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Are You Concerned with Renters Rights?If you feel that your renters rights have been trodden upon it is best to consult with attorney who specializes in renters rights. They can direct you in regard to your tenant rights and give you advice about what is protected under renters laws and whether or not it is viable to take the matter to court to defend your renters rights. If you need to talk to a qualified attorney, simply fill out the form below and the attorney will contact you.
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Facts about Renters RightsThe prevalence of landlords trampling on renters is the reason that renters rights are defined in renters laws. Under renters rights laws, you are entitled to renters rights that cannot be violated by landlords without legal repercussions.
Landlord/tenant laws vary from state to state therefore the specific renters rights that are protected by law also differ depending on the state in which you live. Though the laws and protected renters rights fluctuate in each state the renters laws and renters rights basically have the same intention from state to state.
The basic purpose of the definition and protection of renters rights is to:
- Address neglect from the landlord
- Ensure safety and health of tenants and the inhabitability of the rental property
- Remedy bad conditions that affect the tenants living in the residence
- Prevent unreasonable taking or withholding of deposits
- Protect the tenant's privacy in their home
- Prevent unlawful eviction
- Avert unreasonable increases in the rent
There are also federal laws that aim to provide affordable housing and to protect tenants from discrimination in regard to renting residential facilities.
If you have questions regarding any of these topics and the renters rights that are guaranteed to you by law, a lawyer who specializes in renters laws and renters rights can certainly help you out.
Basic Responsibilities under Renters LawsIn a rental or lease arrangement, both the tenant and the landlord have basic responsibilities whether or not they are addressed in the rental agreement or lease.
Basically, renters are responsible for taking care of the property, protecting it from damages, reporting maintenance issues to the landlord, not being a nuisance to neighbors, paying the rent and adhering to the clauses as defined in the rental agreement. Failure to live up to those basic responsibilities, in most states, is reason for eviction. Renters rights apply to the process of eviction, but the renters laws will not actually protect you from being evicted if you fail to comply with the rental agreement and to respect the landlord's rights in regard to the property that they have entrusted to you.
In most states, landlords are required by renters rights to upkeep the property in regard to living conditions. This may include providing heating, air conditioning and water in addition to taking care of health and safety issues. Overall, it is the landlord's responsibly to make sure that the residential facility is inhabitable as well as respecting the privacy of the inhabitants in regard to tenant rights.
In most states, if a tenant requests a basic repair that affects inhabitance in writing, after the time stated in the renters laws, the tenant is allowed to contract the repair at the landlord's expense. Before making such repairs, be sure to get familiar with your renters rights and the specific timelines and requirements according to renters laws.
Most times, failure of the landlord or the tenant to comply with basic renters laws or for infringing on renters rights or landlord rights that are protected by the law is a lawful reason to terminate the rental agreement or lease.
Renters Rights Regarding DepositsIn most states there is a limit on the amount that a landlord can require as a security deposit under renters rights. It is also common for state renters laws to allow for an extra deposit regarding renters who have pets if pets are allowed by the landlord and/or rental agreement.
The renters laws usually also contain a limit on the amount of time that a landlord has from the date of surrender of property to return the security deposit to the tenant or to make a disclosure of what the deposit was used for. Failure to do so is a violation of renters rights.
Renters rights also define what can and cannot be withheld from the security deposit by the landlord. For instance, in most cases the cost of repairing damages made by the renters or their guests is deductible while normal wear and tear is not. Awareness of your renters rights in regard to security deposits is very advisable. If you have questions regarding the taking or withholding of a security deposit, a renters rights lawyer can certainly provide answers to your questions as well as representing you if the matter ends up in small claims court.
Renters Rights Concerning PrivacyMost renters laws do allow the landlord access to the rental property; however, in most states a time-stated notice is defined in renters rights law. For instance, if the landlord wants to inspect the property, show the property to potential buyers or make repairs, maintenance or renovations, they can do so if they notify the renter in accordance with the time stated in the renters laws for the state. In many states this requires twenty-hour notice and the reasonable times are also defined to protect renters rights. Basically, renters rights defend your right to privacy by disallowing landlords to stop by and order an inspection at any time without notice. If they do not comply with the notice stated in the renters laws, you are not required to allow them access.
In most states, the landlord is allowed to access the property in the case of an emergency, to make needed repairs or to show the property. Inspection to determine whether or not repairs are needed is only allowable in some states. Notice is usually required for each of these instances except in the case of an emergency. Emergencies can be defined as a severe water leak, a fire, etc. Renter rights defined in renters laws determine when a landlord can access the property without notice and when notice is required. In some states, the landlord is allowed access if the property seems to be abandoned by the tenants for several days.
