Many people in the Detroit area make their living by investing in residential properties. While for some the goal is to sell these, they may still have to consider renting the properties out to produce a stream of income.
Some may even want to set up their real estate business to support renters.
Either way, these business owners needs to be aware of the many housing laws at the state and federal level.
While these laws protect buyers too, it is particularly important for would-be landlords to understand their obligations to prospective renters and to their existing tenants. If they do not meet these obligations, they could find themselves unable to evict a tenant when they need to or collect back rent and damages.
Worse, they could wind up getting sued themselves and may be the target of a government agency’s investigation.
The federal Fair Housing Act requires that landlords avoid discrimination
For example, the Fair Housing Act, a federal law, requires that landlords avoid discrimination when renting units. Overt discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, religion and sex are prohibited.
The law protects other classes as well. For example, landlords cannot discriminate based on family composition and size and also must provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities.
It is important for landlords to recognize that these laws are broad. They must make sure to follow them when advertising for an available unit, selecting tenants and setting up terms and policies.
Even if no overt discrimination is intended, a landlord can still run afoul of the law by using practices that tend to weed out members of a protected group of people in favor of other customers.
Michigan also has landlord-tenant laws that landlords must follow
In addition to the Fair Housing Act, Michigan landlords also have to follow the laws of this state when renting properties. Specifically, they may have responsibilities with respect to security deposits and also with respect to keeping the property repaired and in good order.
Detailed questions about what housing laws apply may be answered by an experienced attorney.