Investment Property Management: Renter Rights

Renting from an investment property manager may save you money in rent, but what are your rights as a renter? This is an important question that all renters using an investment property agency should know the answer to.

How Investment Property Management Works

When you rent an investment property you become a source of income for the owner. The idea is that they find a house they can pick up for relatively cheap (usually below fair market value) and make the house suitable as a home for a renter. The investment management will have a plan, or goal, for the amount of time the home will be rented until the investment has created a return. Most investment property managers will want to hang on to the property after the investment has paid out to continue to make residual income. The rights as a renter aren’t much different when you rent investment property, but the way things are handled may be.

Fees and Charges

Above and beyond the standard rent that was agreed upon in the lease, the investment property management has a right to charge late fees, security deposits, and pet deposits. Some states will limit the amount that can be charged in security deposits and late fees, but in most cases the property management can charge any amount for pet deposits. Some will even charge pet rent as well to cover additional wear and tear that can be incurred by having a pet. The security deposit is refundable after you leave the premise if no damage was done, but the pet deposit may not be. As the renter you have the right to not pay for normal wear and tear at the end of the lease. Each state has different restrictions on what normal wear and tear is. Check with your states laws to determine this. When you vacate the premise the property management company is required to send you an itemized report going over any deductions from your security deposit.

Repairs and Maintenance

In all states the investment property management is responsible for all maintenance and repairs to the premise provided they weren’t caused by you. Emergency situations should be responded to in 24 hours in most states. What defines an emergency can vary from state to state. The management company is required to respond to all repair requests. You may not withhold rent if a request is not answered. Instead this will need to be taken to court for action. The laws in all states prevent a landlord or management company from retaliating for any action they perceive as unfair.

If the property management company refuses to respond to a repair request that violates terms of health and safety you may have the right to break your lease. If this is happening check locally to see what the laws are.

Renting from an investment property manager isn’t much different than renting from an average person. In most cases you only see a difference regarding the amount of rent and the number of properties they handle.

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