Steve Rozenberg of Empire Industries talks about the top 5 things that landlords do not know about managing their properties.
Fair Housing Laws
Understanding the Fair Housing Laws is the most important thing that landlords need to realize when managing a property. With this, you will also know what questions to ask and not to ask when dealing with or screening a tenant.
Make sure that you understand the difference between a service animal and a therapy pet, so you will also know what questions to ask and not to ask as well as what you can or cannot deny a resident on.
The Fair Housing Act (FHA) protects a person with a disability from discrimination in obtaining housing. Under this law, a landlord or homeowner’s association must provide reasonable accommodation to people with disabilities so that they have an equal opportunity to enjoy and use a dwelling.8 Emotional support animals that do not qualify as service animals under the ADA may nevertheless qualify as reasonable accommodations under the FHA.9 In cases when a person with a disability uses a service animal or an emotional support animal, a reasonable accommodation may include waiving a no-pet rule or a pet deposit.10 This animal is not considered a pet.
A landlord or homeowner’s association may not ask a housing applicant about the existence, nature, and extent of his or her disability. However, an individual with a disability who requests a reasonable accommodation may be asked to provide documentation so that the landlord or homeowner’s association can properly review the accommodation request.11 They can ask a person to certify, in writing, (1) that the tenant or a member of his or her family is a person with a disability; (2) the need for the animal to assist the person with that specific disability; and (3) that the animal actually assists the person with a disability. It is important to keep in mind that the ADA may apply in the housing context as well, for example with student housing. Where the ADA applies, requiring documentation or certification would not be permitted with regard to an animal that qualifies as a “service animal.” – Source: ADA
Make sure that you understand the Texas Property Code wherein the tenants’ rights are forded to them to ensure that maintenance issues are handled in a timely manner. Understanding this will also make sure that you and your property will not be placed in a dire situation.
You have to make sure that you are enforcing what’s on the lease agreement since it is a contract.
Make sure that you are selective on who you choose in your property, have proper tenant screening, be very strict, and don’t do it at the last minute.
If you would like to talk to us about managing your Austin property or any of the above, please give us a call and we’d be glad to help.