10 Legal Mistakes Every Landlord Should Avoid

There was a time when knowing and complying with the law was not such a large part of being a landlord. Now, federal and state laws are inescapable when you become a real estate investor. If you are not moderately familiar with these laws, you can get yourself and your business into legal trouble. Therefore, a trustworthy real estate attorney Las Vegas investors rely upon created this list of 10 legal mistakes that you want to make certain to avoid.

Avoid Generic Lease Forms

As a landlord, you absolutely need a written lease agreement with your tenants. Because of this, there are places where you can buy “standard” forms for a nominal price. Our suggestion is that you stay away from such generic forms. There is a good chance that they are not customized to specifically address the landlord-tenant laws of your state. There is also a chance that they are out-dated. The safest thing you can do is have a Las Vegas real estate attorney draft a lease agreement specific to your tenant and property.

Avoid Asking the Wrong Questions

When choosing your tenants, you want to screen them to ensure you are selecting the best possible occupants. Avoid asking questions that may be considered discriminatory. That means you want to stay away from questions that don’t directly relate to either your applicants’ ability to pay rent and care for your unit while they occupy it.

Avoid Setting Discriminatory Policies

It is illegal to establish policies that prevent certain people from renting your unit. For example, it is illegal to exclude families from renting because you want to prevent excess wear and tear on your unit. At the very most, you can place a limit on how many people are allowed to occupy the unit (i.e., two people per bedroom). This is definitely an area in which you must tread lightly. Consult with a real estate lawyer Las Vegas investors can trust for sound guidance.

Avoid Making Promises

While it is important to make competitive offers when showing your unit, don’t promise to provide services that you may not deliver. If you promise a parking space, cable or a new paint job and don’t deliver, you can end up dealing with costly court proceedings should your tenant argue promises were made and not kept. Again, a written lease, containing all agreements, is critical.

Avoid Excessive Late Fees

Late fees are necessary however overdoing it can get you into trouble. Your late fees should closely resemble the damages you face when your tenant pays late. For example, they may be equal to the late fee assessed to you by your mortgage holder.

Avoid Violating Tenants’ Rights

Most states have strict rules that detail when and under what circumstances you are allowed to enter an occupied unit. Those laws generally also indicate the minimum notice you need to give before you can show up at a tenant’s door. Check with the trustworthy real estate attorney Las Vegas offers for guidance in this area. Repeat offenses can lead to termination of the lease or even court-ordered money damages that you need to pay to the tenant.

Avoid the Misuse of Security Deposits

Security deposits should only be used for repairing general wear and tear, cleanings and unpaid rent. Using a security deposit to upgrade appliances or other cosmetic improvements may be improper and lead to tenant complaints.

Avoid Dangerous Conditions

As a landlord, you are required to provide housing that meets basic health and safety standards. Make sure the unit is in compliance with all health and safety ordinances. You also want to be sure that you timely address any security issues or environmental hazards that may arise.

Avoid Keeping Security Deposits for Broken Leases

In some states, it is illegal to keep a tenant’s entire deposit merely because they broke the lease. This varies by state, so discuss the proper course of action with a real estate attorney Las Vegas can trust.

Avoid Refunding Security Deposits the Wrong Way

Most states have laws that declare a window of time during which security deposits need to be returned. If you wait too long and a tenant claims that you retained their deposit in “bad faith” you may end up suffering penalties exceeding the amount of the original deposit.

If you are guilty of any of these mistakes, schedule a consultation with the Marc Simon attorneys with over 30 years of experience in real estate law. Make the appropriate changes before messy and costly legal battles ensue. For more information about this Las Vegas real estate attorney, contact 702.451.7077 or info@marcsimonlaw.com.