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How Property Management Will Help Limit Your Rental Property Liabilities

Kathy Fettke

Kathy Fettke


How Property Management Will Help Limit Your Rental Property Liabilities – Videos 1-11

See video transcripts below.

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Video 1 Transcript

Speaker: I’m very pleased to be here and talk to you about, not only property management but how to prepare your property, because we’ve had some hellfire and brimstone this morning, about all the liabilities of owning real estate, but your biggest defence to limiting liability to you is really the property manager. That’s what we’re going to talk about, how to prepare your property, how to use your property manager to limit your liability and then just a couple of tricks of the trade that I think will help you sleep better tonight, especially those of you that have lots of acquired property.

Disclaimer, most importantly, I’m not an attorney and I am not an accountant, but I’m going to talk to you about things that involve them. Your due diligence when you’re thinking about property manager, you need to think about these six things; making sure the property is properly prepared, you have the best property manager that there’s out there. I wish there was a magic formula but always picking the right tenant, maintaining the property because lack of maintenance, is also a liability for you and probably one of the biggest ones. Believe it or not, even we evict tenants and that’s what we call the divorce, because property management is a lot like running the daycare or marriage, and what we call the eviction the divorce. That’s another area for you to be liable if you don’t have the right property manager. Then finally, just other ways that you can protect your assets.

Video 2 Transcript

Speaker: This is mold. I know they had to have talked about mold a little bit today, but you have to think about how to prepare your property. You’re buying homes that are turnkey, but you still need to do a home inspection to verify that everything is done properly.

HUD has a lot of guidelines that are going to help you prepare the property right. For example, if there’s more than three steps or a 36 inch drop, then there has to be a handrail. If there’s a handrail and there’s a space with that 36 inch drop, then you have to have spindles or balisters– whatever you call them in this part of the country. They can be no more than four inches apart because if they’re more than four inches apart, a small child can put their head in there, fall down and strangle themselves.

These are areas of liability that as you’re buying those beautifully rehabbed homes, you don’t always think about, but your home inspector should validate for you. Porch height, Smoke detectors are common sense, but when you’re buying a home that the rehabber has done, make sure that those have been put in there. Your property manager is going to do that, your home inspector is going to do that.

Carbon monoxide detectors, and then finally, trip hazards. You need to make sure that the property that you’re buying has addressed this list of items. Plus go on the HUD list and look at all the things that they have there. If you have a landlord that has ever rented to a Section 8 customer, then the Section 8 has a checklist that’s very similar. If there’s a window that goes on the second floor, there has to be a lock on it.

That seems common sense, but in a house a hundred years old, some of them don’t have those, so they’ve got to be installed. These are ways that when you think about it, this is a way to limit your liability, making sure the property is prepared right.

We don’t allow tenants to have fireplaces, gas stoves, trampolines, or swimming pools because we know those are areas that cause liability. The gentleman that was here earlier today from Affinity Group Management, that is all of those of you that have houses with me, that your insurance company, so you’d be happy to know you have great coverage. They even charge extra for people that have swimming pools and trampolines because they recognize it’s a liability. They recognize that we should probably pay attention and eliminate those.

Kathy, when we were doing the webinar last week, she said, “Well, what about candles?” There was possibly a way that I can eliminate candles and maybe cooking too.

It’s the only way that they burn our houses down. Those are all things that you can think about to have in your lease to have your property prepared right.

Next, and you don’t think about this as much but it’s dead bolts and lighting. I have attended a couple of classes with the local police department and it’s called POP, Problem-Oriented Policing. They teach us– and this is also a tort issue which Brett probably touched upon. If someone has a house that’s broken into and you haven’t provided the deadbolt, then you have liability there. We make sure that the houses have the best locks possible.

The second thing especially in a multi family, you want to make sure that you have adequate lighting so someone can’t get pulled behind the bush and beat up or something. These are also things that you can do to prepare your property. Make sense?

Video 3 Transcript

Speaker: Now here’s the terror word because, we have a couple of terror words at our office because we have a lot of California investors. We don’t like the word mold, and we don’t like the word asbestos. Because you guys hate those words. Lead paint is the third one. Any houses built before 1976 has lead paint in it. How do I know that? All paint had lead in it, but what you have to do is properly abate it. What I do know and learned five years ago, is all shellac on all that beautiful wood framing also has lead in it. Do you know how I learned that? I had a two-year old child that had an elevated lead level, and we have replaced.

