Local laws will have an impact on you as a landlord and an owner of rental properties. We all know about the federal fair housing laws, and we know that we have to follow them. We also know about the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. These are federal laws that touch the work we do every day.
Sometimes, municipalities, cities, townships, and counties create additional laws that we also need to understand and follow. If you have rental properties in more than one city or county, keeping up to date with the legal requirements can be even more challenging. You have to balance a different set of regulations for each property you own.
The best thing you can do is to educate yourself on the laws that pertain to landlords, tenants, and rental properties. If you don’t have the time or the interest in getting to know these laws, work with a property management company who can keep you in compliance.
Understanding Local Fair Housing Laws
Here’s an example. In Charleston, it is illegal to discriminate against any tenants or potential tenants based on age when it comes to housing. That’s not part of the federal fair housing law, but it applies to properties in Charleston. Even though age is not one of the protected classes federally, it’s relevant locally in Charleston.
So, maybe you have a rental property in the city of Charleston and you don’t want to rent it to a college student who is under 21 years of age. That may be understandable, but you are not allowed to make that exception. You cannot prohibit college students from applying to rent your property because the city considers this to be age discrimination. As long as the prospective tenant is 18 years of age or older and can enter into a contract, you must allow them to rent a property from you, assuming that applicant meets all of your qualifying criteria.
Stay Up to Date on Local, State, and Federal Laws
It’s important that you know these local laws and understand how they affect your ownership of rental property. You need to keep them in mind when you’re making decisions about your rental property. It can be easy to make a mistake and violate a law, especially if you don’t even know what the laws are. Local and state laws will dictate how you handle everything from evictions to security deposits. Landlords put themselves at a huge disadvantage if they don’t know the laws or how to follow them.
As a professional Charleston property management company, we make sure we specialize in these laws and keep our clients and their properties compliant. We stay up to date on new laws, and we help you understand them when we’re managing a home for you. This is an important part of protecting you from liability and financial risk.
Hopefully this information has been helpful for you. If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us today. Contact us at New Heights Property Management.