The most common landlord mistakes in Marietta, GA are due to self-managing landlords not knowing what the rules, laws, and expectations are. That can get you into trouble, so you should always consider working with a professional property manager. If you do decide to take care of your rental property and your tenants on your own, make sure you avoid these five errors.
Fair Housing Laws
The federal fair housing laws protect certain classes of people from discrimination when it comes to housing. You would probably never intentionally discriminate against someone, but seemingly innocent advertisements, statements, and approvals or denials can be seen as discriminatory. You want to stay out of fair housing trouble, so make sure you know what the protected classes are, and what you can and cannot do when you’re marketing, accepting applications, and making tenant decisions.
Tenant screening is intended to make sure you place a tenant who is responsible, reliable, and willing to follow the terms of your lease. You need to establish written criteria that you apply consistently to all applicants. If you deny housing to an applicant, it must be because that person did not meet your criteria, not because of age, race, familial status, or other discriminatory factors.
Maintenance and Repair Issues
It’s your responsibility to keep the property maintained, and that includes working with licensed and insured contractors. You need to make repairs in a timely manner and provide a habitable residence. Many landlords want their tenants to be financially responsible for some minor repairs, but you need to research whether that’s permissible according to the landlord and tenant laws.
Collecting late rent is not something that landlords enjoy, but you need a process in place that holds tenants accountable. If you want to evict a tenant, you’ll need to take some steps and serve some notices before you go to court.
Handling a Security Deposit
Georgia law is specific about how to handle a tenant’s security deposit. There are several things you need to do when you collect the deposit, hold the deposit, and return the money at the end of the lease term. You’ll need a detailed move-in inspection report that can be compared to a move-out report in order to withhold any money from the deposit. There are also deadlines that you must follow when returning the deposit and any accounting that explains what was withheld.
For guidance, be sure to check out the Landlord Tenant Handbook, which is provided by the state of Georgia. If you need help avoiding these potentially costly mistakes, contact Avalon Property Management.