Archive for the ‘ FCRA ’ Category

Fair Credit Reporting Act does not prohibit renting to tenants political affilation

Background Checks of Tenants – Accurate Credit Bureau

Protect your investment by conducting a background and credit check of prospective tenants. Tenants with a history of not paying their rent, that have been evicted in the past, or have a criminal record are more likely to cause problems. Landlords have the right to review credit reports and conduct background checks when screening prospective tenants, nevertheless the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires landlords to follow proper procedure when doing so. Accurate Credit Bureau will tell you if applicants pay their rent on time, have damaged previous rental properties, have criminal records, and how they were rated by previous landlords and keep you FCRA compliant.

Tenant Credit Check – Credit Score Report History – Accurate Credit Bureau

A tenant credit check can mean a lot of different things. It ranges from finding out whether a tenant meets a certain standard to poring over pages of account histories.

Accurate Credit Bureau is a tenant screening service that screens rental applicants for clients who want to rent their properties.

When property managers run a background and credit check on a potential tenant, they looks for people who have a certain credit rating roughly equal to a 600 FICO score. They asks for higher credit scores when renting out upscale homes or condos. They also look at social media, county records and bank statements, among other things, to check for consistency.

Accurate Credit Bureau Tenant Background Check and Employee Screening

Some think that tenant screening services are unnecessary. They believe that it is a waste of money when you can verify the information yourself by calling references. However, the fact is that with regard to an investment, everyone must make smart choices. The only way that one can make a smart decision is based upon accurate information. Unfortunately, people will lie in order to get what they want. It is these people that are willing to do anything that are the most dangerous to your investment. Employment screening services ensure that you are adding the right person to your team, and confirm based on their background check that your employees and business are not at risk by this person. Tenant screenings confirm that the renter is credible and is consistent on paying their bills.

Life Without Background Checks

When it comes to not using tenant screening services, there are countless stories of homeowners that rented to someone that then skipped out on their monthly rent payment. One example is from the state of Texas. The person renting the home skipped out of town while still owing two months of rent. Calls, emails and texts all were not returned by that person. All the homeowner could do was file with the court, and look into the potential of garnishing wages. The only problem is that he did not know where the renter was any longer. Tenant checks could have pulled up any history of this type of action, and prevented the homeowner from losing out on money.

Not using employment screening services can be even more damaging as it involves the reputation of a business being on the line. There are several stories where businesses that work with children had unknowingly hired a convicted child molester. Accurate Credit Bureau also process nanny screening and caregiver background checks. The reputation of the business can be permanently scarred by one bad decision. Employment background checks can prevent businesses from making poor hiring decisions.

Types Of Screenings

There are multiple facets to employment screenings. The first checks for a criminal record report. This is important to the safety of other employees, yourself and to your business. If an employee has previously been convicted of embezzlement then it would not be a good decision to hire that person for an accounting position. The employment background checks also evaluates the work history of the candidate to verify that the information provided on the resume actually matches the recorded work history of the individual.

Tenant screening services check the criminal background of the renter as well. This is extremely important if the person has a history of drug abuse. If illegal drugs are made or distributed on the property, the government has the right to confiscate that property. In turn, you could lose your investment because of a renter. On the other had it also checks the credit history of the renter to ensure that they do not have a record of skipping out on their bills.

Protect Yourself From Risk

Regardless of your situation, you will want to employ either tenant or employment screening services to ensure that you are protected. The best way to protect yourself from risk is to make sure that the employment or tenant screening services you use meet the Fair Credit Reporting Act standards set by the federal government. Protecting yourself and your business is important, start by getting background checks today.

