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Common Ways Property Managers Could Be Breaking the Law

A stack of books with a gavel in front and a blurry apartment construction site in the background

Digested from AppFolio

When interacting with residents, onsite staff must be cognizant of local and state laws.

While local laws vary greatly across the country, there are several seemingly innocuous actions that could violate the law in many parts of the country, according to AppFolio.

One act that might seem benign, but might really be a violation, is dropping in on residents for routine inspections, maintenance or repairs without notice.

“As stated in the landlord-tenant law, a property manager must seek a tenant’s consent to enter because they’ve surrendered possession of the premises over to the renter upon signing the rental agreement,” AppFolio writes. “If a tenant happens to be home, they may waive their right to get advance notice, but property managers should not just use their keys to stop by at any time and without prior warning.”

Another way to trip up is by charging more for a security deposit than your state or local jurisdiction allows. Some states may limit landlords to charging one-month’s deposit; others may allow more.

Onsite staff should also be careful when asking for personal information beyond income, credit history and job status.

“For instance, it’s not legal to fish for information about religion or place of origin, even in personal conversations,” AppFolio writes. “Focus on asking questions that reflect the applicant’s ability to afford the property and uphold lease terms.”

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