The Landlord Code of Ethics
If you’re a member of a landlord or agent association, you’re probably familiar with a code of ethics that your organization abides by. As a landlord, you’re not only responsible to provide habitable housing, but you’re also responsible to your tenants and the community. By acting ethically, you agree to follow the law, act with good character, and serve your residents with integrity. When you’re managing a property that functions as someone else’s home, a code of ethics is all the more important to build a trusting relationship with your tenants.
You don’t need to be a part of an association to have a code of ethics – form your own. Display your commitment to your residents and the community in the form of a mission statement on your website. Here are some basic landlord ethics to get you started:
Have a high ethical standard of conduct.
As a property manager or landlord, you should commit yourself to high-quality customer service no matter who you’re dealing with. Strive to build a good business relationship with your residents, maintenance crews, employees, and prospective tenants. Be courteous, listen to your tenants and staff, and work with them to solve any issues they might have. As a landlord, you’re representing both your business and your industry.
Be ethical when you screen tenants.
By law, you need to abide by Fair Housing and Discrimination Laws when you select and screen potential residents. Act ethically in your screening process by looking at all rental application materials fairly. Every qualified individual should be able to an equal opportunity to live your property no matter their gender, race, religion, disability, or familial status. Set clear tenant qualification guidelines, and let your prospective tenants know how your screening process works and what information you look at to make your decision.
Be ethical in making repairs.
Cutting corners to save time or a few bucks when it comes to repairs isn’t always worth it. By fixing something yourself, hiring an unlicensed repairman, or making a temporary incorrect fix, you may expose yourself to the legal liabilities if something goes wrong. Be thorough in all inspections and repair work. By making sure the repair is done right and up to code the first time, you’ll save yourself the money and time of doing it again later. Your landlord code of ethics should be committed to providing and maintaining a safe, up-to-code property renters call home.
Commit yourself to do your best, every day.
A low-vacancy rental unit with satisfied tenants doesn’t happen overnight. It’s the result of great customer service and long-term commitment to excellence on your part. To achieve a profitable business with happy customers, you need to put in the effort and hard work in the day-to-day tasks.