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Tenant rights landlords need to know

As landlords learn to be better landlords and tenants learn to be better tenants, the frustrations, costs, unnecessary complexity and animosity drain from the historically acrimonious tenant/landlord relationship, breaking new ground in the way that rent is addressed. Let’s start making this world a better place, one tenant and one landlord at a time with the bottom line: basic tenant rights.

The following review of rights is expected to provide a basis for how to act in certain situations, whether you are a landlord or a tenant. Today’s goal is to shed light on how to prevent mishaps and act appropriately when they occur without exceeding legal parameters, designed to protect both landlords and tenants under the cloak of Tenant’s Rights. Let’s get started with the tenant screening process – don’t discriminate!

Non-Discrimination: It is illegal to deny tenant applications for discriminatory reasons under the Fair Housing Act. Discrimination based on the following is illegal (so don’t put the Department of Justice on your back): race, color, religion, national origin, age, familial status (childhood, pregnant), physical or mental disability.

Pretty obvious, right? Think again. How many times have you heard “I only want girls to live here, boys are too messy.” Maybe you even heard the prize flipped. Regardless, gender stereotyping is insufficient to circumvent anti-discrimination laws and it is illegal to operate in this manner. In fact, it is even illegal to advertise in a discriminatory way. However, there is one exception to the rule worth noting: Landlords with 4 rental units or less are exempt from such discriminatory laws, so save yourself the litigious thoughts if Mrs. Smith, who won’t rent her basement to you ( your only rental) because you are a 21 year old male, student and party connoisseur.

Other exceptions to the rule include housing specifically designed to meet certain needs of certain people. Example: retirement home, low income housing, etc.

Next, the lessee has the right to “Habitable Premises”. Here’s another deceptively risky one. As, again, it may seem straightforward and obvious that all living conditions must be safe and clean for the tenant’s use, often the tenant mistakes that a serious infestation, for example, with rats or cockroaches, is a justification for breaking the lease. lease. This, however, is not always the case. If the infestation or poor living conditions are the result of the tenant’s lifestyle, then the tenant is financially responsible for the correction and does not provide grounds to legally break the lease. However, it is the landlord’s responsibility to respond to the tenant’s request regarding treatment of habitability issues, but the bill may be sent from landlord to tenant.

Let’s talk about Privacy. Most homeowners are aware of these rules, but often choose to ignore them. Also, landlords often forget that it is not just you, the landlord, who is not allowed in, but everyone connected to you who is not allowed in. This means that Bob from Landlord’s Plumbing Services cannot come in and check the water heater without notice. However, there are only three situations where landlords are legally allowed to enter tenants’ homes: 1.) for repairs after sufficient notice to the tenant. Federal law defaults to statutory law about what is considered “sufficient notice,” but use 24 hours as a general rule. 2.) Emergency; this includes fires and floods. In these situations, forget about the 24-hour notice. 3.) To show prospective tenants or buyers the property; again, sufficient notice is required. Also, make sure the tenant is notified, missed phone calls don’t count (yes, we all know he has).

It is also important to know the landlord’s maintenance responsibilities and the consequences if these responsibilities are ignored. Landlord must provide adequate: weather protection (no leaks), heat, water, hot water, electricity, and a clean and sanitary environment.

Suitability is usually defined according to state, and any gray areas are often covered by common law precedent established in previous court rulings. These conditions are legally expected to exist on the day the tenant moves in, so it is recommended that the tenant take a detailed tour of the unit, noting any conditions that are not in line with the above. Keeping track of dates is important, and testing the date is equally important, so make sure you do something like reveal dated images, record them somehow. Also, submitting work orders or applications to owners is always best done in a documented manner, not just verbally. This allows the tenant to record the date of the application and gives the landlord a chance to think about the matter (without embarrassing the landlord). If the landlord ignores the request and does not address the matter within the given time period, the tenant has the right to make repairs and deduct the cost of rent, withhold rent until the problem is fixed, pay less rent, call the property inspector local construction. address the situation in a coercive manner, or move out without any future rent liability and with the right to reclaim the entire security deposit. Aesthetic damages are not the responsibility of the lessor, nor are damages that result directly and exclusively from the actions of the lessee; however, the landlord may still be responsible for alleviating the problem without any financial responsibility (the landlord will fix it, but not pay for it). So renters, don’t take a baseball bat at your water heater and think your landlord will pay.

The final, all-too-common issue in the rental world is who is responsible for paying rent in certain situations. The parties to a lease are the people who sign the lease with the landlord. Anyone who signs is responsible for the full amount of rent owed, so the landlord can go after any roommate for the full amount. If you, as a roommate and tenant, pay your share of the rent, your obligation doesn’t end until your roommates (or someone else) also pay their share. However, landlords can only collect the amount owed, so they cannot collect the full amount from multiple tenants. Renters, just be aware.

These five topics are the most common topics of disagreement and confusion between tenants and landlords. Clarity in all of them helps both parties to know the generally appropriate course of action in such situations. Blindly and aggressively attacking the other party without a knowledge base may be misplaced and lead to undesirable results. Don’t live in a festering anger. The knowledge of good and bad between Landlord/Tenant in common situations generates a harmonious and healthy relationship, perpetuating happiness on both sides, simplifying life, simplifying renting.

tony hallum


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