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Renter’s Rights

Renters Rights

Ideally, landlords and tenants should work to create a proper and mutually useful relationship. While many tenant-landlord relationships do have this description, there are always exceptions. Laws have been created on a state level to protect both the tenant’s rights and the renter’s rights.

Many renter’s rights vary by state, so it is important to see which are applicable before singing a rental agreement.

Here are some common renter’s rights that many states have.

• The Fair Housing Act says it is illegal to deny a tenant housing because of sex, race, color, religion, family status, disability, or national origin.

• Residential rental units must be livable and in agreement with health and housing codes. The homes should be sanitary, structurally safe, weatherproofed, and have adequate water, heat, and electricity.

• Some states limit the amount that can be charged for security deposits.

• A landlord should make any needed repairs and do maintenance tasks in a timely fashion, or at least include a provision in the lease that states that a tenant can order certain and deduct the cost of any necessary repairs from the rent.

• According to renter’s rights, a landlord must give early notice, usually 24 hours before entering the property and can typically only do for repairs or during an emergency.

• Any Illegal provisions opposing state law found in a rental agreement are normally not enforceable in court.

• If a landlord has violated any health, safety, or necessary repair terms, a tenant may be able to break the lease.

• If a long-term lease has to be broken, the renter’s rights of most states say the landlord must search for a replacement tenant as soon as possible instead of charging the tenant for the full duration of the lease.

• Security or deposits are not deductible for normal wear. Certain states have renter’s rights that require a landlord to give an itemized report of deductions.

• Majority of states require landlords to give the refundable portions of a security deposit back within 14 to 30 days after the tenant leaves premises, even during evictions.

• Landlords normally cannot legally seize a tenant's property due to rent nonpayment or other reasons, except during abandonment as defined by law.

• Landlords are prohibited by law from evicting tenants as a form of retaliation for any action a tenant takes regarding a perceived violation by the landlord.

• According to renter’s rights, the landlord cannot shut off utilities, change the locks, or evict a tenant without notice without a court order.

• If a landlord makes life unbearable for a tenant, forcing him or her to move out, it can be thought of as constructive eviction, which according to tenant’s rights is often grounds for legal action.

• Many state laws say it is illegal for a lease to instruct the tenant to be responsible for the attorney fees of a landlord in a court dispute.

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