Risk Reduction Steps for Landlords

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Eight positive steps Landlords can take to avoid legal actions

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Risk Reduction Steps for Landlords

  1. 1. Eight Risk Reduction Steps for Landlords Positive Steps to Follow to Avoid Legal Actions September, 2013 Tim Knobloch, (240) 292-1040, TKnobloch@mris.com
  2. 2. Perform Necessary Repairs Habitability is at the heart of landlord/tenant law. Failure to provide a tenant with a safe and clean environment is NOT an option. Repairs are necessary in all rental property. Handling them quickly and effectively is the best and often the least expensive approach.
  3. 3. Follow the Fair Housing laws A definite pathway to a costly lawsuit is to discriminate. There are many Fair Housing laws and many ways to break them. Some may not even be obvious. The law concerns just about every area of renting – advertising, showing, tenant selection, handicap tenancy, maintenance, etc.
  4. 4. Settle issues without retaliation You may feel you have the most irritating and frustrating tenants on the planet, but retaliation is not the way to handle any situation. It is important to identify the heart of the problem and settle issues without giving a tenant the right to scream “retaliation” to a judge. Even if your tenants follow this course, they must prove it happened. Your immediate action will prove worthwhile.
  5. 5. Follow the Right To Enter laws in your state, county and local jurisdiction While you may own the property and pay the mortgage, it is the tenant’s residence. Every state, county and local jurisdiction has laws regarding this issue. Most of the time, it is easy to set up an appointment with the tenant by making a simple phone call or sending a request by letter. If the tenant is not cooperative, following the law is definitely the best course of action.
  6. 6. Pay attention to and follow lead-based paint laws If the laws are appropriate for your investment, pay attention to the guidelines. It may seem silly to pay a certified lead-based contractor to do lead-based work but it is a miniscule amount compared to the major fines levied for not using the right workman and procedures to handle this issue. This is a health and safety issue for residents.
  7. 7. Take immediate action concerning a mold issue Not all molds are toxic, but if they are, property owners can be subject to settlements in the “millions” if they ignore a mold issue. Taking immediate action to find out the nature of the mold complaint is the only way to handle this problem. Using qualified mold contractors for toxic mold is a legal requirement. In addition, it is imperative that action continues until it is resolved for all parties.
  8. 8. Investigate illegal activities The saying, “what you don’t know won’t hurt you,” definitely does not apply to investment property. In today’s world, meth and coke labs abound, large marijuana farms are common, identity theft rings are prevalent and there is still more. These activities apply to all levels of personal income. You can find crime in the worst and best of neighborhoods. If you are notified of any possible illegal activity, work with your property manager to investigate and/or eradicate the problem. It may not be easy, but burying your head in the sand can be very costly.
  9. 9. Register your rental property with the appropriate state or local authority If a property is not registered you may not be able to file action in court in the case of eviction. And you could be liable for a civil citation – some of which can be as high as $1000.
  10. 10. The Best Course of Action The best course of action for property owners is to avoid any actions that will incur more liability. At Eagle Management LLC we work with owners to be proactive and reduce the risk whenever possible to protect the owner’s interest.
  11. 11. Eight Risk Reduction Steps for Landlords If you need more information on tenant laws or just want some advice, call Tim Knobloch. September, 2013 Tim Knobloch, (240) 292-1040, TKnobloch@mris.com

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