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7 Best Legal Tips for Landlords

Whether you’re already managing an apartment building, or thinking of buying a house as a rental investment, leasing property to a tenant can get complicated. In response to the shady landlords out there, many states have passed strict tenant rights protections, which can put new restrictions on everything from how you structure a lease to what you can do about evicting a tenant.

So how do you stay on the right side of landlord-tenant law? By following these seven legal tips for landlords:

1. Checklist for Renting out Your Home

If you aren’t an experienced landlord already, this is the perfect place to start. Make sure your rental property is up to code and you’ve got someone to manage it, if you can’t do it yourself. And learn how to find the right tenants.

2. How Landlord Insurance Protects Rental Properties

Another great first step is covering your property with the right landlord insurance. Rental agreements and arrangements can create some unique risks, and there are insurance policies built specifically for those scenarios.

3. Landlords: Don’t Enter a Tenant’s Unit Without Notice

This is a big one: just because you own the property, doesn’t give you the freedom to come and go as you please once you’ve rented it out. The notice requirements can vary depending on where your property is located, so make sure the tenants know you’re coming in well in advance.

4. Renting to College Students: 3 Legal Reminders for Landlords

Got property in a college town? Students can be a great source of revenue. They can also be quite a headache. Find out how to get your undergrad tenants off on the right foot.

5. 3 Forms Landlords May Need for Spanish-Speaking Tenants

And if you’re renting to tenants from whom English is not their native tongue, you can avoid confusion by rental application, lease agreement, and notice of termination in Spanish.

6. Legal How-To: Evicting a Tenant

All good things must come to an end. And even if you’re latest tenant wasn’t so good, there are still some regulations on how you can evict him or her. Make sure you know the law where you live before beginning eviction proceedings.

7. When Can You Throw Away a Former Tenant’s Belongings?

Now that they’re gone, how long do you have to hold on to your former tenant’s stuff? State laws can give tenants anywhere from five to 30 days before a landlord can toss any belongings they left behind.

Landlord-tenant law can vary depending on the terms of your lease and the state that you live in. If you have more questions about leasing property, talk to an experienced landlord-tenant attorney near you.

 

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  1. You mentioned that if your latest tenant wasn’t so good, there are still some regulations on how you can evict him or her. I didn’t realize there were so many regulations in the housing market. Do all landlords seek advice from attorneys for this matter? It seems that it could be beneficial.

    1. peter says:

      Unfortunately, I don’t think that enough landlords seek advice from attorneys, or even experienced property management companies. Most DIY landlords think that renting their homes out is just collecting rent checks; they don’t realize just how many laws they have to follow in order to avoid getting in serious legal troubles.

  2. Georgia B says:

    Thanks for the information on making sure your rental property is up to code and that you’ve got someone to manage it! I’ve been thinking about renting out my basement as an apartment, but I wasn’t sure how to get started. I’ll see if I can find a good property management to help me take care of it and see if it is up to regulations!

  3. jresquival says:

    That’s a good tip to not just enter a tenant’s unit unannounced. I bet you could get in a lot of trouble for that. It’s probably best to check your local laws about appropriate amounts of notice.

  4. I like that you said how the landlord shouldn’t enter the tenant’s unit without notice. This is really important and I think that it is one of the best ways to keep a good relationship with your tenant, too. I want to rent out my basement as an apartment, but I don’t know if I can. I’ll probably need a lawyer’s help.