The appropriate answer will depend on the location of the property in the United States. Note that in a couple of states (such as California and New York), landlords possess limited rights when it comes to restricting daycare operations in their rentals.
Under California state law, for instance, landlords do not have the right to prevent tenants from using residential rental premises as licensed family daycares. As such, any clause within the lease or rental agreement restricting a family daycare is considered void.
Truth be told, a good number of landlords barely know much about home daycare. Most often, their worries are centered around liability and damage to their property.
Owing to that, when looking to start a home daycare on their property, it is recommended you help them feel more comfortable with the idea by explaining certain vital things. You can start by informing them that your daycare will be licensed by the state and follow strict regulations.
You can also let them know that you will be adequately protected by a special type of liability insurance for home daycares (it’s necessary you obtain one).
Landlords can also choose to charge a higher security deposit due to the higher risk that young children may damage the property.
Aside from sharing licensing information with the landlord, it is also recommended you share evidence of financial responsibility with the landlord to further convince them.
There are three known ways to buttress financial responsibility: obtain liability insurance; secure a bond of at least $300,000, or get signed affidavits from each child’s parents indicating that they are aware of the lack of liability insurance or bond.
Is There a Way Around It If Landlord Refuses?
Yes. There are ways around it and the ideal one will depend on your peculiar situation. However, you will have to understand that there are a whole lot of reasons and justifications why a landlord might be against a tenant using their property for home daycare.
As such, it is recommended you take your time to find out the reasons upfront by asking the landlord. Nevertheless, below are some of the reasons why a landlord can prove to be apprehensive about having a daycare in-home and how to respond to them;
Too many children
You will find that a good number of landlords barely understand the difference between a center and a family child care provider. In their mind, they envisage over 20 kids jumping around the hallways and entryways.
To soothe their worries, it is recommended you don’t state the maximum number of children permitted under your license especially if you intend to care for fewer children.
You might want to reach a valid agreement with the landlord on a maximum number of kids (other than your own) that could be in the apartment at one time.
In some instances, a provider who is catering to only a few children would have to be looked at like a large family. Landlords rent to large families all the time.
It is possible that the landlord is bothered about lawsuits against him/her as a result of more kids on the premises. However, if you possess business liability insurance, it’s quite easy to inculcate the landlord as an “additional insured” under the insurance policy. This will guarantee coverage for the landlord at little or no cost to you.
Kids are naturally known to be quite noisy and more kids in your rental might mean more noise during the day. If this is one of the concerns raised by the landlord, you could agree to certain common sense practices: requiring parents to keep the noise down when dropping off and picking up, closing windows, scheduling outside activities for times that are the least disruptive, etc.
You will have to contend with the issue of noise if there have been previous complaints from neighbors about this. As such, it is advisable you try to negotiate directly with the neighbor to try to iron out the issue.
If there haven’t been complaints, you might as well suggest that the landlord monitor this issue for the next six months and try to deal with any issue that becomes evident during that time.
What Does the Law Say and What Rights Do I Have?
In a few states in the United States, landlords have the legal right to forbid family childcare providers from doing business in their apartment complexes. Most often, such restrictions are premised in the lease which might restrict business use.
Those restrictions are primarily to guarantee that the property can be enjoyed as a residence. Although this can be considered reasonable, howbeit, a family child care home can be differentiated from other businesses.
Individuals who offer these services are using the apartment as a family would. There are no real noise or other issues associated with typical businesses.
There are more or less other home-based businesses already being done in the apartment complex, and as such they shouldn’t single out family child care.
Nevertheless, just as it was noted above, your landlord cannot stop you from providing licensed family child care for up to 6 children if you are licensed for a small family child care home or 12 children if you are licensed for a large family child care home.
Nevertheless, it is recommended you stay in line with all the rules in your lease. Your landlord still has the right to evict you for another reason, such as not paying your rent on time or damaging the property.
Ensure to save copies of any written communication—letters, notes, and notices—with the landlord or anyone else (such as a property manager, leasing agent, or real estate agent) regarding your rental property.
In addition, keep a written log that encompasses the date and description of all conversations you had with your landlord. If the landlord tries to evict you, you can;
- Contact the Child Care Law Center or Public Counsel (if you live in Los Angeles County) for help
- File a complaint with the relevant department in your State.
Just as it was noted above, the appropriate answer will depend on the location of the property in the United States. Nevertheless, if you don’t fully understand the regulations that cover tenants’ rights to have a daycare in rental properties in your state, it is recommended you reach out to your state’s Office of Consumer Protection.
Don’t forget to check your local building and zoning codes for restrictions on home-based child and daycare businesses. Aside from that, make sure to consult with an experienced insurance broker to find out the best insurance to ensure that you are adequately protected.