Renting out a Dayton property can provide landlords with plenty of opportunities. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of risks. Making an unintentional legal mistake, for example, can cost an owner thousands of dollars. There’s a long list of federal and state laws that pertain to housing, and you also have to know the local Dayton ordinances and regulations. If you don’t, you could find yourself in the middle of an unpleasant and expensive legal dispute.
The Ohio Landlord-Tenant Act of 1974 sets out minimum rights and duties of both landlords and tenants. We recommend that every landlord in Dayton and throughout Ohio becomes familiar with the law.
Non-Local Property Owners Need an Agent
If you don’t live within the boundaries of Montgomery County but you’re renting out a home here, you’ll need to have an agent who does live in Montgomery County. Your agent will represent you and potentially be a point of contact for any local county or city officials. If you need to be served a court document, for example, instead of sending it to you out of state or out of the county, your agent will be designated as the party to receive the service.
This agent doesn’t have to be a property manager, but if you’re working with a Dayton property management company and you live outside of the area, you’ll easily meet this requirement.
Complying with Fair Housing Laws
The federal Fair Housing Act applies to all Dayton landlords and rental properties. You are not permitted to discriminate based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. Most landlords don’t intentionally violate these laws, but if you say the wrong thing in your marketing materials or you screen one applicant differently than another applicant, you could run into trouble.
The Americans with Disabilities Act also provides protection for people who have physical or intellectual disabilities. This law is especially relevant to Dayton landlords and property managers when it comes to service and support animals. A tenant who needs a service animal cannot be treated like a tenant who wants to move in with a pet. You have to understand the difference, or you can find yourself in some expensive legal trouble.
Ohio Security Deposit Laws
Security deposits can be a touchy subject at the end of a lease period. Tenants always expect to get their full deposit back, even if they have damaged the property or neglected to leave it in an acceptable condition. You’ll have to understand the difference between tenant damage and routine wear and tear when you’re conducting your move-out inspection and trying to determine how much of the security deposit may need to be withheld.
Ohio security deposit law requires you to return your tenant’s deposit within 30 days of move-out. Hopefully, your tenant provided you with a forwarding address. If not, you’ll have to send it to their last known address. Don’t be late with the security deposit return. It could turn into a legal dispute in which you’ll be forced to return the entire amount of the deposit, regardless of the condition of the property, plus punitive and legal fees.
These are just a few of the most important laws any Dayton landlord will need to know. Things can get pretty complex with the legal landscape constantly changing. If you need any help, we’d love to serve as your Dayton property management resource. Contact us at ManCo Property Services.