How does lead become dangerous to a child? They chew on window seals. They break the seal of the paint or there’s what they call friction surfaces. Friction surfaces are windows or doors, something that causes there to be movement there. What I didn’t recognize was all this beautiful historic homes that I love to rehab have lead in the shellac. Now not only are we covering up the paint, which is what’s required to properly abate lead paint and washing and scrubbing it and making sure there’s no peeling. Replacing windows to make sure there’s no friction surfaces, but if it’s a wood door or wood trim, we’re then covering it with polyurethane so that it’s not able to break off and cause lead poisoning.

In some of my nicest historic homes that I didn’t want to do that to, we don’t allow children in properties. We’re allowed to discriminate because of the possibility of lead poisoning, but how many of you would like to do a lead test to find out if there’s lead in your home? No. Because not everyone understands that lead paint is easily abated. Again, the best way to abate it, scrub it down, put a coat of paint on it, you are done with what the US environmental department says is the best way to abate lead, but if you do a test and you find that there’s lead paint there even after you abated, you must disclose it. You must disclose it to the seller, and the seller has to disclose it.

The property then has a bad reputation because not everyone understands the simplest way to abate lead is to paint over it. You give your property a stigma. When you’re thinking about a home that was built before 1978, you need to make sure that it’s properly prepared, but don’t do a test. Never ever test for lead. Makes sense?

Video 4 Transcript

Speaker: Next Mold. Mold was very hot topic for a very short period of time. Most of the mold problems we have in our properties are bathrooms that needs to be cleaned. A little Clorox goes a long way is what my mom says. Once insurance companies paid out a couple settlements, they deemed it an environmental hazard, and because it’s an environmental hazard, it’s not a covered liability item. Are there any attorneys in the audience?

As long as the attorneys don’t think that they are going to get a big fat bucket of money for that, then they’re not going to go after you because then they’re just going after your assets. Most attorneys, most people that are going after your for a liable situation, are really going after your insurance.

Mold isn’t anywhere near as big of an issue. The uneducated person will call us and tell us, they’re dying of mold poisoning. Then we’ll go in and put a little Lysol and a little bleach and clean it up, but because there is no coverage, there’s not normally an attorney that’s going to take on their case for free, because they know they’re not going to get anything.

Another area that’s very important is what’s called egress. Egress means if there’s a fire and it’s chasing you through the hallway, how are you going to egress or leave that building? A lot of homes in Ohio have basements and people like to put bedrooms and finished rooms in the basement, which is a great use of the space except there’s some very specific rules of egress that say in order for there to be a sleeping space in the basement. There has to be a window of at least I think it’s 48 inches, but it can be no more than four feet off the ground and it has to be large enough for you to get out of it if there was a fire.

When you’re buying homes, you need to make sure that if they’re advertising a bedroom in a lower level, from a liability perspective that there is proper egress. Then that’s your window sizes. It’s the same thing, if they’re on a second floor there, they have to be large enough for someone to crawl out of, makes sense?

Video 5 Transcript

Speaker: Next thing I think is important is hiring– Yes, sir?

Participant 1: I was just curious, you didn’t mention asbestos under hazards, I was wondering why.

Speaker: I hate asbestos. Because I forgot. Let’s talk about it, because asbestos is in basically three areas in Ohio and probably in most areas. Back in the day, asbestos was used to seal the ductwork. Instead of duct tape, they used an asbestos tape. Today, the proper way to abate that is you can buy cans of spray that you can seal that asbestos and then cover it with the foil duct tape, not the sticky kind because they say that if it got pulled off, will also pull the asbestos. You encapsulate it so that it doesn’t become friable, don’t I sound like an expert?

Participants: Yes.

Speaker: You only have one of these incidents until you get very educated. The second place we find it is on roofs and siding. In our old historic neighborhoods, we have a lot of roofs that look suspiciously like clay tile or ceramic tile or slate, but in just about every one of them, there’s asbestos hiding, and they’re the square tiles. We know that because we took one off, and we found that the health department visited us and the state EPA visited us.

We learned a lot about asbestos that week. My husband actually has a misdemeanor charged against him, because we didn’t take off the roof properly. What the EPA says is that if you’re removing any of those friable items, they have to be wet, you have to be in an encapsulated suit, and there can be no more than the size of a pea on the ground. If you can imagine, when we took the roof off, there were 20 of us crawling through the grass on our hands and knees to not have an EPA event at the property. This was, again, quite a while ago. I learned my lessons painfully, and I don’t want you too. Yes, ma’am?

