Owning and renting out property can be a great investment. However, landlords need to be careful or risk losing money rather than making it. Here are some common mistakes made by landlords in Missouri and elsewhere that can end up costing them a pretty penny.
Being a landlord is not an easy job. If one is not careful, tenants or potential tenants may end up taking one to court. Here are several reasons why landlords in Missouri may be sued.
The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination on the basis of factors like disability, religion or race in buying or renting a home. A former tenant of a St. Louis, Missouri, apartment building recently filed a lawsuit against the landlord and owner claiming that they violated her rights under the Fair Housing Act on two different counts. A judge dismissed one of the counts but determined that the plaintiff, an African American woman, had a plausible claim on the other.
Being a rental property owner in Saint Charles offers many benefits, the chief of which is the added funds that it can contribute to one’s monthly income. Those who own such properties should also not have that difficult of a time finding tenants; according to information gathered by the Pew Research Center, 36.6 percent of U.S. households were headed by renters in 2016. Of course, renting to a tenant also brings with it the stress of whether or not they will take care of a property (and not do anything that might diminish its value). A landlord’s security against this is the security deposit.
While it seems like something out of a nightmare, squatters' rights are a very real concern for landlords in Missouri. In fact, you could lose property that is rightly yours to a squatter, or a person that takes up residence on your land for an extended period of time. The Balance explains how squatters' can take control of a property and what landlords can do to prevent the unthinkable from happening.
As a landlord, sometimes you may find it easier to just make an oral agreement with a new tenant. While it is true that Missouri law does recognize oral agreements to some capacity, there is added risk to using a spoken agreement over a verbal one. These risks can leave a landlord at a disadvantage if the oral contract is ever litigated by a tenant or other party.
Rental properties can often be lucrative investments (which is likely the main reason why you have chosen to manage your own in Saint Charles). Maximizing your ROI on a rental property requires charging the right amount of rent. While you do not want your rent prices to be prohibitive, you also want to charge enough to make owning and maintaining the property worth your while. This leads to the question of when you can legally raise a tenant's rent. Many come to our team here at Stephen A. Martin Attorney at Law with this same inquiry. The answer depends on the situation you are in.
Missouri eviction laws heavily favor tenants, as most states' eviction laws do these days. For this reason, it is imperative that a landlord understands both is or her rights and obligations to the tenant. If a landlord acts without first pursuing state statutes or consulting with an attorney, he or she runs the risk of violating a tenant's rights and therefore, forfeiting rights to his or her property.
As a Missouri landlord, you may occasionally encounter tenants who disobey the rules and do not live up to their obligations. If the violation is serious enough, you have the right to begin the process of eviction. The process starts with a written notice that informs your tenant of the default and gives him or her a reasonable amount of time in which to fix it. Unlawful detainer refers to the act of remaining in possession of the property without fixing the default within the time allotted. In this situation, you may seek assistance from the court to remove your tenant and retake possession of your property.
As a landlord in Missouri, there are moments in which you may run into potential legal issues with your tenants. There might even come a time when you believe their eviction is the best possible action you could take. Stephen A. Martin, attorney at law, is here to help if you ever need to evict a tenant.