Accurate Credit Bureau Landlord Tenant Rental Laws and Regulations Arizona

Security Deposit:

Security Deposit Maximum: Landlord cannot demand more than one and one-half month’s rent for a deposit and any prepaid rent combined. This does not prohibit a tenant from voluntarily paying more than one and one-half month’s rent in advance.
Security Deposit Interest: No Statute
Nonrefundable Fees: Allowed, but the fee must be specifically designated in the written lease agreement.
Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: No Statute
Pet Deposits and Additional Fees: Yes, but the total deposit must not exceed the limit of one and one-half month’s rent.
Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 14 days
Require Written Description / Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes
Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No Statute
Receipt of Deposit: No Statute
Failure to Comply: If the landlord fails to comply with Arizona law, tenant may recover the property and money due the tenant together with damages in an amount equal to twice the amount wrongfully withheld.
Lease, Rent & Fees:

When Rent Is Due: Rent shall be payable without demand or notice at the time and place agreed upon by the parties. Unless otherwise agreed, rent is payable at the dwelling unit and periodic rent is payable at the beginning of any term of one month or less and otherwise in equal monthly installments at the beginning of each month. Unless otherwise agreed, rent shall be uniformly apportionable from day-to-day.
Rent Increase Notice: No Statute
Rent Grace Period: 5 days
Late Fees: No statute for residential dwellings. Late fees for mobile homes must not to exceed five dollars per day.
Prepaid Rent: Landlord cannot demand more than one and one-half month’s rent for the total deposit and any prepaid rent combined. This does not prohibit a tenant from voluntarily paying more than one and one-half month’s rent in advance.
Returned Check Fees: No Statute
Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): Yes
Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: Yes, but only with proper notice, and a 10 day waiting period for non-emergencies. Withheld rent must not be more than $300 or one-half of the monthly rent, whichever is greater.
Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees: Yes
Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Re-rent: Yes
Notices and Entry:

Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Rental Lease: No notice is needed as the lease simply expires.
Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Month-to-Month Lease: 30 days or more from lease expiration.
Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Week-to-Week Lease: 10 days from lease expiration.
Tenant Holdover: If the tenant remains in possession without the landlord’s consent after expiration of the term of the rental agreement or its termination, the landlord may bring an action for possession and if the tenant’s holdover is willful and not in good faith the landlord, in addition, may recover an amount equal to not more than two months’ periodic rent or twice the actual damages sustained by the landlord, whichever is greater.
Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: Upon tenant’s request, landlord must perform a joint move-out inspection. If the tenant is being evicted for a material and irreparable breach and the landlord has reasonable cause to fear violence or intimidation on the part of the tenant, the landlord has no obligation to conduct a joint move-out inspection with the tenant. Landlord must provide a written notification to the tenant that the tenant may be present at the move-out inspection.
Lease Terminations / Notices to Quit:
Lease Termination for Nonpayment: 5 days to remedy or quit
Termination for Lease Violation: 10 days to remedy or quit, but only 5 days notice is required for noncompliance by the tenant with section 33-1341 materially affecting health and safety.
Termination of Lease for Falsification of Information: 10 days notice is required if the tenant falsified a criminal record, previous eviction record, or current criminal activity.
Immediate Lease Termination: Allowed, if tenant is responsible for illegal discharge of a weapon, homicide, prostitution, criminal street gang activity, the unlawful manufacturing, selling, transferring, possessing, using or storing of a controlled substance, threatening or intimidating, assault, acts that have been found to constitute a nuisance or a breach of the lease agreement that otherwise jeopardizes the health, safety and welfare of the landlord, the landlord’s agent or another tenant or involving imminent or actual serious property damage.
Required Notice before Entry: Two days
Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): Yes
Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: Yes
Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: Yes
Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No Statute
Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No Statute
Lockouts Allowed: No
Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No. If the landlord fails to comply, the tenant may recover an amount not more than two months’ periodic rent or twice the actual damages sustained by him, whichever is greater. If tenant terminates the lease, landlord is required to return the entire security deposit.
Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

