, a landlord has the duty to provide the best living condition for the tenants and failure to do so can get you into trouble. All in all, you will have to take care of the flooring and roof and ensure that it is safe, test the heating system, solve any plumbing or gas problems and fix anything else. A lot of law suits have been passed against landlords only because they were unable to provide the necessary things for their tenants.

Other than 5 that are mentioned above, you should also be careful about, disregarding the tenant’s right to privacy, keeping security deposits, getting rid of tenant property in the wrong manner etc.


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