Participant 2: I bought a property that was rehabbed, and it is old, 1900s in the East Coast. I got the occupancy permit. I believe, with that, everything’s been approved or passed by the– Is that true?

Speaker: Well, being approved or passed doesn’t mean that it’s not there, because asbestos is only a problem if it breaks and becomes friable. It’s when it’s friable that you breathe it that it becomes damaging to you. Then you really don’t know for probably another 50 years. It depends on each community is going to have a guideline on whether that in a rehabbed house is okay. In our neighborhood, those roofs, that siding, our county doesn’t say that you can’t have it.
What they do say is if you’re going to remove it, you have to follow very strict protocols. If you have a house that has it, you just need to plan the removal of it when it becomes absolutely necessary. It is of no danger unless you’re breaking it.

Participant 2: I don’t know, that’s the thing.

Speaker: Do you know whether it has asbestos siding or roofing?

Participant 2: I don’t know, but I have–

Speaker: Your home inspection should answer that question for you. It should be in your home inspection, because they’re going to say— My tag that I get all the time is it’s also in the floor tiles. If you think about those old tiles that were in our schools, for those of you that are my age, we all had asbestos floor tiles. It’s the exact same thing. They’re not an issue unless they’re broken and become friable. We seal them with a heavy wax as long as they’re not peeling or moving, we don’t touch them because touching them is what makes them dangerous. Make sense? Sorry, thanks.

Video 6 Transcript

Property Manager: I hate asbestos. Your property manager, this is me, the property manager, is really your number one defense to saving your liability because they’re going to do the things that open you up to liability. They’re going to be the ones that are making the decisions typically, not you. The first area and one of the areas that is covered under your liability insurance is your tenant selection and not discriminating.

Second is your maintenance because maintenance, it’s huge. It’s everything, from the person that comes there making improper eye contact or comments to the 15-year-old daughter, to making sure that the furnace heat exchanger isn’t cracked. Community maintenance, which means how the outside of the property is prepared to meet the community standard that requires you to have an inspection. Discrimination, huge. That’s the number one way you’re actually sued by law. The worst part– Well, we’ll go into that in discrimination.

Divorce proceedings. When I first became a landlord, and a tenant didn’t pay me, I had a landlord tell me you can take off their doors. I was like, “Yes. Then they have to move, right?” That would be a bad divorce proceeding. They would have a better divorce lawyer than me. I’m absolutely positive. Then dealing with our contractors and employees is also a way to limit your liability.

Screening the tenant is your first test. When we screen a tenant, we start with a criminal background check and a civil background check. Now, in America, as smart as we are, every city has their own system, every county has their own system, every state has their own system. Unless you’re in prison and you get a DNA test, you’re not part of the giant database. In other words, the cities aren’t tied to the counties. The counties aren’t tied to the state. You can do a crime in Kentucky and it won’t show up on the Middletown site.

You have to understand how to do a proper background check. A criminal background is murder, theft, bodily injuries. A civil background check is to see if they pay their bills, they’re responsible, if they have judgments against them. We think that second part is very important because if they have a bad civil background, then they probably aren’t going to be a good civilized person in our property because they’re not going to pay us.

A credit check, current and previous landlords, incomes, and a couple of other things.

This is our sheriff, Richard Jones. He’s a giant fan of making people behave in our county. He works very hard at it. He’s the one that gives me the site that tells me whether or not someone has a more serious crime. The way criminal justice works, if you steal from the candy store, you go to the city court. If you rob someone’s house and beat them up in the process, you go to the county court system. Then if you murder someone, or you’re a sex offender, then you’d probably end up in the federal court systems, or more importantly tax evasion.

What we do when we do the background checks is, we do them, for the city, for the county, for the state, and then, if there’s someone from out of state, then we do what is called a Lexus Nexus search. Lexus Nexus is one of the most powerful databases in the United States. They know more than you really think they know about you. Lexus Nexus does the background searches. Then we look for sex offenders because you know what, they’re not a protected class. I discriminate against them. I don’t like them. I don’t want them in my properties. I don’t want them near my properties and I don’t rent to them.

If they’re a sex offender, with one exception, because when you are a sex offender, they have to disclose what happened. I did rent to one sex offender because he was 19, his girlfriend was 17. Girlfriend got pregnant, they got married, they have a baby. They actually lived in a little house in Trenton for about 15 years because it was very difficult for them to find a place to live because he was a registered sex offender because he had sex with his 17-year-old girlfriend.