Landlord Responsibilities: Landlord must maintain a fit premises
Tenant Responsibilities: Tenant must maintain a fit premises
Recording of Rental Property: An owner of residential rental property shall register the property with the assessor in the county where the property is located.
Name and Addresses: Landlord must disclose the name and address of the property owner and anyone authorized to manage the property.
Disclosure of the Landlord and Tenant Act: At or before the commencement of the tenancy, the landlord shall inform the tenant in writing that the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act is available on the Arizona department of housing’s website.
Move-In Documents: The landlord shall provide the tenant with a copy of a signed lease, a move-in form for specifying any existing damages to the dwelling unit and written notification to the tenant that the tenant may be present at the move-out inspection.
Bedbugs: The landlord shall provide bedbug educational materials to existing and new tenants. The landlord shall not enter into any lease agreement with a tenant for a dwelling unit that the landlord knows to have a current bedbug infestation.
Domestic Violence Situations:
Proof of Status: Landlord is entitled to verify claim of Domestic Violence status.
Termination of Lease: With proof to Domestic Violence status, a tenant is allowed to terminate the lease without penalty.
Locks: Landlords must change the locks if requested by a domestic violence victim, at the tenant’s expense.
Recovery of Losses: The offender in the Domestic Violence situation may be liable to the landlord for all losses incurred due to early lease termination.
Assumption of Retaliation: Landlord must not terminate or refuse to renew a lease, or reduce services, to a tenant who has filed an official complaint to a Government Authority, or has been involved in a tenant’s organization in the previous six months.
Tenant’s Personal Property:
The landlord shall hold the tenant’s personal property for a period of ten days after the landlord’s written declaration of abandonment. The landlord shall use reasonable care in holding the tenant’s personal property. Then, the landlord may sell the property to pay an outstanding debts. Any excess proceeds shall be mailed to the tenant at the tenant’s last known address.
Landlord must keep records of the sale for twelve months.

Accurate Credit Bureau Landlord Tenant Rental Laws and Regulations Utah

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: No Limit
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 30 days after termination of the tenancy or within 15 days after receipt of the renter’s new mailing address, whichever is later. 
  • Nonrefundable Deposits: Allowed, but only if disclosed in writing at the time that the deposit is accepted by the landlord.
  • Security Deposit Interest: No Statute
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: No Statute
  • Pet Deposits and Additional Fees: No Statute
  • Advance Notice of Withholding: No
  • Move-In Condition Checklist: Yes
  • Move-Out Checklist/Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No Statute
  • Receipt of Deposit: No Statute
  • Failure to Comply: If the owner or his agent in bad faith fails to provide the renter the notice required the renter may recover the full deposit, a civil penalty of $100, and court costs.

Lease, Rent and Fees:

  • Rent Is Due: No Statute
  • Rent Increase Notice: No Statute
  • Rent Grace Period: No Statute
  • Late Fees: No Statute
  • Prepaid Rent: No Statute
  • Returned Check Fees: $20
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): Yes.
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: Yes.
  • Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees: Yes
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages, including an Attempt to Rerent: No Statute

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Rental Lease with No End Date: 15 days
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: No Statute. Typically no notice is needed as the lease simply expires.
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Month-to-Month Lease: 15 days
  • Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: No Statute
  • Termination for Nonpayment: 3 days
  • Termination for Lease Violation: 3 days
  • Required Notice before Entry: 24 hours, unless specified differently in the lease.
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): Yes
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: No Statute
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: No Statute
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No Statute
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No Statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No
  • Abandonment of Premises: Landlord can assume abandonment by the tenant if either:
    • the rent is more than 15 days overdue, the tenant’s possessions are still in the rental unit but there is no other reasonable evidence that the tenant is still living there, or
    • the rent is one or more days overdue, the tenant’s possessions are gone and there is no other reasonable evidence that the tenant is still living there.
  • Abandonment of Personal Property: The owner may remove the property from the dwelling, store it for the tenant, and recover actual moving and storage costs from the tenant.
    • Post and Mail Notice: The owner shall post a copy of the notice in a conspicuous place and send by first class mail to the last known address for the tenant a notice that the property is considered abandoned.
    • 15 Days: The tenant may retrieve the property within 15 calendar days from the date of the notice if the tenant tenders payment of all costs of inventory, moving, and storage to the owner.
    • Allowed to Sell: If tenant fails to claim the property within 15 calendar days, the owner may sell the property at a public sale and apply the proceeds toward any amount the tenant owes; or donate the property to charity if the donation is a commercially reasonable alternative.
    • No Vehicles: The term “personal property” does not include motor vehicles.

