Keep Your Tenants Informed
Tenants don’t know what their obligations are. I think that’s a fair enough statement to make. They may have a general idea based on the agreements that they sign – however they’re not going to know every landlord-tenant law.
Nor should they.
However, this can create problems which can hurt a landlord in the long run. I was reading a story today on The Consumerist.
The gist of the article is this: a tenant noticed bugs in his house, and reported it to the landlord. The landlord sent a company out to look at the bugs, and determined that they were flying termites, and the whole house would have to be exterminated. The tenant meanwhile, would have to find another place to stay during this whole process.
The tenant is unhappy about this, as the bugs are in the garage for the most part and it’s mainly ants, so he doesn’t see what the big deal is, and is upset he has to temporarily move out of his property.
Now this is in Florida. In the Florida Statutes and Constitutions, it specifically states that in a situation like this, the tenant MUST temporarily vacate the premises. It also states that the tenant needs to be given 7 days written notice, and the process can not take longer than 4 days.
Here’s the problem; the tenant doesn’t seem to be aware of that law. As I said above – that’s understandable. And I don’t know the specifics of this – whether or not the landlord actually provided the tenant with all the relative information.
However with the tenant writing to a website like the Consumerist, it suggest he is angry and DOESN’T realize that this is in the Statutes & Constitution. This is why we, as landlords, need to keep our tenants informed at all times.
You see – this is something that can seriously damage a landlords reputation. If the tenant thinks that the landlord is overreacting and that it’s not something required by law, then it won’t take long for him to release negative press about the landlord. You can write to websites like the Consumerist, tell all your friends, post all about it on Craigslist and similar sites, tweet about it – the possibilities are endless.
That’s why you need to keep the tenant on your friendly site, and at the very least keep him informed. It doesn’t matter if you’re having a bad day or you just can’t be bothered – printing off the statutes for Florida, and explaining to the tenant that the landlord is required by law to take these actions – is a great step in stopping any possible negative PR or hassle.
Because once the tenant-landlord relationship is broken, it can result in so many problems down the road. And unfortunately, it’s the landlord that usually gets the raw end of the deal.
So be sure to keep your tenants informed legally of everything that is going on, and everything that you are required to do.
It’ll save you a headache down the road.