Tenants and landlords are both entitled to rights and responsibilities. That means if you're renting a property, you need to follow some rules. This can include paying the rent and keeping the property in good condition.
However, you also have rights that you can exercise. These laws that the local, state, and federal governments implement help ensure that you, as a tenant, live in a safe home and are treated well by your landlord. These are usually listed in your tenant's agreements that you have to sign before you move in. Not sure what your rights are? Check out the list below:
Rights Against Discrimination
Even while you are still applying as a tenant, you are already protected against discrimination under the Federal Anti-Discrimination Law, Fair Credit Reporting Act, and Federal Housing Law.
Your rights include protection from being rejected just because of your religion, race, age, and skin color. Some cities also include sexual preference and gender among the list of invalid reasons for rejecting an applicant.
Landlords are also not allowed to turn down your application because of your physical or mental disability, familial status, or national origin.
Rights Regarding Eviction
If the landlord wants to evict you because of breach of your lease agreement, such as failure to pay your monthly rent or having a pet or other people living with you, you are entitled to get a notice of a claim of eviction.
You should also be allowed time to pay what you owe in rent or fix any issues with your lease. If you were unable to work on the issues, the landlord might then file an eviction proceeding against you in court. But you will be given the chance to answer and defend yourself.
However, some states allow Unconditional Quit Notices, which means that a landlord does not need to provide the tenant time to fix issues or pay overdue rents if particular conditions are met, such as repeated violation of lease agreement.
On Security Deposit
Each state treats the matter of security deposits differently; some have statewide limits while some don't have restrictions as to the amount that the landlord can collect, how long the deposit can be held, and when such deposit must be returned. You may check here for your state's security deposit limits and deadlines.
Another right that tenants should be aware of is that the property they're renting should be safe and secure. The property should be livable, in that it should not be in a condition that endangers your safety or health.
From the moment you signed the necessary documents, paid what needs to be paid, and move in, you are entitled to privacy. This means that the landlord or anyone for that matter is not allowed to enter your home without your permission.
Your landlord may enter your apartment when repairs are needed to be done, to inspect for safety or maintenance issues, or show the property to a prospective tenant or buyer if your tenancy is about to end.
However, there are state laws that require the landlords to provide the tenant a notice--generally a 24- to 48-hour notice. No notice is required if the landlord is responding to an emergency or if the tenant agrees.
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