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 Legal
LEGAL CORNER
By Stephen C. Duringer, Esq. The Duringer Law Group, PLC
Question. I have always heard that I should post my rental criteria in a conspicuous place so that applicants can plainly see if they are qualified before they apply. I typically require that the applicants have a combined income exceed three times the rent, however I might make exceptions. Also, in years past, a foreclosure on an applicant’s credit report was an automatic disqualifier, but after attending your tenant screening class, I have reconsidered this criterion. With so many exceptions to my rental criteria, my sign would be huge! How do I handle this?
Geoff B., Silver Lake
Answer. Yes, it is a good practice to post your rental criteria in a conspicuous place. The details and specifics of your rental criteria, however, do not need to be included, as these details and specifics are not necessarily static, that is, they may change or evolve over time depending on your situation. For example, your three times income requirement may work fine if you have a single vacancy and a dozen applicants, however it may be a bit too restrictive in the present economy, or in the event you have several vacancies, your phone has not rung in days, or you have only received a single application in the past two weeks.
Every owner should establish the following as their general rental criteria. A qualified applicant should: (i) have a verifiable and positive credit history; (ii) have a verifiable and positive past tenancy history, (iii) have sufficient and verifiable income to meet his or her present and future financial obligations, and (iv) should not pose a risk of harm to the rental property or to others. These general rental criteria can and should be applied equally and fairly to all applicants, and in compliance with all fair housing rules. Once applied, the best applicant should be accepted, not necessarily the first to apply.
Question. What types of repairs can I require the tenant to take responsibility for?
Arnold E., Beverly Hills
Answer. A landlord and tenant can agree, in writing by the rental agreement, to allocate responsibility for minor repairs between them. Often landlords and tenants may agree that certain items, amenities, will be the tenant’s responsibility to maintain. These may include refrigerators, washing machines, pools or spas, air conditioning, and minor plumbing issues.
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        This article is presented in a general nature to address typical landlord tenant legal issues. Specific inquiries regarding a specific situation should be addressed to your attorney. Stephen C. Duringer is the founder of The Duringer Law Group, PLC, one of the largest and most experienced landlord tenant law firms in the country. The firm may be reached at (714) 279-1100 or (800) 829-6994. Please visit www.DuringerLaw.com for more information
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