After saying that, there are ways to bend the rules, but they’re our rules. They’re not your rules. I’m not going to call you and say, “Do you mind if I rent to a sex offender?” I’m not going to call you and say, “Do you mind if I have a drug dealer in your house?” because we don’t rent to drug dealers either, because of the laws that are attached to that.

Do you know, if you have knowledge, and this is what’s important, having knowledge is your best defense. If you have knowledge that there’s drug activity in your property and you don’t evict that person, the DEA can come in and take your house and sell it. You get to keep the mortgage. How do you think your property manager would defend you against that? Well, they’re going to be the only ones that really know, unless you got a letter in the mail. Your property management, see how they protect you and limit your liability? because they’re making those decisions for you.

Video 7 Transcript

Speaker: Credit checks, you’ll notice there’s nothing marked there. It’s because we don’t do that because if you have good credit when interest rates are 3%, don’t you think you would buy a house?

We do use credit checks because they’re beneficial. We have released a sign when we sign up our tenants and they do their application because when someone forgets to pay us Ohio is a very landlord friendly state. We’re allowed to garnish wages, we’re allowed to sweep their bank accounts and a credit check. When someone moves, they always then go rent the refrigerator at rent-a-center or their washer and dryer and they had a credit check which tells us where they work and where they live. Then we can serve them and we can take their money. That is our money, right? It’s a sport, it’s very fun.

Credit checks, we don’t find to be very beneficial today because people either have great credit or not. It’s really not a good indicator. It’s a good way to find people when you’re looking for them. That’s really not a good way to test whether they’re going to be a good tenant or not. Lots of people disagree with that. The other thing to know is there’s a whole list of rules that if you do credit checks that you have to follow as part of your checking of the tenant and letting them know you’re not running to them because they didn’t have an adequate income. That’s the second reason that we don’t do it because we don’t want to open ourselves up to that liability.

What else do we do? We get a photo of ID. I learned to do that when I saw my tenant Josh in the newspaper but his name wasn’t Josh in the newspaper. He had told me and given me his complete– I’ve learned hard lessons. This was about three years into my landlording career. Josh stop somebody in the back in a bad drug deal, glad it wasn’t at my apartment building. His name wasn’t Josh there. It was someone else and it was because he had filled out an application with his uncle’s name, social security, and date of birth, which I checked and his uncle had a really good background. Josh didn’t so much. Now we require a photo ID as part of our application process.

We call our application process the honeymoon period because, during the honeymoon period, they’re going to tell you everything you want. If you asked for a copy of our lease, I’ll send it to you but we ask 100 extra questions. Who’s your doctor? Who’s your next of kin? Who’s your emergency contact? Most of you think their emergency contact is if the house burns down. We find that if it’s mom or dad and they haven’t paid their rent that that’s an emergency and Tabby calls mom or dad and says, “Hey, we got an emergency here. Do you know your son’s going to be out on the street if he doesn’t pay his rent?”

Mom and Dad drag him in, get them to pay their rent. We also use that in the future if they forget to pay the rent and we’ve evicted them. We gather a lot of information during that beginning process just in case they fail. That’s what the honeymoon does, is you prepare for failure. Again, making sure that we get your money at the end of the day because that’s protecting your assets, that’s protecting your income. We talked to the current landlord, which you have to have lie-dar when you talked to the current landlord because sometimes they’re going to tell you the truth, sometimes they’re not.

If you’re the best tenant they’ve ever had, they might not want to lose them. They might not be honest or if they’re the worst tenant they’ve ever had, they might tell you that they’re the best tenant and lie to you get rid of them. We don’t use the current landlord as our best source. We use the previous two landlords that they’ve had to because they have nothing to lose. Tenant doesn’t live in their house. If they trashed it, they’re going to tell us, if they were excellent tenants, they’re going to tell us. That’s just some of the tricks that we use to make sure we get the right people in the property.

We asked them for copies of their pay stubs and we make them give us a series of pay stubs because we want them to show us they’ve been there more than two weeks and they didn’t get their bonus this week and that’s not their normal income. These are things when you think about [00:04:00] protecting your assets it’s also protecting your income.

Video 8 Transcript

Speaker: The biggest area for discrimination to happen is during the leasing process. The challenge of it for us is if we fail and are accused of this, most of the people that are accusing us of discrimination have free attorneys to represent them. We don’t, we have to defend ourselves which is why we’re so very careful to make sure that as your arm of the leasing agent, that we’re making sure that we don’t do anything wrong when it comes to protected classes.

