Avoid Expense and Liability with Strict Compliance
Evaluate your understanding of your legal risk as a landlord – something all Arlington property managers should know – to protect yourself and your investment. Let’s start by matching the following three laws with one of the definitions below:
Legal Risk Matching Game
The Fair Housing Act
Americans with Disabilities Act
A. A requirement that you not discriminate against potential tenants with disabilities, and that you allow the tenants to install adequate access features. You can require them to put the property back to its original condition. Plus you may never restrict or charge for service animals.
B. This requirement prevents landlords from making decisions based upon race, color, sex, national origin, handicap, or familial status. States and localities can add additional protected classes, and violations can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
C. This requirement varies from region to region for property management, Arlington included, but essentially requires that your rental property provides a safe, comfortable living environment for tenants. If you neglect the living conditions or your property, respond slowly or ineffectively to needed repairs, or require tenants to pay for them, you may end up with landlord-tenant disputes, lawsuits, or governmental actions.
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- The Fair Housing Act
- Habitability Law
In addition to understanding and complying with the laws and regulations – local, state, and federal – the compliance team at Specialized recommends the following 7 action items to avoid litigation, liability, and expense proactively.
- Hire licensed and insured personnel only to do repairs.
- Be licensed if you plan to conduct transactions that are only authorized for a real estate agent.
- Provide a 24-hour service line for your tenants to use evenings, weekends, and holidays. Respond promptly to their requests.
- Document, document, document. Remember actions and communication. This is your best defense in litigation.
- Keep tenant information private data confidential, both in what you share personally and in how you store your records. Keep records for as long as your state requires.
- Carefully handle and document security deposits and other funds.
- Stay current on all federal, state, local, and industry laws, codes and regulations.
As a landlord, it’s imperative to understand the potential landmines of legal risk associated with your investment. Typical lawyer’s’ fees are $250/hour, so a single legal issue could easily wipe out your entire annual profit. That’s why many Arlington property managers trust Specialized to reduce their risk. After 30 years of keeping our eyes wide open and our ears close to the ground, this is one of our specialties.
We would love to explain the legal side of property management, Arlington style, to you in more detail. Call the Specialized compliance team today for a free personalized evaluation of your current and greatest risks. Can you afford not to protect yourself?