So you’ve decided to own your own commercial property and become a landlord. You may already be aware of the main things you’ll be responsible for: handling rent payments, maintenance issues, etc. But what you might not be aware of is that there are extensive legal requirements you’re responsible for as well.
According to some legal experts, there are ten common legal mistakes that many first-time landlords make but can easily be avoided if they have the right information at hand. We’ve decided to highlight a few of these for you today so that you can hopefully avoid messy litigation in the future.
The first thing to remember is that even though you are allowed to screen tenants before asking them to sign their residential lease agreements (ie: background and credit checks) it is not, however, okay to ask questions that could be considered discriminatory in nature. It’s also important to note that you are not allowed to refuse a rental property to a tenant for discriminatory reasons either.
One of the more overlooked legal mistakes is the failure to disclose important information about a property such as potential health risks or notice of registered sex offenders in the building or neighborhood. Providing a safe environment for your tenants goes along with this as well, and a failure to notify your residents of potential hazards could mean legal problems for you in the future. Remember however that these requirements differ from state to state and you may want to speak with a real estate attorney in order to find out what you are legally obligated to disclose or not.
Even though we’ve only highlighted a few of the more common legal mistakes landlords tend to make. For those we have not touched base on, people are encouraged to speak to a real estate lawyer who can answer their questions and help them understand their legal responsibilities are as a landlord.
Source: FindLaw.com, “Ten Landlord Legal Mistakes to Avoid“