Today we are talking about laws that regulate how landlords do business. The first thing you need to know is that tenant laws keep changing. In fact, they change frequently. If you are going to manage properties, you must stay current on all those laws. If you don’t, it can be very costly to you. Everyone is expected to follow the laws, self managers and professional property managers included. You have to follow those laws whether you know them or not. You won’t ever be able to say to a judge that you didn’t know the law had changed. You want to stay up to date because it affects your properties and your bottom line. If the tenants know the laws better than you, you’ll pay for it in the end.
When we talk about laws, we are talking about federal, state and local laws. You need to be aware of all of them. In our area, I’m surprised to hear that laws are continually being broken by property managers who probably don’t know better. For example, the law pertaining to fees has changed. People are charging pet fees and carpet cleaning fees and here, that has become illegal. The law does not allow you to charge those fees. Look up those local, state and federal laws so you know what you can and cannot do.
We also see a lot of property managers who don’t understand what the laws are governing security deposits. There is a specific timeframe that you have to return a deposit accounting to a tenant who has moved out. We worked with someone who had been managing her own property and she ended up paying the tenant even more than the security deposit because she had not been aware of the legal timeframe. You really have to be sure you understand the laws in your area so you know what you can charge and how to handle security deposits.
Locally, we had a big change in 2014 pertaining to Section 8. Lots of self managers say they don’t rent to Section 8 tenants, but now they don’t have a choice. We encourage you to read the law and understand Section 8 tenancies.
If you are trying to save money by not using a professional property manager, make sure you know these laws so you are not caught off guard and end up spending a lot of money in the end. Please contact us at Trio Property Management if you have any questions, or you’d like more information.