What Every Landlord Needs to Know

landlord's hand holding a house key in front of a rental property
  • Understand your rights and obligations as a landlord, including maximum limits on late fees and keeping accurate records.
  • Hire a property management company, inspect the property regularly to identify potential problems, and keep up with necessary repairs.
  • Be aware of tenant rights in your area under state and eviction laws. 
  • Provide proper notice prior to evicting a tenant and return security deposits within the required timeframe. 

As a landlord, it’s important to understand your rights and obligations. Your responsibilities go beyond collecting rent and making necessary repairs. You also need to be aware of the legal consequences of failing to comply with state and local laws. This blog post will help you understand your obligations as a landlord so that you can make the most of your property investments.

Lease Agreements & Rent Collection

As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to ensure that all tenants sign a lease agreement that outlines their rights and obligations as well as yours. The contract should include details on how and when rent is due, late fees, security deposits, or pet policies. 

Make sure that all agreements are in compliance with state and local laws. For example, some states have maximum limits on late fees. Meanwhile, other states may require that you provide a receipt for all rent payments.

It’s also important to keep accurate records of when tenants pay their rent and any other fees or deposits. This information will come in handy if you ever need to take legal action against a tenant who has violated the terms of their lease agreement.

pen and house key on top of a rental agreement document

Property Maintenance & Repairs

You are responsible for maintaining the property in good condition so that it meets safety standards set by state/local governments and any other applicable organizations (e.g., fire codes). Here are some things you can do:

Hire a property management company.

If you don’t have the time or experience to manage your property, consider looking for efficient real estate management solutions to help you manage the property, advertise rentals, and more. Make sure to vet the company before hiring them by checking references and reading reviews.

Inspect the property regularly.

It’s a good idea to inspect the property on a regular basis. This will help you identify any potential problems early on, such as water damage or electrical issues. Additionally, it helps build trust with tenants if they know that you are actively ensuring the safety of the property.

Keep up with needed repairs.

As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to make necessary repairs in a timely manner. If your tenants report an issue, be sure to address it quickly and efficiently. Otherwise, they may have grounds for withholding their rent or even taking legal action against you.

Respond to all tenant concerns.

Tenants should be able to reach out to you with any questions or concerns they may have. Make sure that you respond in a timely manner and address their concerns as best you can. This will help build trust between you and your tenants, ensuring a smoother rental experience for everyone involved.

person holding magnifying glass over a miniature house model with cracks

Tenant Rights & Eviction Laws

It’s crucial to understand tenant rights under state law. It’s also important to familiarize yourself with eviction laws in your area, as these vary from state to state. Here are some standard things to take note of:

Reasonable Notice Before Entering A Rental Unit

Under most state laws, landlords are required to give tenants reasonable notice before entering a rental unit. This varies from 24 to 72 hours, depending on state law.

Illegal Discrimination Against Tenants

It’s your responsibility as a landlord to not discriminate against any tenants based on their gender, race, religion, or other protected categories. You cannot use these characteristics as criteria for selecting tenants.

Proper Notice Prior to Eviction

When evicting a tenant, you must provide proper notice in accordance with your state laws. Depending on the situation, this could range from 3-30 days or more. There are also certain situations where you must provide additional notice, such as when evicting a tenant with children or a tenant who has served in the military.

Security Deposits

In most states, landlords are required to return security deposits within a specific timeframe, usually between 30-90 days. Make sure that you keep accurate records of any deductions from the deposit and provide an itemized statement for any amount withheld.

Being a landlord is an incredibly rewarding experience—but it comes with its own unique set of responsibilities and obligations too. From understanding tenant rights under state law to setting up systems for collecting rent on time, landlords need to know a lot to stay compliant with local laws while still maximizing their profits. The key is staying informed about your local regulations so that you can make the most out of your property investments.


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