Tenant Rights- Renters Know Your Rights
Tenant Rights are very important and once you know your Tenant rights the less likely are you to be taken advantage of. Knowing your renter’s rights will save you lots of headache and a whole lot of drama.
As a legal services marketer, I am asked every day about various state laws as they pertain to the Landlord / Tenant law. While the number of renters in the U.S. is in the millions, many are not aware of their rights and protections regarding the legal agreement they have with their landlord. In the interest of providing general information for those who may have questions about tenant rights, eviction notices, the need for legal services, etc., I have listed below some of the basics of the Landlord/Tenant relationship.
Landlord Duties and Responsibilities
A landlord is required to provide a tenant with a dwelling that meets with the definition of a ‘fit’ premises and it is generally accepted that a landlord should make necessary repairs to the premises caused by incidental wear and tear or Acts of God that occur to the property during the rental agreement. It is the burden of the tenant to inform the Landlord in an appropriately timely manner that such repairs are needed. It is also important to note that, however, the landlord is not required to repair damages cause by the willful or irresponsible conduct of the tenant. In most cases the tenant can and often will be held liable for those damages.
The terms and conditions that allow for rent to be increased during a lease or rental period should be clearly defined in the lease/rental agreement. In certain areas of local, county or state jurisdiction, rent increases are only allowed in certain circumstances and these can vary greatly by geographic area. A prospective tenant is encouraged to read the agreement thoroughly and seek an explanation to any portion not easily understood. Landlords are also prohibited from increasing rents as a form of punitive action towards a tenant or in consequence of necessary repairs.
The amount of the Security Deposit required to rent a property does vary and can be anywhere from one to three month’s rent. Tenants have a responsibility to discuss with the prospective landlord the terms and to review the portion of the rental agreement concerning the return of the security deposit. When a landlord wants to deduct from the deposit the costs for repairing damages, he must give the tenant notice in writing and return any unclaimed portion of the deposit.
The basis of the agreement is the tenant’s ability and willingness to pay the rent in a consistent and timely manner. Failure to pay rent could lead to eviction notices, civil damages and forced removal from the premises by local authorities. Tenants who are concerned that they are being illegally evicted should contact a licensed attorney immediately to determine their legal situation.
Property Maintenance and Upkeep
The tenant’s obligations do not end with the rent payments. They are also required to reasonably maintain the property while they are there. Tenants are not responsible for normal wear and tear; they are responsible for damages that were allowed to happen while they were in residency. A good rule of thumb is to treat the property as if it were their own and openly communicate with the landlord regarding any questionable items or situations that occur during the term of the agreement.
Tenant Rights / Legal Redress
Landlord/tenant laws will vary from state to state; items like rent control can vary from city to city. Problems or disputes arising from alleged violations of Tenant Rights should be reviewed only by a licensed attorney.
For more information, go to: [http://www.smithpartnerships.com/tenantrights.html]
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