Landlords should comply with the US Fair Housing Act.
This act from 1968 protects many classes from discrimination in finding housing.
However, because you are entering a credit relationship when you are leasing a property from a landlord, landlords may screen based on credit and income level. Criminal history may also be used as a screening factor. History of eviction, or utility non-payments may give landlords have some latitude when these items appear on an applicant’s credit/history – they then have the option to take a chance, or move on. Your credit is very important – take good care of it. If it’s not the greatest and you want to work on making it better, many lenders will offer you help on which items to focus on to get that score up.
In PA tenants & landlords are governed by:
- Landlord/tenants are guided by the PA Landlord-Tenant Act of 1951.
- There are also local ordinances that govern rental units – here are those for Easton. When there is a lease conflict or a stalemate, enforcement of these civil laws are brought to the local magistrate court.
Am I ready to be a landlord?
Easton landlords should have a business permit from the municipality where the building is located. Here’s the business permit for the City of Easton. The City of Easton is now offering a Landlord Training seminar (1 day, free), in partnership with the Easton Police and the Easton rental taskforce, with a goal of providing safer neighborhoods and improving quality of life.
Landlords: it’s a good idea to attend one – and did I mention: it’s FREE.
Here are some of the City of Easton’s landlord/tenant resources. Easton rental units are periodically inspected by the local code office, to ensure that rental units are safe and habitable. Owners/landlords that live beyond a 60-mile radius should have a local property manager for their investment property. Local Real Estate Brokers and property managers can help with your tenant search and property management.
Phillipsburg NJ has a program to help with home-ownership: PHNDC. There are more Phillipsburg resources here. Also: Bethlehem PA and Allentown PA Property Resources are here.
Being a Landlord requires not only a financial investment – but also one of time – you will need to show the units and pre-screen tenants, maintain the property, know your neighborhood. If you do not have the time, admit that to yourself and hire a local professional to help. You could enlist a professional Realtor or property manager. The PAR Realtors’ lease has been poured over by Attorneys year after year, and is reviewed regularly – as case laws develop, these findings are integrated in order to keep it as fair as possible for both sides. Your lease is a legal document. A local civil attorney is another good resource, as far as leases go.
When you are ready to look for investment properties we at FBR are happy to help!
NJ: here is an excellent state website, that covers NJ Landlord/Tenant Resources.
- PA Court Dockets search portal.
- NJ Court Dockets search portal.
- If the property was built before 1978, Landlords should provide tenant with any records of it – or at the very least, provide tenants with this government booklet, that explains the Hazards of Lead-based paint.
- Here is an interesting USA federal civil rights timeline.
- PA Civil Rights resource.
- Realtor.org Fair Housing news
- A handy landlord-tenant pamphlet is available to you, at our local state representative’s office.
Housing Authority: finds residences for limited-income households. These government agencies are governed by HUD, in order to help limited income households find clean, safe, affordable housing. Contact your local county office for these options.