The Importance of Staying Up-to-Date with Local and National Housing Laws - Article Banner

How well do you know the housing laws that pertain to your rental property

Most of the landlords we talk to understand the very basics, but these laws are always changing. Even existing laws are being applied in new ways. If you’re not staying up to date on the latest trends and topics, you could find yourself making an expensive legal mistake. 

This is not ideal. For example, a first-time offense with a fair housing law can result in a fine that reaches $16,000. 

It’s important to stay ahead of the curve when we’re talking about local and state laws as well as federal laws. Let’s take a look at why this matters, and which laws in particular require your ongoing attention.

Rental laws are actually pretty complex and nuanced. Here’s why it matters that you know them:

Protect Your Investment and Your Finance

Protecting your investment property is always a priority, right? Well, understanding the laws helps you do that. When you acknowledge and respect the rights of tenants, you’ll be more likely to attract good tenants. When you’re keeping up with habitability laws, you’re providing a property that’s safe, habitable, and attractive to potential residents. 

Keeping a home habitable by legal standards will reduce your need for emergency repairs and ensure you retain a high property value

Ultimately, it’s critical to know the local and national laws that apply to your property or portfolio in order to provide a rental home that’s successful on the market.

Avoiding penalties protects your rental income and your financial stability. Being unaware of local or statewide requirements could result in serious and expensive legal mistakes. You cannot plead ignorance; you’re still accountable to the law. Keeping up-to-date with changes in laws will help you avoid any costly mistakes and legal fines. That’s better for your budget.

Earn More with Legally Compliant Rental Practices 

Your earnings are about more than just rental income. Think about where and when you collect funds from your tenant; security deposits, pet fees, and late rent fees are a few examples of money that flows from them to you. All of these impact what you earn on your property. So, you need to know the laws and restrictions that surround them. 

To maximize your rental income, you have to know how much you can charge in rent. There’s no rent control in Orlando, in fact, the state of Florida forbids it, but you do have to include rental amounts in your lease agreement. You need to know how often you’re permitted to raise the rent, and how much notice you should give your tenants. 

Florida is a fairly landlord-friendly state. There aren’t a lot of tenant protections in place, but your residents do have rights to privacy and quiet enjoyment of their property. If you show up unannounced and insist on going into the property, you could find yourself in legal trouble. 

That’s going to impact what you earn. Avoid these expenses and threats by understanding the laws. 

Be a Modern Landlord in Central Florida

Housing laws change are likely to change from time to time, whether we’re talking about how long you have to return a security deposit or what you can and cannot do when it comes to support and service animals

You don’t want to look like you don’t know what you’re doing. 

By staying in the loop and updated on the latest housing developments, including tax incentives and tenant protections, you will have a competitive edge over other owners who may be slowed down by trying to understand what they can and cannot do.

What Laws are Especially Important in the Orlando and Celebration Rental Market?

When it comes to understanding the laws as a rental property owner, the most important federal laws you need to know are the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. On a state and local level, it’s important you understand security deposit laws and habitability standards. 

  • Fair Housing 

The federal Fair Housing Law protects the following classes of people against discrimination in rental housing. You cannot discriminate or deny housing based on race, skin color, religion, national origin, sex, physical or mental disability, or familial status. Florida’s fair housing laws mirror this federal law.

  • Service and Support Animals

Service and support animals are also protected by fair housing. If a tenant or an applicant has a service animal, you are required to allow that animal in your property – even if you don’t allow pets. You cannot charge a pet fee, a pet deposit, or pet rent on a service animal or an emotional support animal. 

  • Security Deposits in Florida

The Florida security deposit statute requires that you keep your tenant’s security deposit in an account separate from your own, and in a Florida bank. You must return your tenant’s deposit within 15 days after they move out. That’s a pretty fast turnaround time. If you kept the deposit in an interest-bearing account, you must include any interest in the deposit you return. Any deductions must be itemized within 30 days.

Understanding the laws and remaining informed and updated on the latest housing laws demonstrates that you are committed to your role as a landlord. It also shows that you’re a more professional and trustworthy investor. 

We know it’s not always easy to stay updated on what’s happening legally. But, it’s absolutely necessary. If you’re finding the legal landscape to be too time-consuming or confusing, rely on the help of a local property management company. We can make sure you’re compliant and protected. Our job is to stay one step ahead of all the legal changes that are coming in from the courts as well as the state and federal government. We invest in education and professional development around rental laws.

Contact Property ManagerIf you’d like some help, we’re your resource. Contact our team at Park Avenue Property Management. We work in Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, Kissimmee, Celebration, Maitland, Altamonte Springs, West Palm Beach, Tampa Bay, and throughout central Florida.