Landlord's Legal Kit For Dummies
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As a landlord, you have certain legal and ethical obligations to your residents that are rarely spelled out in the rental contract, including the following:

  • Maintain habitable living conditions. According to the implied warranty of habitability, you must provide residents with dwellings that are fit for human occupancy.

  • Address safety issues. Comply with all local building, fire safety, and pool and hot-tub safety codes; provide sufficient exterior lighting; maintain walkways, stairwells, and railings; secure any construction sites; enforce pet policies; and address safety issues within rental units by using safety glass, ground fault protection outlets, and safe-cord window coverings, where necessary.

  • Disclose and address environmental hazards. Let residents know about any potential environmental hazards, including lead paint, toxic mold, carbon monoxide, asbestos, and methamphetamine contamination, and take any steps necessary to mitigate risks.

  • Protect residents from criminal activity. Enforce your policies consistently and work with local law enforcement to minimize crime in your facility.

  • Honor the resident's right to quiet enjoyment. Enter a resident's premises only in an emergency or after giving 48 hours' advanced notice to perform essential inspections or repairs or to show the unit to a prospective renter or buyer.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Laurence C. Harmon, JD, is the CEO of HARMONLAW LLC, specializing in apartment-related legal and property management consulting.

Robert S. Griswold, MBA, MSBA, is a successful real estate investor and property manager with a large portfolio of residential and commercial rental properties.

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