Landlord and tenant laws cover all aspects of renting residential and commercial property. Every state has its own laws that cover many aspects of the landlord and tenant relationship, including details like the lease agreement, security deposits, repairs, and the landlord’s right to access the rental property.
Knowledge of local landlord and tenant laws is crucial for both landlords and tenants since both parties have certain rights that they may be entitled to.
A landlord is the owner of the residential or commercial property that is being rented out. A landlord can be an individual or a corporate entity that owns the real estate. The agreement that includes the terms of the lease is called the lease agreement. The lease agreement is basically a contract that can be enforced in the court of law in case there is any type of issue involving the rental property between the tenant and the landlord.
To avoid legal pitfalls as a landlord, you should implement the following tips:
A landlord cannot evict a tenant from the property by himself or herself and have to legally terminate the tenancy by either terminating the lease with giving proper notice or filing an eviction lawsuit or an unlawful detainer suit. The landlord can evict the tenant with cause such as a rental agreement violation or without cause by giving property timely notice.
Just cause evictions allow the landlords to evict tenants only for a certain reason such as a violation of rental agreement or lease. There are three notices that the landlord can give to terminate the lease and evict the tenant with cause:
Landlords can also terminate the lease and ask the tenant to vacate or move out of the premises without cause. The landlord must give a proper lease termination notice in this situation. Landlords must usually use a 30-day or a 60-day Notice to Vacate the premises to end a rental agreement that is month to month. Some states do not allow the landlord to terminate the lease without cause.
If the landlord is successful in an unlawful detainer suit and the court allows them to get a judgment for possession of the property for a rental agreement violation or unpaid rent, the landlord cannot just move the tenant and throw the tenant’s property out. The landlord will be liable for trying to remove the tenants themselves and must use a sheriff to do so.
Tenants who rent out residential or commercial property from a landlord or property owner have certain rights even during the application process. A tenant should be aware that it is illegal for a landlord to refuse your rental application for discriminatory reasons. The federal anti-discrimination law prohibits discrimination on the basis of:
All tenants that have leased or rented a residential property have the right to have a habitable home or a home that is livable. This means that the apartment or home that the tenant is staying in must be fit to be lived in. The following conditions make a home or apartment uninhabitable which gives the tenant a right to request the landlord to repair and if the landlord fails to repair the tenant may terminate the lease and move out without being liable for rent or refuse to pay rent until the condition is repaired:
The home has a unsafe condition such as exposed electrical wires, holes in the floor, open ceiling, bad wiring, flood
The landlord cannot require a security deposit that exceeds the limit that is set by the state law. A landlord must also treat every tenant equally in security deposit requirements and cannot charge one tenant more than others. In many states, a landlord must return the security deposit to the tenant at the end of the lease term or within a reasonable time usually 30-days after the tenant moves out. The landlord can also only keep or deduct from the security deposit to repair damages beyond mere wear and tear, restore premises to condition before the lease, and unpaid rent.
The tenant has the right to privacy even against the landlord who owns the premises. The landlord cannot enter or come in the tenant’s premises without prior permission or notice unless there is an emergency and entering in the property is necessary to protect the tenant or the property. The landlord must also give advance notice before coming onto the premises when the landlord wants to make any repairs or to show the property to a potential tenant. Every state has their own time period that the landlords must give notice.
There are several ways that a tenant can protect their rights and reduce their liability:
Any landlord who illegally and informally evicts a tenant may face legal action. Some of the most common acts by landlords that is considered wrongful evictions:
Most of the time it will not be necessary to have a lawyer, but if you have a big problem or would like to learn more about what rights you have as a tenant, an experienced real estate lawyer can help. Landlord-tenant law varies greatly from state to state (and is always changing. A lawyer with experience in real-estate law can inform you of your rights and provide advice on how to deal with a landlord.
Last Modified: 07-03-2018 11:51 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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