Property management law is an area of real estate law that covers the statutes, common law, and ethics that relate to owners of rental properties and persons who manage properties for others. Property managers operate rental properties of all kinds, including commercial and residential properties. Individuals can refer to these laws to determine the rights and responsibilities of landlords and property managers. The laws vary according to the jurisdiction, but their purpose is often to protect tenants and property owners who hire property managers. Some of the areas of property management law are housing discrimination, eviction, and maintenance and repairs.
A common issue that arises for property managers is the eviction of tenants, and regional laws specify how property managers can legally evict a tenant. If they do not comply with those laws, then they can be liable to both the tenants and the property owner. For example, a tenant may sue an owner and property manager as co-defendants in a lawsuit for wrongful eviction. The landlord may be able to sue the property manager in the same suit and win if the property manager violated laws in the process of trying to get the tenant off the premises. Eviction laws are applicable to landlords and property managers, but property management laws may also impose additional responsibilities and ethics requirements.
Landlords often hire property managers because they don’t want to deal with repairs and maintenance requests made by tenants. Property management law often ensures residential tenant rights to living in habitable premises. Property managers, acting on behalf of the owners, are required by law to make the repairs necessary and in a timely manner so that the tenant can live in suitable conditions. For example, the property manager is responsible by law to make repairs if a heating system malfunctions or to provide an alternative residential unit until the repairs can be made if it occurs during cold weather. Living without heat when it’s cold is often considered an uninhabitable condition that the property manager has to address by law.
National laws can also govern the relationship between property managers and tenants. For example, the United States laws that require notification to tenants of lead paint disclosures are federal laws. Although it’s not specifically addressed in the regional property management law, a property manager is subject to it and will be liable for violating a federal law that governs landlord-tenant rights.