Latest Posts

Cases When a Landlord Can Refuse to Return a Security Deposit

A security deposit is a certain amount of money that is paid by a lessee (or a tenant) to his landlord when he moves into the leased premises like an apartment, a condominium unit, room, or commercial space. It is called a security because the landlord can use this money if in case the lessee damages the leased premises. The amount of the security deposit is usually equivalent to a month’s rent unless another amount is specified.

THE GENERAL RULE
In lease contracts, the general rule is that a landlord cannot refuse to return the security deposit paid by the lessee. This is because the money is only for purposes of security. The landlord does not, in any way, own the money. He cannot place it in his account and he must give a receipt for receiving the security deposit.

EXCEPTION
However, as an exception, the landlord can refuse to return the security paid by the lessee. This is just proper because when damage is made to the leased premises, the landlord is not expected to use his money to repair such damaged which he did not cause.

rentals

CASES WHEN REFUSAL IS PROPER
When can a landlord refuse to return a security deposit? There are cases when such refusal is proper:
1. When the leased premises is damaged
A damaged leased premise is one of the cases when a landlord can refuse to return a security deposit. He has the right to keep the security deposit because he can do the repairs and pay for the same using the money. In effect, the landlord made the repairs at the expense of the lessee.

Some of the items that the landlord can deduct from the security deposit charges for unpaid taxes for which the lessee is responsible, and amounts used to make necessary repairs.

2. When the lessee owes rent
Another case when a landlord can refuse to return a security deposit is when the lessee has unpaid rents. Like the abovementioned situation, the landlord can use the money to pay the unpaid rents. However, the landlord cannot get what is left after deducting the unpaid rents.

3. When the lessee has not paid bills for utility expenses
One of the most common cases, when a landlord can refuse to return a security deposit, is when the lessee did not pay his utility bills. The landlord can use the security deposit to pay for the same. However, if the security deposit is not enough to pay for all the expenses, the landlord can ask the lessee to shoulder the remaining balance.

4. When the lessee has violated the lease contract
The landlord can also refuse to return the security deposit when the lessee has violated the lease contract. However, this can be done only when the contract provides it, and the same should only be for a short period of time.

CONCLUSION
When can a landlord refuse to return a security deposit? Generally, he can do so when the lessee has unpaid obligations. Both the landlord and the lessee must know these cases to avoid litigation.

Things You Need to Know about Workplace Pregnancy Harassment

Although most US-based companies have become more family-friendly in the last decades, there are still cases of discrimination in the workplace, especially for pregnant women. Discrimination against pregnant women has been illegal since the passing of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in the year 1978. However, there are still some employers who do not understand the essence of the law as some of them still consider pregnant women unproductive since they are not able to perform their duties just like before they got pregnant.

Pregnancy discrimination usually refers to the undesirable treatment of a woman in a workplace regardless if they are an applicant or an existing employee because of pregnancy, childbirth or any related medical condition. Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, it is unlawful to discriminate pregnant women and limit their career and promotion opportunities such as assignments, promotions, fringe benefits and any other term or condition of employment. Firing, laying off or the deprivation of salary due to a woman’s pregnancy is also against the PDA.

Pregnancy Discrimination and Temporary Disability

The employer needs to treat pregnant women the same way they treat other temporarily disabled employees. For example, pregnant employees need to be provided with a lighter workload or alternative assignments if possible. They are also entitled to disability leave, or unpaid leave if the same is also provided to other temporarily disabled employees.

The American with Disabilities or ADA considers impairments resulting from pregnancy as disabilities. Some of the good examples of pregnancy-related impairments include gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, a pregnancy-related medical condition where proteins can be found in the urine and is usually characterized by pregnancy-induced hypertension. The ADA Amendment Acts of 2008 makes it easier for the pregnant employee and the employer alike to determine which medical condition is considered a covered disability. The ADA website has all the information that both parties may need.

Workplace Discrimination and Harassment

Workplace pregnancy harassment is considered unlawful. Harassing a female employee because of pregnancy, childbirth or any pregnancy-related medical condition defies the law of moral ethics and rule of law. Workplace pregnancy harassment becomes illegal when it becomes too frequent that it creates a hostile working environment or when it results in an undesirable employment decision.

