Keeping Up With Landlord/Tenant Laws
HandelontheLaw.com Staff Writer
Law is a huge, living body of work that keeps changing. Landlords/tenants are often affected by changing laws. For two examples, as of 2015, California requires landlords to post local utility rates in apartments and houses effective January 1st and landlords must also have upgraded smoke detectors in rentals effective in July.
Government bodies, whether they’re towns, cities, counties, states or the federal government often pass new laws affecting landlords and tenants in the way lease agreements must be written, how rents and deposits must be handled, whether new or improved equipment must be provided, etc. Whether you’re a landlord or tenant, you certainly don’t need any unpleasant surprises about changes in the law.
How, then, can landlords and tenants keep up with changing laws? There are several avenues open to them and some are explained here, in no particular order of importance.
First , the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) maintains an official blog here: http://blog.hud.gov/ Named “the HUDdle,” this authoritative site covers topics ranging from “Housing 101” to a “Weekly Housing News Roundup” regarding federal laws.
Second, HUD also maintains a portal for state laws here: HUD State Laws The page says “Tenants Rights” but if you click through to your state, you will find a broader explanation of laws applying to landlords and tenants. Some state sites via HUD even offer newsletters can be e-mailed to you to keep you abreast of the latest developments.
Third, HUD maintains Twitter http://www.twitter.com/@HUDgov with searchable landlord/tenant news.
Fourth, HUD has a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HUD that can also keep you advised of developments.
Fifth, landlords, who tend to be organized, have a National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) with an informative and otherwise helpful site here: http://www.narpm.org/
Sixth, landlords also have a Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) site with several good resources here: http://www.boma.org/Pages/default.aspx
Seventh , local laws can be learned through your town/city Chamber of Commerce, which tends to provide the latest local property laws, even without attending a snore-fest meeting.
These resources and others should keep landlords and tenants informed about basic laws and their latest developments.
DO’S AND DON’TS
DON’T assume you will simply hear of any town/city/county/state/federal changes in laws affecting landlords and tenants.
DO visit the HUD blog “The HUDdle” for federal laws here: http://blog.hud.gov/
DO visit the HUD portal for state laws here: HUD State Laws
DO subscribe to your state’s newsletter, if available.
DO use HUD’s Twitter site http://www.twitter.com/@HUDgov for searchable landlord/tenant news.
DO follow HUD’s Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/HUD
DO visit the site maintained by the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) here: http://www.narpm.org/
DO visit the site maintained by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) here: http://www.boma.org/Pages/default.aspx
DO contact your local Chamber of Commerce for updates on any town/city landlord/tenant laws.
By Kathy Catanzarite
Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.
LANDLORD AND TENANT DOS AND DON'TS