How Landlords Can Legally Protect Themselves
Landlords, do you want to save yourselves a lot of time, money and headaches? Do you want to whatever is possible to counteract the many, many laws that favor the tenant?
The answer is to GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING, such as:
- Rental Application enables the landlord to:
- Determine whether or not an applicant is a good tenant or “credit risk” by obtaining his or her residence history, credit history, bank information, automobile information and employment, credit and character references.
- Obtain information helpful in collecting a judgment from the tenant for unpaid rent or damages to the apartment. Preparing for a suit against a tenant begins the day he or she first applies for the apartment. This is the best time to protect your rights and find out as much as possible about the tenant in order to be successful both in suing him and collecting a judgment against him.
- Defend against discrimination suits. If you treat all prospective tenants alike by having them complete application forms and by notifying them of legitimate nondiscriminatory reasons for denying their application (e.g. bad credit, no credit or bad tenancy history) you will have a defense to a discrimination lawsuit.
- The application process allows you to screen-out tenants who may attract unsavory people or be a danger to your other tenants and their property.
- Leases help avoid court disputes and misunderstandings; provide the landlord with greater rights and facilitate better landlord-tenant relations.
- Notices to increase the rent, to terminate the tenancy and to renew the lease should always be in writing and in compliance with the lease and local law.
- The move-in/move-out checklist is a room-by-room list of the condition of each part of the room when a tenant moves in and when he moves out. The use of the checklist avoids misunderstandings as to the condition of the apartment. Photographs and videotapes of the apartment before and after the tenant occupies it are an added safeguard.
- The above is an excerpt from the recently released
- by Buffalo Landlord Attorney Robert Friedman.