It’s not unusual for states to pass laws that are unique to them. This is especially true when it comes to landlord and tenant laws.
Sometimes, state laws for landlords seem to create more problems than they solve. Other laws are not nearly as efficient or effective as they should be.
When asked to share some of the unusual, frustrating or crazy state laws for landlords, members of RentPrep’s private Facebook Group expressed their thoughts.
Crazy State Laws for Landlords Regarding Rent
In California, landlords cannot require tenants to pay the rent in cash. Instead, they must accept other payment options. The exception is that if a tenant has bounced a check, the law lets landlords require cash only rent payments for three months.
Many states, like Ohio and Massachusetts, require landlords to keep the security deposit in a separate interest-bearing account at 5% interest. Landlords must pay the interest to the tenant annually, even if it is just a few dollars.
Lots of states have strict laws about how much security deposit landlords may collect. It is usually capped at one or two month’s rent. However, landlords can collect additional deposits for certain items, like pets or waterbeds.
In rent-controlled units of San Francisco, if an apartment features a fine view that was advertised as a perk of living there, and new construction blocks that view, the tenant can apply to have their rent reduced.
Crazy State Laws for Landlords Regarding the Rental Property
Unlike most other states, the law in Arkansas favors landlords when it comes to abandoned property. They can take possession of any abandoned property left in a rental and do what they want with it. Arkansas landlords do not need to notify the tenant at all.
Arkansas is also the only state in the country that does not have an implied warranty of habitability. This means landlords are rarely liable for repairs or upkeep of a property.
In Michigan, the law states that no more than four unrelated adults can live in a rental unit. In New York, no more than three unrelated adults can live together in a rental property.
In Oregon and Maryland, once a person sets up residence in a property (abandoned or otherwise) the state recognizes them as being an official tenant. This is true even if they haven’t signed a lease. Eviction is the only way to get them out.
In Seattle, landlords must obey the first come first served law and approve the first qualified applicant that applies.
RentPrep’s Take On Crazy State Laws for Landlords
The landlords we associate with were mostly frustrated with laws that seemed unusually strict when compared to other states. It seems that most states over-regulate in many areas when it comes to landlords and rentals. Still, other states have a very hands-off approach to rental properties, with few restrictions.
State laws can appear reasonable until they are compared to other states. This can prompt landlords to wonder why their state chose to make that law the way it is.
What Are Other Landlords Saying About Crazy State Laws for Landlords
Every landlord needs to learn their state laws regarding rental properties. It’s only then that they should look across state borders to compare and contrast with how landlords in other states manage.
Here’s a screenshot of landlords discussing this question in our private Facebook group for Landlords.
You can see even more comments on that post by checking it out in the group.