A Property Manager’s Role In Compliance
A landlord hires a property management company to ensure the day-to-day responsibilities related to a rental property are taken care of. This could be anything from creating work orders, scheduling maintenance, communicating with guests, screening tenants and collecting rent. But another major responsibility of a property management company is to ensure the company is following all of the rules, laws, and guidelines associated with real estate ownership. Their job is to make sure a property is up to code and follows the basic rules of compliance as defined by the FHAA. All leading up to the property manager’s role in compliance.
According to the FHAA, for a property to be considered compliant it must meet these seven requirements:
- An accessible building entrance on an accessible route. Covered multifamily dwellings must have at least one building entrance on an accessible route unless it is impractical to do so because of terrain or unusual characteristics of the site.
- Accessible to common and public use areas. Such areas could include but are not limited to clubhouses, front offices, playgrounds and other recreational areas, laundry rooms, postal drop areas, and other recreational areas.
- Usable doors (usable by a person in a wheelchair). All doors designed to allow passage into and within all premises must be sufficiently wide to allow passage by persons in wheelchairs.
- Accessible route into and through the dwelling unit. There must be an accessible route into and through the dwelling units, providing access for people with disabilities throughout the unit.
- Light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls in accessible locations.
- Reinforced walls in bathrooms for later installation of grab bars. All premises within dwelling units must contain reinforcements in bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars around toilet, tub, shower stall, and shower seat, where such facilities are provided. Showers and tubs should also have a seat.
- Usable kitchens and bathrooms. Dwelling units must contain usable kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual who uses a wheelchair can maneuver about the space.
This is a lot to remember, but missing even one detail could end landlords up in a lot of legal and financial trouble. Every “I” must be dotted, and every “T” must be crossed to ensure your investment property is compliant with the FHAA and suitable to provide safe and accessible housing for tenants.
These seven guidelines are just a general overview of what is required for a property to be considered compliant. Temecula Property Management companies (and other southern California property management companies) have the critical task making sure properties are compliant in other ways including:
Rental Lease Contract Preparation
The lease is the bonding document that ties the landlord and the tenant together. The lease lists out the responsibilities and expectations of both parties and should include detailed information regarding:
- Names of all tenants
- Limits on occupancy
- Rent, Deposits and other fees
- Length of the rental term
- Maintenance Expectations
- Property Access Details and
- Pet Policy
A property manager is responsible for preparing this binding contract and making sure both parties adhere to their responsibilities and commitments. If there is any confusion or misunderstandings on the part of the landlord or the tenant, the lease will be used to clarify any confusion.
21 day CA Move Out Itemized Security Deposit Statement
In California, a landlord is required to return the security deposit back to the tenant within 21 days of them moving out. They must also provide an itemized statement that includes:
- The original amount of security deposit received
- Any deductions taken from the deposit and receipts and documentation proving that work was done to fix damages caused by the tenant
- The final amount of the security deposit being returned to the renter
Fair Housing Laws
Property managers are also required to stay on top of fair housing laws and avoid any practices that could be confused as discrimination. From the way the home is advertised to the questions asked during screening, property managers must be very intentional not to break any fair housing laws when managing tenants. If there is a violation, it could mean an expensive lawsuit for the landlord. A professional property management company will be current on these laws and intentional about following them carefully.
Most landlords do not have a background in real estate law and find themselves drowning in paperwork and checklists and regulations regarding their investment property. A property manager can take the stress out of owning investment property. This is why so many hire professional management companies who have extensive experience working with these legal issues and can be proactive to ensure the property is always up to standard. Most landlords in California want to reap the benefits of real estate investing but do not have the time, desire or background knowledge to ensure their property checks all the boxes when it comes to compliance. A property manager can even help improve your bottom line.
There are a lot of rules to follow and laws to adhere to when dealing with real estate, and hiring a property management company can help you keep it all current, organized, and legal.