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Name and Addresses: Before a lease begins, the owner must disclose the name and address of the property owner as well as that of anyone authorized to manage the property or allowed to receive notice on the owner’s behalf.
  • Copy of Lease and Rules: Before a lease begins, the owner must deliver an executed copy of the rental agreement, if the rental agreement is a written agreement; and a copy of any rules and regulations applicable to the residential rental unit.
  • Itemized List of Prior Damages: Before a lease begins, owner must provide the prospective renter a written inventory of the condition of the residential rental unit, excluding ordinary wear and tear.
  • Domestic Violence Situations:
    • Proof of Status: Landlord is entitled to verify claim of Domestic Violence status.
    • Termination of Lease: A tenant is allowed to terminate a lease if:
      • the tenant is in compliance and all obligations under the rental agreement,
      • provides the owner a written notice of termination, and a protective order protecting the renter from a domestic violence perpetrator or a copy of a police report documenting that the renter is a victim of domestic violence and did not participate in the violence; and
      • no later than the date that the renter provides a notice of termination under Subsection (4)(b)(i), pays the owner the equivalent of 45 days’ rent for the period beginning on the date that the renter provides the notice of termination.
    • Locks: Upon request, the landlord must change or re-key the locks at the tenant’s expense.
  • Trash Removal: For buildings containing more than two residential rental units, provide and maintain appropriate receptacles for garbage and other waste and arrange for its removal, except to the extent that the renter and owner otherwise agree.
  • Lead Disclosure: Landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards.

Accurate Credit Bureau Landlord Tenant Rental Laws and Regulations Alabama

Security Deposit:

Security Deposit Maximum: Equal to 1 month’s rent
Security Deposit Interest: unknown
Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: No statute
Pet Deposits and Additional Fees: Additional deposits are allowed for pets, undoing alterations (such as handrails and ramps for the handicapped), and any specific tenant activities that increase liability risks
Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 35 days
Lease, Rent & Fees:

Rent Increase Notice: unknown
Late Fees: unknown
Returned Check Fees: $30 plus other costs of collection
Notices and Entry:

Move-Out Inspection Notification: No statute
Eviction Notice for Nonpayment: 7 days to pay or quit
Eviction Notice for Lease Violation: 10 days to remedy or quit
Required Notice before Entry: 2 days
Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs: Yes
Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: In excess of 14 day absence, unannounced reasonable entry is allowed
Entry Allowed with Notice for Showing the Property: Yes
Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: Yes, within reason
Alabama rental applications,and rental leases

Accurate Credit Bureau Landlord Tenant Rental Laws and Regulations North Carolina

Security Deposit:

  • Security Deposit Maximum: Not to exceed two weeks’ rent if a tenancy is week-to-week, one and one-half months’ rent if a tenancy is month-to-month, and two months’ rent for terms greater than month to month.
  • Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 30 days, unless the landlord needs more time to evaluate the damage, upon which an interim notice may be sent within 30 days, with a final determination within 60 days.
  • Security Deposit Interest: No Statute
  • Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: 
    • Landlord is required to deposit the funds into a trust account with a licensed and insured bank or savings institution in the State of NC, or furnish a bond from an insurance company licensed to do business in NC.
    • The landlord must notify the tenant within 30 days after the beginning of the lease term of the name and address of the bank or institution where his deposit is currently located or the name of the insurance company providing the bond.
  • Pet Deposits: A reasonable non-refundable pet deposit is allowed
  • Advance Notice of Withholding: No
  • Move-Out Checklist/Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes
  • Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No Statute
  • Receipt of Deposit: No Statute

Lease, Rent and Fees:

  • Rent Is Due: No Statute
  • Rent Increase Notice: No Statute
  • Rent Grace Period: 5 days
  • Late Fees:
    • If rent is due in monthly installments, the landlord may charge a late fee of $15.00 or five percent (5%) of the monthly rent, whichever is greater.
    • If rent is due in weekly installments, the landlord may charge a late fee of $4.00 or five percent (5%) of the weekly rent, whichever is greater.
  • Prepaid Rent: No Statute
  • Additional Fees: Some fees are allowed.
  • Returned Check Fees: $25.
  • Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): No Statute
  • Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: No Statute
  • Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney Fees: No
  • Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages, including an Attempt to Rerent: No Statute

Notices and Entry:

