Landlord Basics: Discussing Lease Issues

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(This post is part of our “Landlord Basics” series, which seeks to help the new landlord / investor understand some of the basics of tenant relations and property management. Click here to view the entire Landlord Basics archive.)

A lease is a legally binding contract between a tenant and a landlord.  As such, you should limit your discussions of issues in the lease and rental property to those on the lease.  It may not seem like a big deal, but you could become legally liable for any third party disclosure.

Some people need information regarding the lease or tenancy, including lawyers,  Section 8 agencies, Department of Social Services, or other rental assistance agencies.  If this is the case, you should have the tenant sign a written release specifically stating who can have access to their information, what information they can have, and when the release expires.  Once signed, you can turn over the information requested as long as the release is still valid.

You should not discuss issues of tenancy with parents or friends of the tenant!  This may seem pretty simple, but you may get a call from a concerned parent of a college student, or a friend who wants to be involved in everything.  The best line you can ever learn is, “I’m sorry, but I can only discuss matters regarding a tenancy with the tenants.”  Once exception to the rule may be a parent who has cosigned on a student’s lease.  It is up to you and your lawyer how much information, if any, you want to share in this instance.

Dealing with tenant issues can be tricky at times, but by thinking before you speak and taking the time to cover all your bases, you will be doing yourself and your tenants a great service.

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2 comments to Landlord Basics: Discussing Lease Issues

  • Kate  says:

    I shall compile all of these posts and begin subletting our shed. :)

  • Drew  says:

    I have a sublet lease you can use. 😛

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