Essential Landlord-Tenant Laws You Should Know

Real Estate

The rental process can be a nasty affair, which is why landlord-tenant laws exist to protect the interests of both parties.

Knowing these laws is crucial but finding the specific and relevant information about key laws is quite difficult.

But don’t worry.

Here is a brief overview to help you get started:

Essential Landlord-Tenant Laws

Federal landlord-tenant laws are applicable across all states, while state laws are more specific.

Here are some of the main areas covered by these laws:

Discrimination Laws

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, etc., during the screening or advertisement process for a rental property.

Lease Documents

Landlords must ensure that the rental contract is legally written and conforms to all laws. Sometimes lease agreements may include illegal provisions, in which case you have the right to review and negotiate the lease agreement.

Required Disclosures

Certain state laws require the landlord to inform tenants of their policies or facts about the rental place in writing before the tenant moves in, such as information regarding lead paint, mold, flooding liability, smoking policy, etc.

Safe Living Environment

The rental unit must be fit for human occupancy, e.g., it should be structurally sound, have a proper supply of electricity, plumbing, heating, and be free of insects and pests.

Repairs And Maintenance

Both parties have a responsibility to ensure proper maintenance of the rental property. The tenants are responsible for cleaning and waste disposal and reporting any repairs to the landlord. The landlord must promptly address the repairs.

Security Deposits 

Tenants pay a security deposit to cover potential damages or default rent payments. In some states, landlords must provide an itemized invoice of deductions from the security deposit.

Right To Privacy

Tenants have the right to enjoy their rental property. Landlords cannot enter tenants’ units without prior notice and must only do so at a reasonable time and for a valid reason.

Abandoned Property

If tenants leave a belonging behind after moving out, the landlord must alert the tenant about how to claim it. If it remains unclaimed and is above a particular value, the landlord may sell it. Otherwise, they may either keep it or throw it away.

Criminal Activity

Landlords must report illegal tenant activity to the authorities, such as drug use, etc., as they will also be held accountable for any illegal activity on their property.

Eviction Laws

Every state has laws to regulate the eviction process. It sets down valid reasons for evictions and details standardized eviction proceedings. Failure to comply with these laws may turn the eviction ruling against the landlord.

Still Feeling Lost?

If you are looking for more details on landlord-tenants laws and how they might apply to you, the professional attorneys at Hecht Schondorf can help you out.

Reach out now and request a free consultation!