Owning and managing rental property is not an easy task. If you are a landlord in New York, you understand how complicated it can be to protect your property rights while also respecting the rights of your tenants. This is not an easy balance, and it can be helpful to be certain of both your rights and your responsibilities. This can help you avoid legal issues in the future.
One of the smartest things you can do as a landlord is to work diligently to avoid problems before they arise. Through intentional effort and a clear understanding of landlord-tenant laws, you can significantly reduce the possibility that you will find yourself in a dispute with the person who rents property from you. This will save you time and money down the road.
How can you avoid problems?
One of the most important ways landlords can actively work to avoid legal problems is to avoid discrimination in all forms, including behaviors and questions that a potential tenant may consider discriminatory. According to the Federal Fair Housing Acts, landlords cannot deny a tenant on the basis of his or her gender, ethnicity, race, disability and other factors. If you reject an applicant, you should carefully document the reason why. Other ways you can avoid problems include:
- When approving a tenant’s application, it is critical to put your agreement in writing. Rental agreements should cover terms that include rent amount, length of the lease and other important details.
- It is important for landlords to strive to protect the privacy of their tenants. This includes notifying the person if you intend to enter his or her apartment for inspection or repairs.
- Taking the time to regularly inspect the property will help reduce the chance a tenant suffers harm because of dangerous conditions. This also includes noticing signs of potential dangers or criminal activities.
- When there is a problem, a landlord should take steps to repair the issue as quickly as possible. You are responsible for keeping units safe for inhabitants and fixing significant problems in a timely manner.
There is much more to being a landlord than simply purchasing rental property and finding appropriate tenants. Before you proceed, it is in your interests to know what to do and what obligations you have to the people who live on your property.
Help with property law issues
Property law issues can be complex, especially if you are not familiar with the laws that are applicable to your individual situation. It may be prudent to discuss your concerns with an experienced attorney who can explain ways you can protect your rights and interests as a landlord.