If you are interested in renting out property, it is vital that you understand all of the responsibilities that come with being a landlord, other than just making a little extra money. Here are four things that are vital for you to understand before you start renting out your properties and become a landlord.
#1 Your Home Has To Meet Local Housing Safety Codes
Before you put any of your properties up for rent, you have to make sure that they meet all local housing safety codes in your county and state. As a landlord, your home has to meet higher safety standards than your own home.
For example, you can't have smoke detectors that are just attached to the wall with a few screws and operated by a battery. The smoke detectors in your home have to be hard-wired into your electrical system if you are using your home as a rental.
You also have to get rid of and remove safety hazards, such as lead-based paint and asbestos from your home.
#2 You Need To Be Careful With Your Security Deposit
Second, if you choose to ask tenants for a security deposit, you need to realize that this is not just extra cash that you get to spend however you want. This is money that you have to return to your tenants at the end of their lease if they leave your property in the same or better condition than when you turned it over to them.
Depending on the agreement that you draw up, you may need to set aside the security deposit in a separate account. A real estate attorney can help you figure out how to save and safeguard your tenants' security deposit.
#3 You Have To Follow The Fair Housing Act
Third, just because you own your property does not mean that you can rent to whomever you want to. As a landlord, you have to follow the Federal Fair Housing Act, which means that you are not allowed to discriminate in your rental practices on the basis of things such as gender and race. If you do discriminate, you could land yourself in court for your actions.
A real estate attorney like John M. Ogden can work with you and guide you to make sure that you follow the Fair Housing Act.
#4 You Have To Follow Legal Procedure For Evicting A Tenant
Finally, if there is ever a tenant that doesn't work out, you cannot just ask them to leave. You have to make sure that you follow the tenant eviction procedure in your state.
If you ever have a tenant that you want to evict, you should work with a real estate lawyer to make sure that you are following the letter of the law in your area. If you don't follow the law when evicting your tenant, you could end up in a legal battle with them.
Being a landlord can be a great way to make some extra money, but it is also a huge legal responsibility. You have to make sure that your buildings meeting housing safety codes, you have to keep security deposits safe, follow the Fair Housing Act, and follow legal procedures if you ever need to evict a tenant. Due to all the legal responsibilities that come with being a landlord, it is a good idea to always have a real estate attorney on retainer to assist you with the legal side of being a landlord.