The 4 Most Common Landlord Legal Mistakes
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.
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.
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.