Tips for Tenant and Landlord

August 4, 2012 at 10:25 pm Leave a comment

By Maria Hass

In order to serve my clients better, I continually attend real estate classes. A course I recently attended was an interesting topic on “Landlord-Tenant Issues.” facilitated by real estate attorney Dennis Brookshire. Mr. Brookshire is an experienced landlord as well. His Knowledge and opinion comes from his legal background and personal experience which makes him a good source to talk about the topic. I won’t bore you with a review of the entire three-hour discourse, but I want to list the important concepts and ideas that I took home from the class. Some are related to renting issues and some are merely lessons in life to help you become better renters or landlords, and become smarter people.

1. “NO good deed remains UNpunished.” As a Realtor, giving favors to a friend or someone outside of your realm of expertise could get you into trouble. It is best to refer them to someone who specializes in that specific field of real estate.

2. Under the Fair Housing Act, no one may be descriminated against based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age or handicap. However, churches, private clubs and adult communities are exempted from Fair Housing Act.

3. Landlords should manage the maintenance of their property and not allow tenants to take control of repairs, in order to avoid liability.

4. Businesses who accept clients at their home office should have their office in compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.

5. “Tenants always lie.”

6. A commercial Lease does not follow the protective class of residential lease.

7. If landlord allows for pets, be sure to have tenant sign a pet addendum, secure pet insurance with the property management company and the landlord as additional insured in the policy so that you will be notified if the policy is cancelled. Also, ask for an additional deposit.
8. What qualifies for a pet is usually a dog or a cat but in some instances, other pets like birds, snakes, iguanas, or hamsters will depend on your level of risk tolerance.

9. A once a month visit by landlord to suspect tenants is reasonable. Visits to responsible tenants who pay on time will be less frequent.

10. Tenants who claim to have an assistance animal should secure verification documentation of such need from a doctor or qualified agency.

11. Require rental insurance prior to tenants moving in.

12. Only give keys once tenant has complied with ALL requirements.

13. If a landlord accepts partial payments, under the law, the landlord has to put in writing when full payment will be accepted before receiving the partial payment. Otherwise, anything unpaid becomes waived.

14. A landlord is required to make repairs if notified in writing under the Landlord-Tenant Act.

15. The two forms of acceptable communication under the law are 1. Personal delivery; 2. Certified or Registered Mail unless agreed differently in the lease agreement.

16. Security deposit is 1 1/2x the rent amount.

17. A refundable security deposit is preferred to provide incentive to the tenant to keep the home clean and avoid damaging the property.

18. If a tenant was denied due to credit rating, the listing agent is not obligated by law to give tenant’s credit report to the tenant. The tenant may request a credit report from any of the three credit report bureaus. The listing company is not obligated to provide a reason for denial.

19. The homeowner’s right to live in the house ends once a new owner buys the house in an auction.

20. This year’s Protecting Tenant at Foreclosure Act allows the tenant 90 days to vacate the property after foreclosure if tenant entered into a qualified lease with owner and the property is to be utilized as owner occupied. A qualified lease includes 1. Rent is fair market value; 2. It is a reasonable term — usually one year; 3. Lease was entered into before foreclosure.

This sums up the three-hour class on Fair Housing and Tenant-Landlord issues. The questions brought up by the listening audience made for a worthwhile educational class. When in doubt, consult the Arizona Landlord-Tenant Act or visit http://www.azsos.gov/public_services/publications/residential_landlord_tenant_act/20120802_Web_version.pdf

Entry filed under: Arizona Real Estate, Chandler Real Estate, Foreclosures & Short Sales, Phoenix Real Estate. Tags: , , , , , .

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