Being aware of renters rights in regard to privacy and the legality of landlord access is a good idea. A landlord can access the property at any time with the permission of the tenant; however, other forms of access are limited by renters laws. An attorney who specializes in renters rights can assist you if you have any questions regarding renters rights to privacy.
Renters Rights In Regard to EvictionsYour tenant rights are protected by renters laws in relation to evictions. Renters laws guide the process of eviction to protect the tenants from unlawful acts of eviction by landlords. Again, renters laws vary from state to state, but generally a notice of eviction has to be delivered to the tenant as well as giving them adequate time, as defined in the laws regarding renters rights.
Generally, a landlord can evict a tenant in accordance with the end of term stated in a rental agreement with proper notice without reason. For instance, with proper notice, the landlord can take back the property just because they want to without violating your renters rights. Eviction is also possible if the tenant is behind on rent payments or if the tenant has breached a clause that is stated in the rental agreement. In each of these cases, notice is required in order to legally order the tenant to vacate the property.
It is unacceptable, and illegal according to renters rights, for a landlord to try to force a tenant to move out of the property by threatening them, cutting off utilities, changing locks, and so forth without going through the legal eviction process. For instance, a landlord cannot tell a tenant to move out right now, tomorrow or within a week. A written notice has to be delivered along with a reasonable amount of time as defined in renters laws.
If you are facing eviction and you feel that your landlord is being unfair, it is advisable to consult with an attorney who specializes in renters rights. They can advise you of your tenant rights that are guaranteed by renters laws. Most times, if you are represented by an attorney they can deal with the landlord for you and relieve a lot of the stress that is associated with an eviction. Usually, when contacted by an attorney who specializes in renters rights, a landlord who is trying to evict a tenant in an unlawful action will back down and adhere to renter rights. If they don't, it may be advisable to take the matter to court with proper representation.
Renters Rights Regarding Increases in RentRenters rights in regard to increases in rent are dependent on the terms of the contract, renters laws and of course, the state that governs the rental agreement and sets renters rights for the state. In most cases, a landlord can increase the rent with timely notice. Renters laws in the state may limit the amount of the increase or reasons for such increases. In such cases, written notice is usually required within the timeline set by law in regard to renters rights.
If your landlord is raising the rent and you think that it is inappropriate or extensive, it is advisable to consult with an attorney who practices renters laws to become aware of your renters rights regarding increases in rent.
Other Laws that Govern Renters RightsThere is a federal law entitled the Fair Housing Act which is intended to provide fair housing throughout the United States. This law aims to prevent discrimination in regard to refusing to rent a property on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, or handicap. This law does not apply to every rental property; however, if you feel that you are discriminated against for the reasons previously stated, it is advisable to consult with a renters rights attorney to find out whether or not you are protected against discrimination in your particular circumstances.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Renters Rights
- Is it a violation of renters rights for a landlord to insist on inspecting the property every month?
The answer to this question really depends on the renters laws in the state of the property that you are renting. Renters rights to privacy usually prevent landlord access to the property solely for inspection; however, access is usually permitted with proper notice for standard maintenance or needed repairs. Consultation with a renters laws attorney will clear up the questions about landlord access as well as the amount notice that they have to give before accessing the property.
- Can a landlord withhold a deposit in order to replace the carpet if the tenant didn't damage it?
Generally, renters rights prevent a landlord from charging the tenant for normal wear and tear. However, if the tenant damaged the carpet, they can usually withhold a portion of the deposit to repair or replace the carpet.
- If landlords are responsible for providing electricity, water and heat, how can they require that I switch the utilities into my name and pay the bills?
Basically, it is the landlord's duty to make sure that utilities are available and accessible. Renters rights do not insist that the landlord pay for the utilities. For instance, if a water line breaks because of freezing, it is the landlord's responsibility to fix it. They have to make sure that the rental property is inhabitable. That does not mean that they are responsible for utility bills in accordance with renters rights unless it is stated in the rental agreement.
- Can my security deposit be applied to the last month's rent or do I have to pay the rent for the last month?
The security deposit taken by the landlord is not necessarily applicable to the rent for the last month under renters rights law. The security deposit is usually taken in order to cover damages to the property. In some states, it may be possible for the landlord to require prepayment of the first and last month's rent; however, that is different than a security deposit.