Avoiding the Most Common Landlord-Tenant Disputes
When you own residential property, you may find yourself dealing with disputes related to your relationship with your tenants. In some cases, you may be able to resolve these disputes easily, through good communication and speaking directly with your tenant. But in other situations, you may need to take legal action to protect your interests.
The best way to avoid these problems is to prevent disputes from arising in the first place. The following are some tips to ensure a good landlord-tenant relationship:
- Ask fair questions: When screening potential tenants, be careful about the questions you ask so that you aren’t accused of discrimination. State and federal law prohibits you from discriminating against tenants based on gender, race, nationality, religion, disability or family status.
- Provide all necessary information: Depending on where your property is located, you may need to provide tenants with notice of any mold, lead or other hazards present — and notify them if there are sex offenders living near the property. In Pennsylvania, all landlords must disclose information to tenants regarding security deposits.
- Maintain safe premises: Landlords must provide safe living environments for tenants, including proper lighting, door locks and railings on staircases. It’s a good idea to perform regular safety checks and address any potential hazards as quickly as possible.
- Respect tenants’ privacy: In Pennsylvania, all landlords must provide at least 24 hours’ notice before entering a rented unit to show it to a potential tenant, make repairs or conduct a safety check.
- Know eviction requirements: There are certain restrictions on when and why you can evict a tenant. Be sure to give tenants notice before filing an eviction order with the local court.