Who is a landlord?
A landlord is the owner of real estate, such as a rental house
or apartment building, that is leased or rented (for a fee) to another person,
called the tenant or
renter. A landlord can be an individual or a corporate entity that owns real
estate. Women real estate owners are often called landladies. The terms lessor
and lessee are sometimes used to refer to landlords and tenants, typically in
the context of signing a lease
or rental agreement.
A landlord may also be the property
manager and handle tenant
selection, repairs, rent collection, terminations, and other management
tasks. Many landlords, especially those with multi-unit rental buildings, hire
a property manager to handle day-to-day details. A property manager (whether
the landlord or someone else) may live in (be a resident
manager) or live out of the rental building. Some states require an on-site
property manager for rental buildings of a certain size (16 or more units in
Rather than do the work themselves or employ an individual
manager, landlords may hire a property
management firm to handle all or some management tasks.
To learn more about tax deductions landlords qualify for, see Top Ten Tax Deductions for Landlords.
Legal responsibility for complying with federal, state, and
local landlord-tenant laws, such as providing habitable
rental housing, lies with the landlord or property owner. The landlord has
final legal responsibility for following the law, even though a property manager
may be involved in handling legally-regulated tasks, such as returning
security deposits, complying with federal
antidiscrimination laws, entering
rental property, and terminating
a tenancy. Landlords are liable for property
manager’s illegal acts, such as sexually harassing a tenant.
legal mistakes, such as ignoring dangerous conditions in the rental
property that lead to tenant
injuries, can result in costly legal problems, and even jeopardize the
a comprehensive 50-state guide to the legal, financial, and day-to-day issues
affecting landlords, see Nolo’s book Every Landlord’s Legal Guide (or The California Landlord’s Law Book: Rights
and Responsibilities, if you own rental property in California).
by: Marcia Stewart