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Top Tips Every Landlord Needs to Know

04th June 2010
By newyorklandlordtenant in Real Estate Law
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Here's a concrete list of the top Tips every landlord needs to Remember when screening potential tenants. When selecting your tenant, keep these in mind.

It is unlawful to discriminate.
Federal and state anti-discrimination statutes limit what you can say and do in the tenant rental process. You cannot reject somebody your apartment simply because of their ethnic group. If using a real estate agent to list your rental, you cannot tell them that you will not rent out to a particular race.

Ask for Recent Employment information, References, and substantiation of Credit Score. Landlords can easily run a credit check of prospective tenants on the internet for a deminimis fee. In addition, you can and should call up the tenant's references, particularly previous landlords. You should also corroborate an applicant's job history, salary, and bank account information. In case the landlord tenant relationship goes sour and you need to hire an eviction new york attorney, you will want the tenant's employment information to garnish their salary so you can collect back rent. Be constant in your screening. Make it your rule, for example, to constantly require credit reports; don't just get a credit report for a single mother or people of a specific race.

Make decisions based on the fact that you are running a business. You are lawfully free to select among prospective tenants as long as your decisions are based on legitimate industry criteria. Don't make choices based on personal reasons. You are at liberty to reject applicants with poor credit histories, earnings that you plausibly view as insufficient to pay the rent, or former actions -- such as home damage or consistent late rent payments -- that makes someone a poor choice. It goes without saying that you can legally refuse to rent to someone who can't come up with the rental deposit, who has pets, or who fail to meet some other condition of the lease.

Be informed of landlord tenant laws in your neighborhood. Fair housing statutes in particular detail clearly illegal reasons to decline to rent to a tenant. The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits prejudice on the basis of ethnic group, religious conviction, national origin, gender, age, domestic status, physical or psychological disability (including recovering alcoholics and tenants with a past drug habit). Countless states and cities also ban discrimination based on matrimonial status or sexual orientation. In addition, a number of city laws prohibit landlords from collecting rental fees unless they have a "legal apartment", i.e. have a town or county issued permit authorizing a two family dwelling or an accessory apartment house. A landlord tenant new york attorney can help inform you of the laws applicable in your neighborhood.

Teach those helping you to rent so that they comprehend the rules, too. Any person who deals with probable renters ought to abide by fair housing laws. This includes owners, landlords, family of landlords, managers and real estate agents, and all of their employees. As the property landlord, you may possibly be held legally accountable for your family's prejudiced statements or behavior, including sexual harassment.

Be consistent. Consistency is crucial when dealing with soon-to-be tenants. If you don't regard all tenants more or less the same -- for example, if you subjectively set tougher standards when renting to renters of a racial minority -- you are violating federal statutes and opening yourself up to lawsuits. And if you give one person a break (such as lowering the security deposit for a unmarried mother but not for other people), you'll likewise risk an allegation of discrimination from other renters.

Desire to find out more? There's a lot more to finding and selecting good quality tenants. You can speak to a ny tenant landlord attorney for a gratis consultation regarding the statutes applicable in your neighborhood.
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