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What a Landlord Cannot Do: A Brief Guide

Stephen Foster - Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Property Management Blog

The position of a landlord comes with a lot of benefits, from substantial extra income to fostering a little community in your proverbial backyard. With all that responsibility, however, comes a list of lines you cannot cross as a landlord. While some are self-explanatory, others are low-key enough that it's easy to assume you can do something you'll get in trouble for.

So how do you stay on the legal side of things?

Well, we're glad you asked. This brief guide on what a landlord cannot do will help safeguard you from making those mistakes. So without further ado, let's look at the first prohibited action.

Evict a Tenant Without Legal Reason

It's important to note that you only have a legal ground to evict a tenant if they harm a person on the property or destroy a piece of the apartment for a reason other than the grind of daily use.  You can also evict a tenant if they break the rules set on their lease or miss rent payments. 

However, you cannot evict someone because you don't like the music they play at 3 am or they said nasty things about you unless these things fall into an aspect of the lease. You can also not perform retaliatory actions, which range from things like depriving services to a tenant you give to others to raising the rent. Discriminating against tenants based on their race, skin color, religion, sexuality, gender identity, age, and so on is also prohibited.

Alterations to the Lease Made Mid-Lease

You are also forbidden from making changes to a lease you have with a tenant while the lease is in effect. If you want to do so, you have to negotiate a new lease out with the tenant and destroy the old one. You can also use a separate rules list outside of the lease you can make, but you also have to get all your tenants to sign it.

Control the Lives of Tenants

Even though tenants live under your roof, you cant control certain portions of their lifestyle. Who they date, how many kids they have, where they work...trying to demand these things of tenants can end up with multiple harassment or emotional damage lawsuits thrown your way.

Enter a Tenant's Apartment Whenever You Please

While you own the property, you can't barge into a tenant's apartment whenever you wish. Instead, you must provide them sufficient advanced notice of when and where you're going to inspect.

The only time you can barge in without advance notice is if you have reasonable cause to believe an apartment has gotten abandoned. In certain cases, you can also do so if you receive a complaint pertaining to unsafe or lease-violating behavior happening on the premises.

What a Landlord Cannot Do Vs. What They Can

So, now that you have this guide on what a landlord cannot do, you can focus on what private landlords can do to make more money and keep your tenants happy! And if you're looking for more tips and tricks for owning and leasing a property, make sure to contact us and let us know how we can help!