This is a continuation of the federal laws that property managers must be aware of. Be sure to read Part I for the complete list.
The Equal Credit Opportunity Act – This act prohibits denying a loan or an extension of credit (rental leases are considered an extension of credit) based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or public assistance status. What this really means for property managers is that all lease applicants MUST be evaluated using the same criteria. Potential problems can be warded off by simply using the same tenant application and the same approval criteria for each applicant. No exceptions.
Lead-Based Pain Hazard Reduction Act – This act is applicable only to property managers who currently manage or potentially will manage properties constructed prior to 1978. The act requires property managers currently managing a property built prior to 1978 to disclose to all tenants the presence of any known lead-based paint. Property managers must also provide tenants with copies of any and all available records or reports which pertain to lead-based paint. Managers will also have to provide all tenants with a copy of an information pamphlet published by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act – This act was designed to regulate the relationship between property owners/managers and tenants. Under the umbrella of the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act falls a variety of provisions that property managers must be aware of including security deposit guidelines such as the time limit managers have to return security deposits to former tenants, guidelines on property owners/managers right to re-enter the property, and no retaliation provisions which state that property owners or managers cannot retaliate against a tenant for reporting a violation to state or federal officials. The consequences for violating any of these provisions vary and can include license forfeiture and monetary penalties.
When familiarizing yourself with the federal laws, you may want to take a few extra minutes to review your applicable state laws as well. While some of these acts may be more relevant to your particular type of property management business than others, educating both yourself and your staff about these federal (and state) acts and the repercussion of violating them will ensure compliance, which is the most important thing of all.