Being a landlord can seem like a simple way to make passive income and build your portfolio, but there’s a lot more to it than just sitting back and watching your investment grow. The rules and regulations governing what it takes to be a landlord are detailed and require some studying before you set out to do it yourself.
Fair Housing Act
This federal act was created during the Civil Rights movement and protects everyone when renting or buying a home from facing discrimination.
This law strictly protects the tenants from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, familial status, and disability. So before you start as a landlord, be sure you know this one inside and out and that all your rental agreements and applications are free from discrimination.
Lead Disclosure Rule
Before 1978, many houses were painted with lead-based paint. As they come upon the market, the Lead Disclosure rule requires that you, as the landlord disclose all information about lead-based paint and hazards before finalizing rental agreements.
While several federal rules and regulations govern landlords, each state has its laws that define the landlord-tenant relationship. Each of these delineates and governs the relationship between the two entities. Before you start renting, brush up on your local and state laws. These will help guide you with what can and cannot be put into a leasing agreement for your new tenants.
Provision of Safe Living Environment
This can seem like a no-brainer, but you’re required by the law to provide a safe living environment for your tenants. Everything within your rental facility must be structurally sound, free of all debris and garbage, as well as rodents and pests. While it varies from state to state and district to district, you may also be required to provide specific safety provisions like smoke detectors, carbon monoxide sensors, and window locks.
Right to Privacy
Even though you own the property, your tenants are entitled to privacy within that residence. This means a few things for landlords, the first of which is that they aren’t allowed to enter the property whenever they want. They’re only allowed in your apartment or rental for emergencies, to do requested repairs, or as part of regular inspections.
They must also take complaints of disturbances seriously and investigate when necessary. Any disturbances or noise complaints violate that right to privacy, and landlords are obligated to make the area and property as private and comfortable as possible.
Starting out as a landlord can feel like an easy way to make a few extra bucks in passive income. But there’s a lot to being a property owner and landlord. Not only do you need to adhere to federal laws and regulations like the Fair Housing Act, but you also need to stay abreast of all changes or additions to your local and state laws. Learn about your and your tenant’s rights before getting started on your own.
If you prefer some help on managing your properties, it doesn’t hurt to acquire local property management services.