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These landlord issues may get you into trouble with the law

Perhaps you've always dreamed of owning an apartment complex and offering safe, affordable housing to people in your New Jersey community. As a landlord, you likely want your tenants to be satisfied with the way you manage things because tenants who are happy tend to stay on longer. Although being a landlord may be a rewarding experience in many ways, there are also many complications and problems that can arise that turn a good day into a bad one.

If you know how avoid common landlord mistakes and do your best to immediately address any issue of concern, you may enjoy a long, satisfying career and your tenants may even designate you as their favorite landlord.

Things to avoid if you don't want landlord/tenant problems

Your relationship with a prospective tenant begins upon your very first meeting. From that point on, clear communication and appropriate actions are key to a successful business arrangement. The following list includes common landlord mistakes you want to avoid at all costs:

  • Disclosure failures: If you know that a particular dwelling contains potential health hazards, or you're aware that a registered sex offender lives in the area, the law requires you to bring such information to the attention of any person considering renting your property. If you fail to do so, that tenant may hold you liable if something goes wrong.
  • Discrimination: You cannot reject a potential tenant based on his or her skin color, ethnicity, religion, gender or any other discriminatory factor. It is illegal.
  • Failure to address needed repairs: If you have a tenant that tells you something needs repaired in his or her apartment, you are obligated to check it out (and repair it if needed) within a reasonable amount of time. You can't simply ignore a tenant's request for repairs.
  • Invasion of privacy: Although you obviously have means for getting into each apartment in your building, you can't enter any rented residence without giving proper notice ahead of time to the tenant.
  • Eviction without due process: There are definitely just reasons for evicting a tenant from your property; however, there is also a process to follow and state laws to which you must adhere. If you act without cause, a tenant may be able to hold you liable for damages.

If a tenant is overdue in paying rent, causes damage to the residence you are renting him or her, or has otherwise broken the terms of your agreement, you are well within the law to take immediate action to rectify the situation. Sometimes, a particular problem necessitates litigation in order to resolve. Most New Jersey landlords get help from experienced attorneys before heading to court.

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