  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: No Statute. Typically no notice is needed as the lease simply expires.
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Year-to-Year Lease: One month or more before the end of the current year of the tenancy.
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Month-to-Month Lease: 7 days
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Week-to-Week Lease: 2 days
  • Notice to Terminate Tenancy – The Leasing of a Space for a Manufactured Home: 60 days
  • Notice of Date/Time of Move-Out Inspection: No Statute
  • Termination for Nonpayment: 10 days
  • Termination for Lease Violation: Immediately
  • Required Notice before Entry: No Statute, but 24 hours is recommended
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): No Statute
  • Entry Allowed with Notice for Showings: No Statute
  • Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: No Statute
  • Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No Statute
  • Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No Statute
  • Lockouts Allowed: No
  • Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No
  • Self-Help Evictions: If a tenant is unlawfully evicted, the landlord is liable for the actual damages incurred to the tenant.
  • Abandonment of Personal Property: Personal property is considered abandoned 5-7 days after lawful repossession of the property and formal written notice to the tenant.

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Domestic Violence Situations:
    • Proof of Status: Landlord is entitled to verify claim of Domestic Violence status.
    • Protection from Termination: Landlord cannot terminate a tenancy, fail to renew a tenancy, or refuse to enter into a rental agreement with a victim of domestic violence.
    • Early Termination Rights: A tenant is allowed to terminate a lease with 30 days written notice and proof of Domestic Violence status.
    • Locks: Upon request, the landlord must change or re-key the locks at the tenant’s expense within 48-72 hours depended on the situation.
  • Lead Disclosure: Landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards.
  • Retaliation: For 12 months thereafter, a landlord must not terminate or refuse to renew a lease to a tenant who has filed an official complaint to a Government Authority, been involved in a tenant’s organization, made a good faith complaint, or exercised a legal right. Other actions are prohibited.
    North Carolina free rental applications rental leases and tenant screening services.

 

Accurate Credit 10 Tips for Landlords Renting to New Tenants

  1. Not running adequate checks on a potential tenant.
    As anxious as you may be to get a tenant in and paying rent, it’s not worth rushing ahead without checking your tenant’s credentials first. Use a rental application form that will provide you with adequate information http://www.accuratecredit.com/html/freerentalapplications/html ,pay the money necessary to obtain a comprehensive background check and credit report. (to check on a history of late payments, delinquent accounts, etc.) http://www.accuratecredit.com and take the time to verify references including employers and former landlords.Even if the tenant is “desperate” to move in and can make the deposit amount immediately, check out their background first. Don’t allow yourself to feel rushed or pressured into making a potentially costly mistake.
  2. Thinking the property will always be rented.
    Before closing on a property you need to do your own financial due diligence and ensure that you can pay the mortgage (if you’re taking on a loan) in the event that you have months with no tenant paying rent. Don’t risk potential foreclosure and financial ruin because you failed to do a simple cash flow analysis and maintain sufficient funds to cover the mortgage payments when renters are few and far between.
  3. Underestimating the cost of repairs or ongoing property maintenance.
    In order to keep tenants interested in (and paying for) the property you will need to maintain it. Make sure you’re charging enough in rent to at least help cover a portion of ongoing maintenance costs (i.e. painting, cleaning and carpet cleaning between tenants). Also plan on having to pull money either out of the business or your own pocket in the event that you don’t have the cash needed to make major one-time repairs (such as repairing structural damage, replacing appliances, etc.). You might consider getting liability insurance in addition to your property insurance.
  4. Viewing it as a hobby.
    Owning rental properties is a business and in order to turn a profit you’ll need to operate it as such. That means establishing separate bank accounts for deposits and expenses, using a bookkeeping system and consulting a tax professional to ensure you are correctly handling (and paying!) taxes on your business.If you don’t set yourself up with the necessary resources and relationships you will most likely end up losing money. (Learn how fixing a few pipes can be more profitable tax-wise than adding a new roof.
  5. Relying on a handshake.
    In business you can’t rely on promises. For your own legal protection it’s essential that your tenants sign a lease agreement to reside in the property and ensure that he or she understands the terms of the contract. If you run into problems with your tenant you will need written, binding documentation (i.e. a lease) in order for the judge to make a ruling. You may downloas and alter a residential lease at http://www.accuratecredit.com/html/freerentalapplications/html
  6. Asking illegal interview questions.
    You don’t want to run the risk of giving a potential tenant sufficient grounds to sue you for discrimination by asking the wrong questions during the screening interview. The Fair Housing Act of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 requires that you cannot deny a tenant’s application based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, handicap or family status (i.e. if they plan on having children). Learn more about federal and state fair housing laws http://www.accuratecredit.com/html/faircreditreportingact.html
    Neglecting tenants.
    The home(s) you are renting out are your responsibility. If you do not regularly check in with your tenants and on the condition of the property you will have no one to blame but yourself if something goes wrong. However make sure that you are not violating your state’s laws regarding tenant privacy before stopping by the property unannounced. You may inadvertently give them the right to sue you or be released from the terms of your lease agreement.
  7. Not meeting state and local housing codes.
    As a landlord you’re required to make sure the property meets health and safety standards. If you don’t take care of your end of the legal bargain your tenants may have grounds to break the terms of your lease agreement, potentially sue you and even to be legally entitled to compensation for damage or injury due to your neglect.
  8. Delaying an eviction.
    Not beginning eviction proceedings as soon as legally possible can be a very costly mistake. If you run into problems with a tenant and are unsure about your rights or how to proceed, contact an eviction attorney as soon as possible.
  9. Not enforcing lease terms.
    If you outlined that late rent payments would incur a penalty, charge it. If you noted that no pets are allowed and your new tenant buys a Great Dane, enforce the penalty. If your tenants realize that you lax about the terms of the lease they will likely follow suit. Set – and enforce – the standard you want upheld.
  10. Not writing it down.
    It’s essential that you keep written documentation of interactions with your tenants in the event that you ever need to take him/her to court. Note phone conversations and keep copies of emails, voicemails or text messages, etc. to be able to support your allegations.

