Your Tenants Have New Rights That You Should Be Aware Of
So you own a home or apartment building that you rent out to tenants – Congratulations! That is a great way to increase your cash flow and build wealth for the long term. Being a Landlord has rights and responsibilities. Since the real estate market crash in 2000’s more people than ever are renters and both the state and the federal government have many new laws in place that give tenants more rights than ever before. Here are some you should be aware of….
Service Animals and support animals are the biggest hot topic in the rental world. Many people with disabilities are dependent on these animals to help manage their care and alert them to possible life-threatening episodes. These animals are not pets and ‘no pet’ rules do not apply to rentals. Since they are not considered a pet, you as a landlord may not know of their existence until after the lease is signed. You may not ask the person why they need the service animal. You may ask for a letter from a physician or other health professional stating that the prospective tenant needs this animal. You as a Landlord may not charge a Pet Fee for Service or Emotional Support animals and you may be required to make certain modifications to your property to allow for the disabled person to reside there.
Legalized Marijuana – This is a new territory for many of us. Recently some States have legalized the use of recreational marijuana and the state of Florida has legalized the use of medical marijuana. Did you know that marijuana treatment in our state is in pill form only? What happens when your tenant is found smoking a joint on your patio or worse yet – in your apartment?
Criminal Records – Laws across the US have also changed regarding persons with criminal records regarding rentals. No record of crimes over 7 years old may be considered grounds for denial. However, you may deny renting to a prospect who was convicted of drug trafficking or manufacturing. Also, you may deny a rental if the prospect was found guilty of property damage or assault to [ersons in the recent past. Domestic violence is not a grounds for denial.
If you break the law – knowingly or not – you could be subject to major fines and damages if found guilty of same. There are agencies out there that investigate complaints against landlords for discrimination. This could cost you thousands of dollars or more in legal battles and attorney fees.
One solution is to let Traditions Realty manage your rentals. We have the expertise to get the job done legally. We are here to help.