Protected classes; race, color, sex, religion, creed, familiar status, disability. Disability was added recently. In Ohio, in March March 24th, it goes into effect. Military people are also a protected class. You cannot discriminate against them because they may be deployed. This is a changing dynamic for us that these are now protected people.

Then attorneys and paralegals. Are there paralegals here? We don’t rent to them because they’re not a protected class. Guess what? They get free legal advice and they get to be difficult. One of the worst evictions I have had, as long as I have lived was an attorney who was renting one of my nicer homes. We don’t rent to them because they’re not a protected class, because we don’t want the liability of them having free access to legal services that we don’t have because we have to pay for legal services.

Then finally, students who are not a protected class and then understanding what steering is. Do you know what steering is? Steering is saying, “Well, all of the people of this gender live in this neighborhood, all the people of this color live in this neighborhood, so you should probably go look at this house.” That would be steering them to a specific neighborhood.

What we do is we put everything on the internet and you get to pick where you want to go look at and we’re not steering you to any property. I have 150 properties in Butler County where all of our investment properties are. People ask me all the time, “Well, aren’t you going to reinsure houses first? No, because that would be steering, even though it may not be steering towards the discrimination, you want to eliminate any opportunity in any of your processes within your property management to steer someone in the wrong direction or steer them, period. It needs to be their choices.

Video 9 Transcript

Speaker 1: More about tenant selection. When we go through our process, Fair Housing tells us we have to rent to the first appropriate tenant. The first person that meets our qualifications, which means our qualifications are in writing. We time stamp every application, because 16 years, 750 properties we’ve had one person claim that we discriminated against them. They didn’t even get to legal aid, because everyone had either faxed or e-mailed their application in. We gave the property to the first person that applied that didn’t have an eviction and had the money to rent the property. They didn’t have a defense.

We also use a checklist- a paper checklist, believe it or not- to make sure we go through a very specific process so that we never miss a step and can then be accused of discriminating. Again, most of the people there have free attorneys, and attorneys, even in Ohio, are not cheap. It’s $75 an hour there. Can’t get one for that here. Then, making sure that you rent to that first qualified tenant.

Students are now a protected class. We do rent to them. You need to have a clear policy of what your student rentals are, your property manager does. We require the parents to cosign. Why do we do that? One, because they have to pay if the student doesn’t. Two, if they say no, gosh, if your mom and dad don’t trust you, why should we?

Think about it. You can decide whether you want your property manager to rent to students or not. Our second biggest area of liability is pets. Your property manager decides whether you’re going to have pets or not in your properties. These are my dogs, this is Thelma Lou that we lost last week and [00:02:00] Woodie and Maggie. They go to the office with us every day. It’s a criteria for people working at our office. If you say, “I don’t like dogs,” we say, “Well, you can’t work here.”

We can discriminate. When we’re looking at tenants, we know, because Affinity Management says we cannot rent to a tenant that has a vicious breed: dobermans, chows, rottweilers, german shepards-

Speaker 2: Pit bulls.

Speaker 1: -pit bulls. Those are all considered “vicious breeds.” They can rent to them if they carry a specific rider for a vicious dog and all of us are named as additional insured, but that insurance is about $65 a month. Most people, we don’t rent to them. We get a lot of people that offer to tell us that they have a mixed breed, and it looks a lot like a pit bull, so if they tell us they have a mixed breed, we always make them send us a picture of their dog. We want to make sure that what they’re telling us is true, because that is our biggest area of liability after discrimination.

They’re not a protected class, so you can discriminate against pets. We want to make sure we get an additional deposit or an additional monthly fee in case there are damages. If there is a pet, we do require renter’s insurance and us to be named as additional insured.

Then, finally, if you decide you don’t want pets, 62% of Americans have a pet; a cat or dog, so you’ve just wiped out 62% of the population that’s going to rent your property. We do rent to pets, but we try to make sure that we’re doing our due diligence in the background to make sure we’re renting to the right pets and people that will take care of their pets. If they don’t have a vet, they don’t get to move in. If they have six attorneys, they don’t get to move in.

Video 10 Transcript

Speaker: Do you see how your property manager is going to save you? They’re going to be in between you and the tenant and really protect you from those frivolous lawsuits because they’re going to be making the decisions for you. If you’ve had no contact, you’d have no information. Someone asked me yesterday if they got to participate in picking the tenants, I said, “No. You don’t get to pick at all. You have nothing to do with it. You don’t want anything to do with it because then you open up yourself for liability,” and we’re the professionals.” That’s what we do everyday. We’re right most of the time.

