The landlord's essential guide to residential rental law Landlord's Legal Kit For Dummies is a comprehensive guide to the laws and legalities of renting property. This one-stop legal reference provides both guidance and the correct forms that help landlords avoid tenant issues, which could lead to legal ramifications. From screening potential tenants to handling your own insurance and taxes, you'll find expert insight in this easy-to-read style that simplifies complex legal matters into understandable terms. The book includes access to all the needed legal forms in both English and Spanish, and contains current information about applicable codes, ordinances, and policies across the country. Landlords have a responsibility to provide a safe, fully operational home for their tenants, and oversights can result in major court settlements. As a landlord, you need to know what the law requires of you. You also need to understand your rights, and the actions available to you when the tenant is in the wrong. This resource brings you up to speed, with the most current information about residential rental property law. The book covers privacy rights, domicile laws, paperwork, and more. Features up-to-date lease forms and contracts available for download online Provides information about applicant screening questionnaires and anti-discrimination policies Includes state and local building codes, health ordinances, and landlord-tenant laws Instructs you how to handle breach of lease situations and evictions There's even guidance on hiring a lawyer to protect your assets, property, and rights. Ignorance of the law is no excuse in court, and it frequently leads to misunderstandings that can hurt your wallet and your reputation. Before you lease another property, get all your ducks in a row with the essential instruction and tools in Landlord's Legal Kit For Dummies.
Introduction 1 Part I: Getting Started with Landlording Fundamentals 5 Chapter 1: Grasping the Legal Fundamentals of Managing Residential Rentals 7 Chapter 2: Protecting Your Legal Assets 23 Chapter 3: Taking Possession of a Rental Property 41 Chapter 4: Hiring a Property Manager 59 Part II: Advertising and Taking on New Residents Legally 75 Chapter 5: Getting the Lowdown on Fair Housing 77 Chapter 6: Exploring the Legal Aspects of Advertising 99 Chapter 7: Addressing the Legalities of Rent Collection and Rent Control 111 Chapter 8: Screening Applicants: Knowing When to Approve or Reject Them 137 Chapter 9: Composing Your Rental Contract 153 Chapter 10: Establishing a Security Deposit Policy 185 Chapter 11: Moving in a New Resident 201 Part III: Recognizing Your Responsibilities and Liabilities 221 Chapter 12: Repairing and Maintaining the Premises 223 Chapter 13: Minimizing Injuries from Potentially Dangerous Conditions 245 Chapter 14: Preventing and Eliminating Hazardous Environmental Conditions 259 Chapter 15: Protecting Residents and Workers from Criminal Acts 277 Chapter 16: Understanding Resident Privacy and Your Right to Enter the Premises 297 Chapter 17: Resolving Landlord-Resident Disputes 309 Part IV: Changing and Ending Leases 321 Chapter 18: Handling Cotenancies, Sublets, Assignments, and Guests 323 Chapter 19: Revising and Terminating Rental Contracts 331 Chapter 20: Moving a Resident Out 349 Part V: The Part of Tens 357 Chapter 21: Ten Tips for Staying Out of Legal Trouble 359 Chapter 22: Ten (or So) Tips for Being a Better Landlord 365 Index 371
Laurence C. Harmon, JD, is the CEO of HARMONLAW LLC, specializing in apartment-related legal and property management consulting. Robert S. Griswold, MBA, MSBA, is a successful real estate investor and property manager with a large portfolio of residential and commercial rental properties.
Learn to: Understand the rights and responsibilities of residential landlords Get up to speed on residential property law Grasp tenant rights and avoid legal ramifications from renters Your go-to guide to residential rental law Success as a landlord means more than finding residents, collecting rent, and performing repairs and maintenance. Based on expert, hands-on experience, this friendly guide leads you through the legal minefield of owning and managing residential rental properties so you can comply with federal, state, and local laws—and steer clear of costly consequences. The keys to success — get started with the fundamentals, from protecting your legal assets and insuring your new property to hiring—or firing—a property manager Take on new residents — grasp the legal aspects of advertising, set your property’s rents, approve or reject applicants, and compose your lease or rental agreement Honor your duties — maintain habitable housing, minimize injuries, eliminate hazardous environmental conditions, and protect residents and workers from criminal acts The Tax Man — get up to speed on current tax laws, keep track of income and expenses, maximize deductions to minimize taxes, and keep impeccable financial records Learn about leases — find out how to handle cotenancies, sublets, and assignments, as well as ways to terminate leases by legal means Open the book and find: Contracts, forms, and other documents How to avoid and protect against claims commonly filed against landlords Legal obligations that landlords need to uphold for their residents The lowdown on the Fair Housing Act Applicant screening questionnaires and antidiscrimination policies How to handle breach of lease situations and evictions Ways to establish a security deposit policy
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