An employer cannot refuse to hire an applicant just because she is pregnant or shows any pregnancy-related conditions, given that she can fulfill her major functions and duties. The same can also be said when the employer, customers or co-workers have their prejudices against pregnant workers. Therefore, it is unethical for an employer to ask an applicant if she is pregnant or is planning to have children in the future. Legally speaking, an employer cannot base his hiring decisions upon the person’s pregnancy.

An employer also cannot force a pregnant employee to take a leave, as long as she can fulfill her duties at work. If the pregnant worker has been absent from work and recovered, the employer cannot compel her to remain on leave until the baby’s birth. The employer also cannot forcefully prevent her from returning to work for a specified length of time after giving birth.

The employer cannot also alter the pregnant worker’s job duties, as long as she is still capable of doing the job. The same can also be said if the pregnant worker voluntarily requests for some changes on her workload, the employer needs to address the request and grant it if proven reasonable. The employer cannot also move her to another position just because of the mere reason that she is pregnant.

Provisions for Pregnancy, Maternity and Parental Leave

Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, pregnant women are also entitled to pregnancy leave. An employee’s ability to work cannot be determined by pregnancy-related conditions. However, if the employer will require a pregnant employee to submit a doctor’s statement about her pregnancy before granting leave or paying the sick benefits, the employer has the right to do so and the pregnant employee needs to comply.
Additionally, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 states that a new parent may be eligible to acquire 12 weeks of paid or unpaid leave to take care of her new child. In order for the pregnant employee to be eligible, she must have worked for the employer or company for at least 12 months prior to the request to take a leave and the employer needs to have a specified number of employees. You can check with your employer and the Department of Labor for more information.

Laws that Govern Property Management Companies

Property management companies are institutions that specialize in managing different kinds of properties owned by individuals and other companies. They are primarily responsible in the administration, preservation, and protection of residential, commercial, and industrial real estate properties. In doing these activities, property management companies act as an agent of the real property owner, and as compensation for the services they perform, the owners pay them a certain fee or a percentage of the rent charged.

Doing property management activities is relatively easy; starting a property management company is not. Because real property involves the interest of the public, many countries have enacted different regulations and laws that govern property management companies. This article will provide the reader with information on some of the prominent laws that govern property management companies.

QUALITY HOUSING AND WORK RESPONSIBILITY ACT OF 1998
The Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998 was enacted to pursue public housing reform. It is particularly applicable to property management companies handling government projects on housing. The law seeks to reduce poverty concentration in housing by raising standards of performance to serve the needs of the public. The law also seeks to improve public housing by authorizing agencies to provide for new policies and procedures for location, demolition, clearance, and replacement of old houses.

real estate

REAL ESTATE MANAGEMENT CODE OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS
The Real Estate Management Code of Professional Ethics seeks to provide for measures, rules, and policies that must be followed by property management companies. It imposes to a property management company the responsibility to protect the public against deceit, misrepresentation, force, and fraud in property management. It requires the company to comply with all laws and local rules and regulations governing real estate law, insurance, banking, licensing, and operations.

COMPETITION IN CONTRACTING ACT OF 1984
The Competition in Contracting Act seeks to reduce costs of operations while encouraging a healthy competition between different property management companies. It operates under the theory that costs are lowered when more property management companies are in the playing field because the control in prices is not placed at the discretion of a single entity. The presence of competition allows prices to go down not only because there are many players but also because these companies wants to get as many clients as it can.

DISCRIMINATION IN THE SALE OR RENTAL OF REAL PROPERTY
The United States Code also provides for laws preventing discrimination in selling or renting real property. This law says that it is unlawful for a property management company to refuse to sell or rent real property to another person because of color, sex, religion, and race. The law also makes it unlawful for a company to discriminate against any person in the terms and conditions of the sale or rental of real property.

CONCLUSION
Laws that govern property management companies serve as measures to protect the interests of the public when dealing with them. Some are simply imposing responsibilities while others provide for penalties in case of violation. Nevertheless, they never fail in assuring that dealing with property management companies will not be tainted with fraudulent practices.