How Landlords Can Avoid a Bad Reputation

Some landlords don’t care about the condition of their properties, but most people who get into the property rental business don’t want to be known as “slumlords.” To avoid that label, landlords must be diligent about repairing defects on their properties and maintaining the exterior.

Potential Consequences of Poor Maintenance

Maryland law offers many protections for tenants, and when disputes arise, they are often settled in court. The Baltimore Sun recently reviewed numerous city rent court cases. It found that in one landlord-tenant dispute, the property owner was fined $25,000 for failure to disclose or remediate the presence of lead-based paint. So, in addition to being bad for one’s reputation, a lax approach to property maintenance can have serious financial consequences.

Tenants aren’t the only ones who can file a complaint against landlords. Homeowners or business owners can file a complaint if they believe a property is so neglected that it’s a drag on the value of their own property or creates a health and safety hazard.

A Duty to Others

The Sun’s review of rent court cases found that most involved low-income tenants living in properties in which inspectors had found multiple health and safety violations. Landlords who know their tenants have few housing options, because of their income, may be less inclined to make repairs in a timely manner. Tenants in these situations may also be less likely to report defects that need to be repaired.

Landlords have a duty to make sure their properties are habitable. Often, landlords own properties in one area and live in another city or town. That distance may create some challenges when it comes to maintenance. It also can mean landlords are less likely to notice when tenants aren’t taking care of the property. If a lease specifies that the tenant is responsible for taking care of the yard, and the tenant ignores that duty, the landlord would still be liable for any citations or fines related to exterior maintenance.

Maintaining a Good Image

Business owners benefit from their professional networks, and news spreads quickly among business circles. If tenants are routinely filing complaints with the court due to neglectful maintenance, landlords could find their peers less enthusiastic about interacting with them.

Happy tenants are likely to take good care of their rental home, whereas tenants who feel that their landlord ignores their concerns may be less inclined to care about the property. Plus, happy tenants are a good source of referrals for landlords – word of mouth is how many tenants learn about rental properties.

A healthy landlord-tenant relationship begins with good communication and a detailed lease that outlines the rights and responsibilities of each party.

Lusk Law, LLC, specializes in assisting landlords, preparing leases and the other legal documents landlords need to protect their interests. We’re also ready to represent our clients in court should that need arise. Our experienced attorneys have provided legal counsel and representation to landlords in Frederick County, Howard County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Carroll County, Washington County, Anne Arundel County, Montgomery County and other counties in Maryland. Please call us at 443-535-9715 or fill out our contact form if you need legal advice.

How Landlords Can Avoid a Bad Reputation

Some landlords don’t care about the condition of their properties, but most people who get into the property rental business don’t want to be known as “slumlords.” To avoid…