No investor wants to receive a call from a property
manager that legal action could be or is necessary. As your property
management company, we spend a lot of time and energy trying to avoid this
kind of call. Our efforts include updating our education, preventative
maintenance, placing qualified tenants in your property, and handling
the many details involved with your property in a timely manner.
However, avoiding litigation requires teamwork. Property owners and
managers can follow these ABCs to avoid legal action.
Always follow the law
Many important laws and rulings affect rental property today, such as
Fair Housing, habitability, retaliation, lead-based paint, mold, etc.
Every year even more legislation occurs due to litigation. We
continually update our knowledge by attending industry events and
reading important publications. We also make a conscientious effort to
keep you, the investor, informed, by sending important notifications and
providing informational articles in our newsletter. If a legal
situation arises, we will make you aware of what is happening, what
action is necessary, and explain why. .
Why is it important that you know legislation or rulings
that affect your property? It is crucial you know
the penalties and costs that could affect your bottom line. You cannot
plead "ignorance" of the law and place blame elsewhere. The
court's attitude is and always will be that you, the property owner,
are responsible for knowing what governs your property. Knowledge
empowers investors to make intelligent decisions.
Taking a proactive approach will avoid the majority of legal issues. It
is absolutely necessary for property owners and managers to follow Fair
Housing laws and rules while marketing and renting property. Providing
well-maintained properties to residents is another crucial area where
the investor and property manager must work together to avoid future
problems. It is always easier to think "preventative" and avoid
difficult situations and possibly incur financial losses.
Consider all options in seeking resolution
The fact is that no matter how much property owners/managers work on
education, good tenancy, and preventative maintenance, problems can
still occur with the tenancy or the property. Even good tenants can
have unusual problems. Unexpected maintenance and external forces, such
as a natural disaster can cause other difficulties and legal threats.
No matter what happens, property managers and investors should work
together and consider all options to resolve issues with the tenants
and/or the property.
When an issue does arise, there are often alternatives to
going to court. It is imperative that you evaluate the costs and
results of proceeding with any legal tenant action. For example, the
former tenant may dispute their security deposit deductions. Although
their claims may not be justified, it can be more costly to refuse to
compromise or make a concession and chance a court decision.
There are times that legal action is the only choice. If
this happens, it is important to move as quickly as possible to prevent
even further losses. As your property management company, we will do
our best to avoid having to call you regarding a legal matter. We ask
you to work with us to avoid litigation whenever possible.