In the real estate world, it is important for landlords and tenants alike to be perceived in a positive manner. This is a business that highly depends on reputations, social skills and being fair to everyone you encounter. There is a line of respect that needs to be drawn between tenants and landlords for their working relationship to prosper. Becoming a landlord is not an easy task.
For property owners, they are required to follow a certain set of rules that make them fair in their treatment of their tenants. In 1968, the Fair Housing Act was endorsed to protect both tenants and landlords from discriminatory screening processes. The discrimination criterion includes sex, race, color, religion and national origin. The act was passed to ensure the fairness and equality of owners when it comes to choosing tenants that rent their properties.
The Fair Housing Act is only the basic foundation of the standards of fairness needed from an investor who is committed on becoming a landlord. Landlords must be aware of all aspects not covered by the act to become as fair as possible to their tenants.
Guidelines to Being a Fair Landlord
Equality and Setting Standards
The trickiest part a landlord will face face is the selection process and complying with its rules. The selection process of tenants can be tricky because it involves meeting people and interviewing them to make a decision.
As a property owner, you are obligated to set standards or requirements for anyone interested in renting out your property. The requirements can’t conflict with the Fair Housing Act due to discriminatory purposes. That means the qualities you look for in a tenant should only be based on factors such as income, criminal record, references, length of stay and credit score. These standards should apply for everyone and anyone who meets those standards should be considered to become a potential tenant.
Consistency of Standards
Being consistent with potential tenants is key to becoming a landlord with a good reputation. Landlords conduct interviews or ask for a certain set of qualifications before renting their properties, which should apply to all applicants without any exceptions. Expecting nothing less from applicants will make the selection process easier.
Asking applicants different sets of questions is considered unequal treatment of tenants. The same applies to the qualification standards, a landlord cannot set a higher level for one applicant than another, its discriminatory. Be consistent with your tenants; treat them all fairly to avoid a bad reputation in the real estate market.
Choose Your Words Carefully
Becoming a landlord means being polite and knowing what to say to your tenants. Having social skills and understand your tenant is important for an owner to succeed in real estate investing. Landlords who offend their tenants with a wrong comment about their race, color or anything discriminatory can lead to a lawsuit. Being assumptive is another thing to be aware of. As a real estate investor, you do not have the right to assume what a tenant needs, what they can or cannot afford or what neighborhood would suit them best, because it can be regarded as unfair treatment.
Do Your Research
The rules of fair housing may vary from state to state. Therefore, becoming a landlord that wants to be fair should have a detailed understanding of any local, state or federal laws involved between tenant and owner in terms of housing agreements.
Explain Lease Agreements
Landlords have an obligation to explain the lease agreements to their new tenants to give them a fair understanding of the rules and what is expected. Landlords who try to manipulate lease agreement breaches for their own financial gains can be regarded as unfair treatment to their tenants.
Being a fair landlord is something that should come naturally for all investors in our age. Becoming a landlord means that you should be selecting and with only one motive, and that is to protect your financial interests.