How else can property managers reduce your liability? We’re looking at things like, things that will cause property damage, because that’s a liability. It takes money out of your pocket. Twice a year, when the tenant first moves in, and then at their one year anniversary, we do a five point inspection that checks things to make sure things that are going to cost you a lot of money are not happening. Making sure the gutters are clean, the faucets aren’t leaking, the drains aren’t leaking, the smoke detectors are in place, and furnace filters are in place. We even take it a step further when a tenant moves into a property, we give them three furnace filters with each monthly date on it and we explain to them how to change the filter. It’s important that they change their filter, that’s one of the most expensive things to replace or repair in your property.

That’s how we protect your asset. Carbon monoxide detectors are also very important, those save lives along with smoke detectors.

Let’s talk about snow removal, because Ohio has snow. How many of you think we give the tenants snow shovels when it snows? Smart crowd. [chuckles] We don’t, because Ohio had a supreme court case that said, “If you have never touched the snow, cleaned it, offered salt, had it removed, then it would be an unfair assumption for the tenant to believe that you’re responsible for that, then you cannot be held liable.” We don’t clean sidewalks, we don’t provide salt, we never touch snow in Ohio because the law protects us. Now, that’s not the same in every other state, but it’s important to know what your local ordinances, rules, court cases that have occurred, so that you’re doing the right thing in the communities that have excessive snow, excessive rain, excessive heat.

If you’re having multi-families, you need to make sure that you’re taking care of the common areas. That goes back to making sure there’s adequate lighting so that there’s not trip and falls, so there’s not the bad guy hiding in the corner. You need to make sure that the common areas are kept clean, free of debris, and bugs.

We do that through annual inspections, we talked about dead bulbs and lighting. You really need to think about crime prevention because that’s another area of liability. Make sure that you have locks on your windows, deadbolts on your doors, adequate lighting, things that discourage criminals. We still build cages on over air conditioners because we found, since we started building cages around our air conditioners, we’ve had one stolen. We used to have two a week. You need to do all that you can to eliminate crime. Questions?

Video 11 Transcript

Speaker: All right, the divorce. This is the hard part but this is again another area where you can be held liable. In the state of Ohio when a tenant makes a security deposit to you, you have 30 days to account for their security deposit and return to them their balance.

If you don’t, the judge will award them two and a half times what their security deposit was. If I have $1000 security deposit for your tenant and I don’t return it within 30 days or send them an accounting of it which means your child drew pictures on the wall so we had to repaint the walls and that was $500, here’s the balance. If we don’t return their funds and an accounting then we can owe them $2500 and we’ll take that from your money of course, right.

You can see how your property manager is a barrier. Other things that happen in a divorce is if it’s not done properly. For example, if you haven’t served the notices to the occupants then the judge is going to set that rendering aside it and make you refile so your asset is going to be limited because you’re going to be losing rent, right? Retaliatory evictions that’s where you–I wanted to retaliate against a few tenants and chose not to because of that.

Retaliation is when the tenant calls you 17 times a day because there is a drip on the faucet, the snow just melted and we have basements flooded and they won’t quit calling. Tomorrow, you decide you hate that tenant and you want to evict them. You retaliating against them or the tenant that because you didn’t fix the dripping faucet, it’s not a disaster, that’s not a class 1 emergency, within 24 hours they call the Health Department to have your home inspected to make sure that nothing is wrong.

That’s the one I know we want to evict but you can’t because they’re going to go back and ask the question why and then again two and a half times what their security deposit is or more because then you’re retaliating against that person. You can have the same retaliation based on any of your discrimination in protected classes.

Then finally that habitability, if you remove the doors that property is not habitable. If you light off all the bulbs underneath their doors because you hate that tenant, that’s not habitable. You have to make sure that your- Yes, I never have done that. I thought about that before. I don’t like bugs so I can’t do that.

You have to make sure even through the eviction process that the property is habitable and your Property Manager is doing that because if not again we’re going to be liable first because they’re always going to go for the movie star that lives in California that’s rich.

Finally, even as simple as accepting late payments, if you have a policy that says you don’t accept late payments and you intermittently do it, then, you can be held liable and that tenant can assume that you’re going to accept their payment late because you’ve done it in the past and then you’re going to be another 30 days into your eviction. In Ohio an eviction is about 30 days.

Kathy Fettke
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