When you own a rental property, there’s a chance you’ll find yourself in a lawsuit. This is your Myndful Minute, where we are talking about how to avoid and manage lawsuits.
Security Deposit Claims and Best Practices
The number one reason landlords find themselves in lawsuits is the security deposit. You have to set some established rules and expectations with your residents. We recommend you do this before your resident moves in so you have clear guidelines to follow at the end of the lease term when that resident is moving out. You and your resident both have to understand each other’s expectations.
You need to know the laws pertaining to how many days you have to return a security deposit to your residents. Make sure you include a detailed description of what’s being returned and what’s being charged. Communicate with your residents throughout the process so they understand that you’re acting in accordance with your rental agreement and your policies.
Learn the Local, State, Federal Laws
Residents living in your rental property are protected by many governing agencies. You have to be current on all the laws and property codes that pertain to your property. This is the responsibility of every landlord; you cannot use the fact that you didn’t know the law as an excuse when you’re in court or facing a claim.
The penalties can be severe. If you come up against a federal laws, you may find your ability to ever own property again seriously inhibited. You have to know what you’re doing. You have to adhere to the laws, and you have to have policies and procedures in place to avoid and mitigate any lawsuits.
Protected Fair Housing Classes
As a landlord, you need to know that there are seven federally protected classes of people. The main complaint that federal agencies deal with is on behalf of people with disabilities. Make sure you understand that when a resident is applying for your property or living in your property, it’s critical to comply with all federal, state, and local laws. You are the liable party if those laws are violated.
The last thing any landlord wants is to get sued by a resident. There are dozens of agencies you can talk to and websites you can visit to ensure you’re up to date on all the latest laws and requirements. These laws evolve. You don’t want to make the mistake of thinking or assuming you know something. Just because the law said one thing in the past doesn’t mean that’s the current standard today. Know the laws. Follow the changes. Verify everything.
Thanks for joining us for this Myndful Minute. If you have any questions about lawsuits and how to avoid them, we welcome you to contact us at Mynd Property Management.