Owning a rental property can be a lucrative business for California residents, but many do not fully realize the numerous responsibilities that come with being a landlord. These go beyond maintaining residential premises that are safe and comfortable for tenants. In fact, failing to fulfill your duties as a landlord can result in adverse legal repercussions.
According to FindLaw, there are many common mistakes that landlords can make. You may find it beneficial to learn how to avoid making the same errors, which may include the following:
- Not disclosing problems you know about on the property to tenants, such as mold, lead paint or the proximity of known registered sex offenders
- Failing to make repairs when necessary or to create a safe environment for tenants to live in
- Asking questions that can be seen as discriminatory, such as inquiries on prospective tenants’ race, religion, disabilities or sexual orientation, or including illegal provisions in the rental contract
- Not keeping adequate renters’ insurance for the property
- Failing to return security deposits if the property was sufficiently cleaned and undamaged after the renters moved out
It is in your best interests to fulfill your obligations as a landlord, not only to provide a safe and acceptable place for your tenants to live in, but to protect yourself from being sued by former residents or fined by authorities for breaching your duties. Landlord/tenant issues are often complex and difficult to represent in court. Therefore, the information in this blog is meant to educate you, but it should not replace the advice of a lawyer.