The 4 Most Common Landlord Legal Mistakes

law booksRegulations and laws relating to property ownership and tenant relations can weave a complicated web that can trap landlords.
Knowing the applicable laws and how to use them advantageously is essential for property owners.
Fast Forward Property Management, a team of seasoned Bay Area property management specialists with over forty years of experience, outlines the four most common mistakes they see landlords make when dealing with legal issues:
1. Not staying current on rental laws
Rental laws are perpetually changing. Legislation is constantly being updated and new laws written. In complex areas such as evictions, not following proper legal procedures can cause months of delays. Not knowing the law inside and out can expose landlords to excessive liability.

2. Not Appealing Property Taxes
The appraisal process is subjective and includes factors such as the income a property produces, comparable sales in the local area, and the cost to replace the structures. These variables change frequently, and the tax bill can be negotiated with county tax assessors or the board of appeals that resolves differences between owners and assessors. Genaro Mendoza of Fast Forward Property Management explains, We regularly see 10% to 40% reductions, especially if the market has declined since the time of purchase.

3. Poor recordkeeping
It is important to keep good records for tax and legal purposes. Keep a file of lease documents, background screenings, insurance, financial statements, service requests, walk-through inspections, and receipts for repairs and improvements.
4. Automatically going to court
Going to court to settle disputes should be a last resort. Legal fees are very expensive, and most judges tend to favor the tenants. The best solution is to use mediation or arbitration to negotiate and settle without going to court. Often it is cheaper to either forgive some debt or refund more of a security deposit than it is to go to court and pay legal fees.
For more information about dealing with legal issues, property management, and other services provided by Fast Forward Property Management, visit them on the web at, call them at 707-266-8100 or 888-737-8116, or visit their office located at 620 E. Washington Street, Petaluma, CA 94952.
With AAOA, landlords have resources at their fingertips. Check out our Landlord Forms page.American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services for landlords related to your rental housing investment, including rental forms, tenant debt collection, tenant background checks, insurance and financing. Find out more at