Montana Tenant Right Law: What is a Rental Agreement
According to Montana landlord tenant law, there are two formal forms of rental agreements in the state of Montana: written and oral. Both forms of rental agreements represent a binding contract between renter and landlord. TMTs contract will elucidate the primary responsibilities of the renter and landlord. In essence, the rental agreement is the foundation of Montana Landlord Tenant laws.
A written rental agreement may be constructed for any length of tenancy: month to month, six months, one year etc. All house rules, responsibilities, and promises must be written into the agreement. If provisions are not affirmed, the parties are not legally responsible for upholding them. If a landlord or renter wishes to amend the agreement, the new information—according to Montana Landlord Tenant laws—must be put into writing and signed by both parties.
Oral agreements often create a month-to-month tenancy. Oral agreements for fixed terms may not exceed one year in time. Although an oral agreement is easier to reach, exact promises should never be neglected. Problems typically arise when promises are made but not clearly affirmed.
Regardless of the structure, according to Montana Landlord Tenant laws, rental agreements should stipulate the following provisions:
• The amount of rent and how, where and by when it should be delivered to the landlord. Also, the penalties for late rent should be affirmed in the agreement.
• MT Landlord Tenant law states that any exchange of services that affect the amount of rent should be outlined in the agreement. For example, if the renter pays for a repair in the apartment, the agreement must dictate how the rent is to be reduced
• The term of the rental agreement. For instance, is it a weekly, monthly or yearly lease.
• If the landlord’s consent is needed for the tenant to sublet the rental space
• Montana Landlord Tenant laws state that any special provisions for individual tenants must be stipulated in the rental agreement.
• According to MT Landlord Tenant law, if the tenant and landlord do not agree in writing to any of the above provisions, the tenancy will automatically become a month to month agreement. Rent, according to MT Landlord Tenant law, is typically paid on either a monthly or weekly basis. In most cases, rent is due each month. However, with a month to month agreement, rent can increase if the landlord provides written notice to the tenant at least 45 days before the effective date of the increase. For tenancies less than month-to-month a written notice must be provided at least 15 consecutive days prior to increasing the rent.
Important Features of Montana Landlord Tenant laws:
MT Landlord Tenant law requires:
• Based on Montana landlord tenant law, both tenants and landlords are required to act in good faith regarding the performance and enforcement of duties and rights of remedies
• Montana Landlord Tenant laws state that identification of each person authorized to manage the rental space must be identified before the parties formulate an agreement
• MT landlord tenant laws, require identification of each person or owner who is authorized to act as owner for services of purposes is required under Montana Landlord Tenant laws
• Montana Landlord Tenant laws state that the tenant possesses the right to terminate rental agreements at any point if he or she cannot move into the unit as promised
• Both the landlord and tenant—according to Montana Landlord Tenant laws—must comply with all applicable housing and building codes that affect safety and health
• If the rental unit is sold during the term of the lease, both the tenant and new owner—according to MT Landlord Tenant law law—are bound by the terms of the new agreement
MT Landlord Tenant laws: Security Deposits
According to MT Landlord Tenant laws, a security deposit is funds given by the tenant to the landlord for the following reasons:
• To resolve tenant defaults for damages and for failure to pay rent or for failure to return keys when the rental agreement ends
• To clean the unit at the end of the tenancy; the security deposit—according to MT Landlord Tenant law—is used to repair and clean the unit if it was damaged beyond normal wear and tear
• To compensate for damages made by the tenant or to recoup missed rental payments if the tenant decides to abandon the rental property
Amount of the Security Deposit: Montana Landlord Tenant laws states that the total amount of all security deposits may not exceed one month’s rent. TMTs law includes the security deposit and any deposits made for pets, keys or anything else. Montana Landlord Tenant laws declares that the tenant is not allowed to use the deposit as payment for the last month’s rent unless the landlord agrees with the tenant—in writing—to such use. If an agreement is made, the tenant must provide 45 days of notice of vacating the rental property. The landlord, in any event, retains the right to have the tenant pay for all damages beyond wear and tear that are caused by the tenant.
Retention of the Security Deposit: MT Landlord Tenant law states that if the landlord possesses lawful grounds to retain any portion or all of the security deposit, the landlord is required to notify the tenant in writing of the reasons for the retention. All costs, including specific repairs or cleaning, must be itemized in said document. Moreover, copies of receipts must be provided to the tenant according to Montana Landlord Tenant laws. If repairs cannot be accomplished within two weeks, estimates for repair and/or cleaning services may be substituted.
If a dispute arises regarding the retention of a security deposit, landlords and tenants may take bring their problem to the state’s small claims court. In this type of court action lawyers are not allowed to represent either party. Montana Landlord Tenant laws state that where the court determines that the landlord:
• wrongfully retained a portion or all of the security deposit, the court will award the tenant damages equal to a portion of the deposit plus the cost of the suit
• willfully retained all or part of the deposit, it will award the tenant damages equal to three times the security deposit plus the cost of the suit
• Retained the security deposit in a lawful manner, the court—according to Montana Landlord Tenant laws—will award the landlord damages equal to the portion of the deposit in dispute plus the cost of the suit
Montana Landlord Tenant laws: Issues Regarding Repairs
Emergency repairs are deemed necessary to provide habitable living conditions. According to Montana landlord tenant laws, the landlord is required—according to MT Landlord Tenant laws—to take steps to fix the problem within three business days from the time the landlord is notified of the problem. Montana tenant laws declare that there is a good faith requirement that the repairs must be finished as quickly as possible. If the landlord is not able to commence repairs within three business days, the landlord must inform the tenant of the reasons for the wait and set a date on when repairs begin.
According to Montana landlord tenant laws, if a safety or health condition exists in a rental unity which constitutes a violation of a county or state law, ordinance, code or regulation, the tenant must ask the landlord remedy the problem as quickly as possible. Based on Montana landlord tenant law, if the landlord does not fix the problem, the tenant should call the Department of health or County agencies to have condition inspected. If the landlord does not commence repairs—Montana Landlord Tenant laws state that the tenant may:
• Engage in repairs; after providing receipts to the landlord, MT Landlord Tenant laws state that the tenant may deduct up to $500 from the next month’s rent
• The tenant, based on Montana landlord tenant law, may also give the landlord two estimates from qualified workers, at least five business days prior to the commencement of the repair work. Upon providing all receipts to the landlord, tenants—based on Montana Landlord Tenant laws may deduct $500 or one month’s rent, whichever is larger, to cover the cost of repairs.
Montana Landlord Tenant laws: The Roles of Tenants and Landlords
Montana Landlord Tenant laws require the fulfillment of certain responsibilities on the part of the landlord. MT Landlord Tenant laws provide that tenants may expect these actions from the landlord. As prescribed by MT Landlord Tenant law the landlord must partake in the following:
• The Landlord, according to Montana Landlord Tenant laws, must have the unit ready for the tenant to move in at the time the lease agreement states
• The Landlord, according to Montana Landlord Tenant laws must provide healthy and safe premises as required by state law
• The Landlord, according to Montana Landlord Tenant laws, is required to maintain all plumbing, electrical and other facilities
• The Landlord, according to Montana Landlord Tenant laws is required to provide for the supplying of running water as reasonably expected
• The Landlord, according to Montana Landlord Tenant laws, is required to make all arrangements and repairs necessary to keep the rental unit in a livable condition