Legal Issues for Apartment Building Owners

If you own a multifamily dwelling, you have to be very careful to manage your rental units within the confines of the law. Protect yourself from unnecessary lawsuits by staying aware of these four legal issues.

1. Utility Charges

Some property owners may believe that they have the authority to raise utility charges whenever they deem appropriate. However, some counties regulate the number of times that a property owner can raise these costs. Be sure that you understand your legal limitations on utility charges, and you should also have an accurate estimate of what these charges should be.

2. Rent Control

Most areas have laws that keep landlords from raising rents arbitrarily. You may need to wait a specified amount of time, like a year, before you can raise rents. Talk to a real estate lawyer before you raise rents to protect yourself from suits.

3. Communication

Apartment building owners are required to follow certain protocol in communicating with their tenants. You may need to provide receipts for payment, notices that payments have been accepted with stipulations, and notices that a judgment has been fully paid. You may also may be required to communicate changes in contracts to tenants on paper.

4. Legal Terminology

Hiring a good real estate attorney to draft legal documents and contracts can protect you from misunderstandings with your tenants. Using incorrect jargon can keep you from getting the results that you hoped for in your apartment building.

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