The rights and obligations of landlords and tenants are protected by state and federal statutes. Tenants and landlords alike should be well-versed in and abide by applicable local, state, and federal laws.
Tenants are concerned with their personal safety and the protection of their legal rights during their tenancy. Landlords are in the rental business because they want to make a profit and keep their investments safe. If you wish to satisfy their wants and needs, you’ll need to have a basic knowledge of landlord-tenant law.
If you’re a landlord or a renter, here’s a quick rundown of the key laws you need to know to protect yourself and your property.
Tenant Protections Under State Laws
The state government has enacted laws that are both reasonable and effective in terms of rental properties. Most leases include provisions outlining the responsibilities of both the landlord and tenant, as well as ending the lease and evicting a tenant.
Security deposits may also be governed by state legislation. Landlords’ ability to collect and manage security deposits may be subject to such regulations. Landlords may also be required by state law to deposit rental money into a trust account.
Federal Laws on Operating a Rental Property
Two federal statutes, the Fair Housing Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, outline requirements for property managers and owners to follow.
A landlord cannot discriminate against a tenant on the basis of their nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, or handicap under the Fair Housing Act. It forbids landlords from discriminating against potential tenants on the basis of these categories. The law also prohibits the use of selective marketing strategies.
To what extent a landlord can look into an applicant’s credit history is spelt out in detail by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. To comply with the rule, landlords must obtain written permission from tenants before pulling credit reports and must disclose to tenants whether or not information found in the credit report had a role in the decision to deny the application.
Landlords have the responsibility of supplying their tenants with a legitimate lease. The terms of the agreement between the parties are laid out in detail here in a legally binding document. The lease agreement must include all pertinent details, including the lease term, rental rate, and tenant contact info.
A security deposit, for example, may be considered a public record in some states. The lease may also include provisions recommending the renter obtain insurance.
Tenant Rights to Privacy
All people have the right to personal privacy. When occupying someone else’s property, tenants have the right to peace and quiet, including protection from the landlord.
Tenants have the right to privacy, and the landlord should uphold that. Except in cases of emergency, tenants have the right to seek advance notice before landlords enter their rented properties. Similarly, the landlord or property manager should have cause to enter the rented space. And, of course, it needs to be completed in a timely fashion.
Landlords have a responsibility to their renters to ensure that the rental property is safe and habitable, in addition to respecting their privacy. Insects and other pests have no business being inside the rented property. Even if an infestation arises after a tenant has moved in, it is the landlord’s responsibility to eradicate it.
Thieves might be deterred from the property by installing security measures like locks and surveillance cameras. Both landlords and tenants benefit from having working smoke alarms and security systems on the premises. Finally, landlords should think about making the rental home kid-friendly by installing safety features.
Upkeep and Adjustments
Tenants are typically required by their lease agreement to notify the landlord of any maintenance issues that arise. If a landlord receives a maintenance request, they should reply quickly and complete the task as soon as possible.
Property management software can help landlords expedite the reporting and tracking of maintenance and repairs. This will make it easier for both of you to carry out your respective roles in terms of upkeep and repair.
The tenant has the right to withhold rent payments and pursue legal action if the landlord fails to respond to any maintenance report that negatively affects the tenant’s health and safety.
Eviction Laws and Procedures
The process of evicting tenants from a rental property needs to adhere to all applicable laws and regulations. To protect tenants’ rights, states establish regulations for the eviction process.
A termination notice is required before a landlord can evict a tenant. More than that, the eviction needs to make sense. Both rental default and property destruction are acceptable grounds for eviction.
The rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords under the law are of equal importance. A property management company should be familiar with the rules and regulations that govern the landlord-tenant relationship to ensure that any dealings between the two parties are above board and don’t infringe on anyone’s rights. It is imperative that landlords and tenants always follow the law.