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Top Reasons for Landlord Tenant Lawsuits

Owning and managing a rental property has the potential to generate passive income, yet it entails significant legal obligations and the risk of potential legal disputes.

California boasts some of the most thorough rental laws in the United States, covering tenant rights, standards for livable accommodations, limitations on rent hikes, and regulations pertaining to security deposits.

Here are some of the top reasons landlords and tenants get into lawsuit disputes.

Fair Housing Issues

Choosing the right tenant is a critical component of effective property management. Proper tenant selection can prevent most management issues. However, it’s important for landlords to avoid discrimination against prospective tenants on the basis of race, religion, gender, disability, income source, or family situation, to comply with fair housing regulations.

To sidestep legal complications in tenant selection, establish a uniform and impartial screening procedure. This could involve employing standardized application forms and setting qualification standards that are uniformly applied to all applicants. Document the rationale for declining an applicant, ensuring that it does not stem from any of the discriminatory reasons mentioned.

Maintenance and Repairs

Landlords bear the duty to keep their properties in a condition fit for living. This means that even without direct alerts from tenants about problems, regular inspections are essential to spot and rectify any issues that could affect the property’s habitability.

Ignoring maintenance and repair needs can result in complaints from tenants and possibly legal repercussions. Promptly responding to repair requests and keeping a record of all communications and completed repairs is crucial.

In particular, landlords are obligated to ensure the functionality of several aspects of their property, which include, but are not limited to: plumbing systems, electrical systems, access to hot and cold running water, heating systems, secure locks on exterior doors and windows, adequate ventilation, sufficient lighting, and effective weatherproofing (this encompasses exterior doors and windows).

Pest Issues

Upon receiving notification from a tenant regarding mold or pest infestation, it is crucial to take immediate action to address the issue. Contact a professional promptly to assess the problem and devise a comprehensive plan for its elimination. Document the process by taking photographs and maintaining thorough records, and make diligent and timely efforts to resolve the problem swiftly.

Implementing these approaches in your property management routine can guide you away from frequent errors, leading to a more prosperous and lucrative rental venture. By recognizing potential pitfalls and actively working to circumvent them, you can cultivate positive tenant relationships, reduce legal liabilities, and protect your investment.