Landlord as “Lord of the Land”

17 May

Metro®Boston, Publication Date: May 16, 2012
By Attorney George Warshaw

Last week I explored a few basic mistakes that landlords tend to make. There is one more worth mentioning. It has to do with attitude and the approach to managing one’s real estate.

Some landlords take the word “landlord” literally to mean “lord of the land.” They act as if that they are doing the tenant a favor by renting the apartment to the tenant.

It’s easy to forget that the landlord-tenant relationship is a contractual relationship. The landlord contracts to deliver and maintain a code compliant apartment and the tenant agrees to pay the rent and act in a responsible manner.

Compliance with housing laws is not optional – and its failure heavily penalized. It’s also good business.

With rents again at high levels, landlords have the cash flow to upgrade their apartments, and upgraded apartments often result in higher desirability and higher rents.

The law presumes that whatever rent the landlord charges is for full sanitary code compliance. You can’t knock something off the rent because there are holes in the walls or drafty windows. It doesn’t work that way.

So my suggestion for landlords is simple, treat your tenant like a valued business customer. You’ll both be happier in the end.

© 2012 George Warshaw.

George Warshaw is a real estate attorney and author. He represents buyers and sellers of homes and condos in Massachusetts, and prepares wills, trusts, and estate plans. George welcomes new clients and questions at metro@warshawlaw.com.

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Legal Advice: Laws, and court decisions interpreting them, change frequently and this article is not updated as laws change. The content and information contained in this article is neither intended as legal advice nor shall establish an attorney-client relationship.

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