Some of the most expensive mistakes that landlords make are legal mistakes. In California, it’s easy to be confused about what you can and cannot do as a landlord, and we’re dealing with a legal landscape that’s even more tenant-friendly than it used to be.
There are a lot of legal changes to keep up with. Some of the hottest topics in California landlord and tenant law include rent control, just-cause evictions, and disparate impact. At Parks Property Management, we take HUD classes once a year so we can stay up to date on what we need to know as we’re effectively managing properties for our clients. Our goal is to protect you from legal liability and tenant claims.
There are a few laws and regulations you absolutely must know when you’re renting out a property in and around Brentwood.
Fair Housing Laws in California
Federal fair housing laws protect tenants and applicants against discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. California law goes even further and has protections in place that prohibit landlords from discriminating based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or source of income.
Most landlords we know don’t discriminate on purpose. However, it’s easy to make a mistake without realizing it. An unintentional discriminatory act can lead you to a fair housing claim, which may be time consuming and expensive. We have HUD systems in place to assist our prospective residents and owners so we can be sure everyone is being screened and treated fairly and consistently. You want to do a thorough tenant screening, but you need to follow the laws. We can help you do that.
Renting to People with Disabilities
Make sure you educate yourself on the Americans with Disabilities Act. You are required to make accommodations for people who have disabilities. In the past, this has meant providing a handicap-only parking space or installing shower bars or wheelchair ramps. Lately, it has revolved around the subject of service animals and emotional support animals. Make sure you know that these types of animals are different from pets, and you have to allow them into your rental property even if you don’t allow pets.
This can be difficult for landlords to understand, especially if they are adamant about not having pets in their property. However, the law does not see service and support animals as pets. It sees them as accommodations. You cannot collect a pet deposit or a pet fee, and you cannot restrict breeds.
California law continues to change on matters such as rent control and eviction. Landlords need to know whether their properties qualify for rent control, and how to legally and effectively evict a tenant from their property.
As things get more complicated, we can provide more value. Because we are licensed REALTORs, we get updates on landlord/tenant law changes, and we always share our information with the landlords and investors we work with.
Don’t put yourself at risk for violating a law in California. Even being late on a security deposit return can have huge financial penalties. If you need help, contact us at Parks Property Management. We’ll keep you informed and compliant.