The Legal Side of Property Management: Must-Know Rules and Regulations


WORDS: Peter Minkoff PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied

If you are a property owner or a landlord, you should know that running a rental property business takes more than just advertising the rental property and choosing tenants. The job has serious legal responsibilities that should be known in detail to keep tenants’ satisfaction levels high and establish a long relationship with them. 

Usually, a property management company takes over the management of the rental property business and frees up the property owner’s time. Even so, you should still be aware of your legal responsibilities toward the state you reside in and the tenants you serve. This article offers an overview of the most critical legal matters to ensure your business is law-compliant.

Housing Laws

The most crucial housing laws you should know about and respect are:

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in choosing tenants for rental housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. Everyone can be selected as a tenant if they have good credit scores and a transparent background. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act states that property owners must ensure that people with disabilities can use the rental properties. This means the property must be easily accessible, and installments like ramps and widening doorways should be available.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a law that oversees how tenant screening is done along with the background checks – whether you conduct a fair and accurate process. 

Lease Agreements and Contracts

The lease agreement is the most critical document in the rental housing business. It provides detailed information about the terms and conditions of the rent agreement, such as rent, security deposits, and mutual responsibilities. The lease agreement must be legally binding, and it includes segments about eviction, maintenance and repairs, and legal compliance.

Here is a bullet point list of the necessary segments. A law-binding rental property lease agreement should typically contain the following:

  • Names of all parties involved (landlord and tenant)
  • Rental property address and description
  • Terms of tenancy (duration of the lease, start and end dates)
  • Rent amount and due dates
  • Security deposit amount and conditions for its return
  • Responsibilities of both landlord and tenant regarding maintenance and repairs
  • Rules regarding use of the property (e.g., noise regulations, pet policies)
  • Procedures for resolving disputes or breaches of the lease
  • Disclosures required by law (e.g., lead-based paint disclosure)
  • Signatures of all parties involved, indicating agreement to the terms

Other Clauses and Provisions for Top-Notch Property Management

Other things contribute to successful property management and improve the relationship between property managers and tenants. They are also law-compliant and should be included in the lease agreement. They are:

  • Who has the right to enter the property?
  • Are pets allowed?
  • Is subletting allowed? If yes, How much are the provisions for subletting?
  • Is smoking allowed?
  • What are the rules for using common areas on the property?

These should also be clearly defined so that every tenant on the property is comfortable and can practice their lifestyles without breaking any rules. 

Summary of Legal Responsibility of Tenants

To make it even easier for you as a property owner or landlord, here we summarize the tenets’ legal responsibilities toward you and the housing unit they are renting.

First of all, they must pay rent on time as specified in the lease agreement, or if they fail to meet the deadline, they need to inform the property manager or owner according to the mutual agreement stated in the contract.

Secondly, they should keep the property clean and in sanitary condition at all times, ensuring they are not decreasing the property’s value. In cases of damage, they need to report promptly to the landlord. 

Next, they should comply with noise rules and regulations and respect the neighbors’ right to have peace. And not engage in any illegal activities that may endanger the other tenants in the rental property. 

If tenants want to make any adjustments or alterations to the property, they must seek permission from the property manager or the landlord. Renovations and repairs should be clearly defined in the agreement. 

Last but not least, they must notify the property manager or landlord if they want to sublet the house or apartment, even if it needs to be explicitly outlined in the lease agreement.


In conclusion, knowing the legal rules of property management is crucial for landlords and property owners. It’s about understanding laws like Fair Housing and creating clear lease agreements that cover everything from rent to maintenance. Tenants also have responsibilities like paying rent on time and keeping the property clean. By following these rules, landlords and tenants can have a smooth relationship while staying on the right side of the law.