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Five Things That Landlords Must Never Do

It’s not just tenants who break the rules; landlords can be “nightmare landlords” too. Why do they engage in illegal acts, anyway? There are many reasons. One is that a landlord purely wants to make more money. Another is that he may want a tenant to move out. 

Of course, as landlords, we want to be successful. Being awesome is a way to attract better tenants and have a thriving business. So here’s a list of what not to do. These tips will also prevent you from getting into big trouble.

1. Discriminate tenants based on their disability

If a prospective tenant is disabled, you are not allowed to reject that tenant due to his mental or physical disability. The federal Fair Housing Act and Fair Housing Amendments Act forbid discrimination. You can ask tenants if they meet tenancy requirements, but you cannot request medical records.

2. Violate the terms in the lease agreement (unless you have a good reason)

If you stated in the lease agreement that you allow pets but you suddenly took away that privilege while the tenant is still living in your unit, you are violating the lease. This is especially true if the tenant’s pet did not cause any problems. 

Related: Changing the Lease

3. Change the locks to force a tenant to move out

You cannot lock a tenant out for overstaying in the apartment unit or failing to pay the rent on time. Remember that tenants can sue you for changing the locks if you failed to go through the proper eviction procedure. No matter how tempted you are to scare a troublesome tenant, avoid this shortcut.

4. Put hidden security cameras inside the rental

You’re violating your tenant’s privacy if you do this. While you can try to justify your need to protect and preserve your rental property, installing security cameras without a tenant’s knowledge is a NO-NO. Yes, you can put security cameras in common areas like hallways or driveways and let tenants know -- but definitely not in places where privacy is expected such as bathrooms and bedrooms.

5. Illegally keep the security deposit

As a landlord, you can keep the security deposit for property damage, nonpayment of rent, and covering cleaning costs. However, it becomes illegal to keep the security deposit for personal reasons. Unethical landlords fake breaches to the lease agreement. Some charge for damages that occurred before the tenant moved in. 

Related: Asking for a Security Deposit from Your Tenant

Wrapping Up

Landlord, don’t do one of these things. Maintain a positive and professional relationship with your tenants. Be a landlord who makes money ethically. Successful landlords know the market and technical aspects of running their business. Here at Landlord Prep, we’ll help you become one.

Want to be a successful landlord?

I offer you the opportunity to take a complete DIY landlording course: Landlord Prep: Video E-Course and How-To Tutorials. Everything you need to know to become not just a landlord, BUT A SUCCESSFUL LANDLORD, is here.