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The Importance of Knowing State Landlord Tenant Laws

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If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I advocate a long term investment strategy when it comes to real estate.  And of course with this approach, you must become a landlord to rent out your units and manage your tenants.  As such, it is critical to understand the landlord tenant laws in your state of operation.

This is important because if you disobey the law, whether intentionally or not, you run the risk of not being able to do what you need to do.  For example, if you need to evict a tenant for a reason other than non-payment of rent, in most states you are required to first give written warning before proceeding with the eviction process.  If you try to execute the eviction without the written warning, and your tenant is smart enough to understand the law, there is a good chance your eviction filing will get thrown out in court.

Landlord tenant laws also cover other highly critical things, such as how much of a security deposit you can collect, the timeframe within which you must return a tenant’s deposit after move out, the degree to which you can increase the rent, the definition of acceptable living standards, etc.  Failure to understand these requirements could result in a fate worse than having your eviction filing thrown out of court; namely, it could result in you getting sued by a savvy tenant.

So whether you are an experienced investor or just getting ready to buy your first income property, take some time to read the landlord tenant laws in your state.  These can be found online for pretty much every state, so just do a Google search for “[your state] landlord tenant laws” (of course replacing the words “your state” with your specific state of operation).  Do yourself a favor and refresh your understanding of your state’s requirements today, because ignorance is not going to get you off the hook in court if you inadvertently break the law.

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