What Steps Do Property Managers in Visalia Take to Ensure Legal Compliance? - Article Banner

For landlords with a real estate investment in Visalia, legal compliance can seem overwhelming. There is so much to know, from fair housing laws to security deposit limits to differentiating service animals from emotional support animals. 

One of the most critical aspects of managing a rental property is staying compliant with the law. As regulations change, it can be challenging for landlords to stay on top of their legal compliance requirements on a state, federal, and local level. 

This is why Visalia property management is so critical. Trying to lease, manage, and maintain rental properties without professional help is riskier than ever. 

Property managers are responsible for ensuring that all legal requirements are met. We can protect you and your investment property by keeping you in compliance and staying up to date on all the laws and regulations. 

Here are some of the steps we take to ensure your Visalia rental property is not in danger of attracting legal problems. 

Visalia Property Managers Stay Up to Date with California Landlord-Tenant Laws

You may find the constant changes in the law exhausting to keep up with. In the last three years, we’ve seen statewide rent control, just cause eviction laws, changes to the way you screen Section 8 tenants, and a requirement that multi-family properties provide recycling for organic waste. 

There are also existing laws; security deposit timelines and habitability warranties. The eviction moratorium during the worst of the pandemic inherently changed the way tenants are evicted even now. It is vital to keep up with and follow all of these legal changes, and if you cannot do it yourself, you need a local and professional property manager who can do it for you. 

Property managers in Visalia spend time at trainings, conferences, and classes to stay on top of all the changes to landlord-tenant laws. We’re more than aware of them; we’re actively putting them into practice. 

How We’re Keeping Tenant Screening Legally Compliant 

One of the best reasons to hire a property manager is to ensure you’re getting a well-qualified tenant placed in your rental property. 

You also want to work with a property manager during the leasing and screening process to ensure that the way you select and screen a tenant is compliant with all fair housing laws. 

Maybe you can comfortably say you’d never discriminate when screening tenants. 

That’s probably true. But, you don’t know how easy it is to make a fair housing mistake. It can be as easy as a slip-up when it comes to language you use in your marketing materials or a review of credit reports that isn’t completely objective. 

Property managers will ensure that all prospective tenants meet specific requirements and guidelines established by the qualifying rental criteria that we put together. This allows us to be transparent with tenants about what we’re looking for and accountable to an objective and consistent screening process. 

By establishing criteria and providing it to potential applicants, we can be sure that everyone understands what’s needed in order to be approved for the properties we’re renting. 

Recently legal changes require all Section 8 tenants to be considered, even if they’re using their housing vouchers as proof of income. We’ve incorporated this into our screening process to protect our owners and our process. 

Managing Tenant Communication and Documentation

Regular communication with tenants is essential for every property manager. 

Also essential is documentation. We’re careful to document communication with tenants. Not only is this a great way to stay organized, it also protects us if there’s a dispute, a conflict, or a lawsuit that arises from something that goes wrong with tenants. 

When a tenant claims we didn’t make a repair, we have the documentation to show that we did. 

When a tenant claims that they didn’t damage something in the home, we have the photos to prove that they did. 

We’re also responsible for documentation that supports the tenant. Property managers are responsible for providing notice of rent increases, lease renewals, or any lease violations that have been detected.  

Our investment in technology helps us to communicate more effectively and to ensure that all of our systems and communication are legally compliant. If we need to evict a tenant, we can run a financial report that shows when rent stopped being paid, for example. 

What We Know about Service and Support Animals 

Most rental property owners know, by now, that service animals and companion animals are not pets. They are considered accommodations for people who have disabilities. The fair housing laws and Americans with Disabilities Act supports that, and we make sure all of our owners and properties are complying with any tenant’s need for a service or support animal. We don’t charge pet fees or pet rent for service and support animals. We can’t. 

The laws around service animals and support animals can sometimes feel difficult to navigate. There has been a growing trend of tenants needing companion animals, which are most commonly emotional support animals. These are different from service animals; they’re not trained in any specific function. They merely exist to bring comfort to their owners. 

Landlords often felt like it was too easy for tenants to claim a pet is a support animal. Recent laws require that any licensed physician who provides documentation about an individual’s need for an emotional support animal must have an established relationship with their patient. That relationship must have been established for at least 30 days in order for the documentation to be accepted. The physician must also complete an in-person clinical evaluation of the individual who requests the emotional support animal.

Your property manager will also know when new laws benefit you as a rental property owner. 

Visalia property managers play an essential role in ensuring legal compliance across all of your California rental properties. We stay informed about the latest legal regulations, perform tenant screenings, conduct regular inspections, maintain communication records, and protect your investments and your interests. 

Partner with Property ManagerPartnering with a property manager will help you manage your rental properties with confidence and expertise. If you’d like to hear more about the current laws we’re following, please contact us at The Equity Group.