January 1st is an important date, especially for landlords. Not only does it mark the beginning of a new year, but it’s also a common time for new rental laws to go into effect. These new rules can touch on every aspect of the rental process, from tenant screening to property management to eviction.
Landlords have seen an increase in local rental regulations in recent years, and keeping up requires more vigilance than before. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, so landlords need to be ready to hit the ground running.
In California, a newly-passed drivers license regulation will take effect. Applicants who lack a Social Security number or have difficulty proving the right to remain in the USA under federal immigration law will have more options for obtaining a drivers license. Landlords who encounter these applicants are expressly prohibited from rejecting them because they possess one of these new licenses.
A new ordinance passed in Roselle, New Jersey requires landlords to register their properties as of January 1, and pay an annual fee of $50 per unit.
Maryland landlords are about to see more stringent lead paint abatement rules. Soon, the state laws will apply to all rental housing built between 1950 and prior to 1978. Rental owners will be subject to inspection requirements at every change in tenancy effective January 1, 2015.
Rental laws are fluid, and landlords who wish to avoid income loss must find ways to keep current.
One of the best ways to stay up on rule changes is to enlist professionals. When you are choosing a lawyer to review your lease agreement or discuss landlord tenant laws, look for one who provides a newsletter or email updates to clients. The same applies to accountants. The rule-making process usually takes a long time, and these professionals can provide early alerts that give you an edge.
Join a local landlord association. Not only will you receive updates on changes to the laws that affect you directly, but you likely will have the opportunity to attend seminars that discuss how to implement these changes. What’s more, your landlord association may have the opportunity to provide input or lobby for special considerations that benefit landlords.
Subscribe to the newspaper agencies in the area. Proposed rules, contentious city council meetings and important court cases typically make it into the news.
If you prefer self-help, all ordinances, regulations and statutes are available to the public. Government websites can guide you to the latest information. Unfortunately, this method provide little comfort when it comes to interpretation and implementation of these laws.
Resolve to stay informed this year — and in the years to come — so your rental property business remains profitable.
This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.