Landlord and Tenant Laws
Understanding landlord tenant laws is a good start for those going into urban or suburban real estate, since a majority of property deals made in such settings every year are tenancy agreements. However, this information can also abundantly be useful if you are letting or renting a property. In fact, in this case, the information you find on this page and in our associated webinars and online courses could help you sign a deal that benefits you a lot.
Additionally, this information can be very useful in your behaving responsibly as an informed landlord or tenant who understands the other party’s rights as well as her/his own. So, let’s talk a bit about both these sets of rights and how the information can help create an atmosphere of landlord tenant compliance to the law.
When it comes to understanding landlord tenant laws, it is imperative that you understand the rights of both parties. Beginning with tenant rights, we would like to highlight just how important and complex this information can be. As a tenant, whether you are entering a tenancy agreement for an apartment or a house, having this information can help you secure a deal where your rights or benefits are not neglected. Consider the following basic rights that are part of virtually all of the United States’ landlord tenant laws.
- HABITABLE PREMISES: You might want to sacrifice on luxuries to save money when you are renting a new home, but the laws all over the country require the place to be adequately habitable. That is to say the premises should be constructed safely and contains all the utilities conveniently available.
- ADEQUATE PRIVACY: As a tenant, it is the landlord’s responsibility to protect your rights to privacy. The place may be in their legal ownership, but they cannot come and go as they please; they need your permission for that. Other basic privacy rights are also to be observed or the landlord can be legally charged.
- SECURITY DEPOSITS: A security deposit is often a month’s rent that the tenant pays to the landlord at the time of signing the lease. The landlord returns the amount once the lease ends. As a tenant, you should know the deposit limits your state’s landlord tenant laws have set so you do not end up paying more than you have to.
- INDISCRIMINATION: Landlords are prohibited from showing any kind of discrimination to tenants on the basis of religion, race, ethnicity, gender, disability, nationality, or family status. This right is granted to you by the federal Fair Housing Act. Any landlord discriminating on these bases can be reported to the authorities.
The other side of the picture allows you to study landlord rights so you may know all the basics of landlord tenant laws. As a landlord, knowing your rights allows you to protect them and, as a tenant, you can use this information to make sure you never overstep the other party’s rights. State laws usually govern the definitions of rights for tenants and landlords and, since the landlord is the party taking a much greater risk in the lease, the state fairly ensures their rights are comprehensively protected.
The following information will help you understand the basic landlord rights:
- LEASE TERMINATION & EVICTION: As a landlord, you may see the need to terminate the lease if your tenant is causing a lot of trouble and not keeping to the bargain (E.g., withholding rent without just cause). In such cases, you have the right to terminate the lease for cause and ask the tenant to evict your property.
- SECURITY DEPOSIT: You have the right to demand a security deposit according to the limitations set by your state law. It is best that this money changes hands at the time of signing the lease.
- REJECTING TENANTS: The landlord tenant laws allow you to reject tenancy applicants based on acceptable reasons, such as poor credit history, inability to prove sufficient income to pay the rent, or a bad reference.
Ensuring Landlord Tenant Compliance
The important thing is to ensure landlord tenant compliance and, like any venture that has two parties, both of them have to play their part in this regard. The exercise itself is quite simple when you think about it: as long as both parties pay the other’s rights and be timely in rendering their share of the bargain, no complications may arise.
However, that is the ideal situation and disputes arise a lot in truth. Therefore, you can expect your state to intervene if compliance is required upon complaint of either of the parties in the lease by means of the court of law.