There are various laws pertaining to rental properties which are applicable for landlords and tenants. Just as tenants have obligations and should comply with the policies of the landlords, the landlords too have certain commitments and must not act in a way that is unacceptable or legally untenable. Here are some key things to know as a landlord.
- You can have any tenant you want and you can also turn down prospective tenants without providing any reason. However, you cannot discriminate tenants based on gender, religion, age, marital status, race, sexuality, having children or not, pregnancy, mental illness, disabilities or health reasons. There are many other discriminatory factors and all are taken cognizance of by the law.
- Landlords must proceed per the law, having all the requisite agreements in place. There should be a bond that tenants pay upfront as security towards any missed rental payments or damages to the property. The agreement should be in accordance with the law. There should be no clause that violates any of the rental laws in a state or city. The landlord and the tenant must be in full agreement of all the terms of the lease.
- The bond money or security deposit that is paid by the tenants cannot be used to attend to normal wear and tear of the property. Faded curtains or a stained kitchen countertop, dirty floor or cobwebs are not damages to the house. Unpaid rent, serious damage, abandoning the property and loss of any fixture owned by the landlord are some of the cases where the bond money can be withheld and not refunded to the tenant at the time of eviction or when the tenant moves out after the term is up. The bond money should be assessed proportionately and only that much should be deducted that is fitting for the expense the landlord would have to bear.
- Landlords can choose the rental amount but it should not go vehemently against the market trends. Landlords can ask for weekly or monthly payments. Many landlords want fortnightly rental payments. There should be signed receipts for every rent paid.
- Landlords must make it clear what their responsibilities are and what the tenants would be responsible for. Tenants usually pay for utilities and other services. Repairs and maintenance are usually done by the landlord. In some cases, tenants do the repairs and maintenance. Rents are lower in such situations.
- Landlords can visit their property regularly but not infringing upon the privacy of the tenant. There are state laws governing visitation. It is best to have a prearranged time for a visit, agreed upon by the tenant and landlord.