Accurate Credit Bureau Landlord Responsibility

A landlord’s responsibility to his tenants is to provide a safe, functional living space. Before a tenant moves in, it’s the landlord’s obligation to make sure that the property is up to local and federal housing code. City and county housing authorities establish strict minimum standards for electricity, paint (lead-free), lighting, ventilation and structural integrity. You may download a free rental lease to use from http://www.accuratecredit.com/html/freerentalapplications.html Many cities additionally require safety measures like dead bolts on all exterior doors, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers in each unit.

Once the tenant moves in, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to repair anything that breaks on the property, from a burned-out light bulb in the stairwell down to leaky faucets. A landlord is expected to respond to a repair request within 24 hours and fix it within a reasonable time frame. The severity of the problem usually dictates how quickly it gets fixed.

If a landlord fails to address a known problem in a timely fashion, he could get into big trouble. The worst-case scenario is that a tenant or his guest is seriously injured by an unresolved issue with the property, like a broken rail on a staircase or a missing floorboard. If the tenant can prove that the landlord knew about the damage and neglected to act with reasonable timeliness to fix it, he can sue and he’ll win. This is why landlords have to buy liability insurance.

Not all landlord-tenant arguments end in a lawsuit. But if a tenant gets frustrated with how long it takes his landlord to fix the dishwasher he has several options. In most states in the United States, he can legally withhold his rent until the repair is made. He may also have the right to arrange the repairs himself and subtract the cost from his next rent check. In some states, if things get really bad, the tenant can treat the failure to respond as a breach of contract and move out in the middle of the lease.

A landlord can protect himself by documenting exactly when he receives all notifications of a problem with the property and when he took action to resolve it. Even if the landlord can’t fix the problem right away, it’s his responsibility to let the tenant know the circumstances that are causing the delay and when it might be resolved. A good landlord will encourage his tenants to report all known problems immediately to avoid potential liability for injuries.

It’s also the landlord’s responsibility to keep his tenants safe from crime. All stairways and common areas need to be well-lighted. Main doors and gates need to remain locked at all times. If there’s an intercom system for buzzing in guests, it needs to be in working order. Exterior doors should have deadbolts and windows should have locks, particularly those that are accessible by an external fire escape.

A landlord also has to take reasonable measures to make sure that his tenants aren’t criminals. If a landlord knows that some of his tenants are dealing drugs from their apartments, for example, and doesn’t report them to the police, the landlord might be held accountable for any neighborhood crimes that can be linked to the drug-dealing operation.