What to Know About Being a Tenant
A landlord is a company or individual that owns a unit which gets rented or leased out to another individual, who is the tenant as a residential unit. The tenant then obtains the rights to the exclusive possession and use of the rental unit throughout the rental or lease period. The tenant can also be referred to as the resident.
A tenant can rent out many different types of rental units including a house, apartment, condominium, duplex or a room. Many times, a landlord uses a property manager or rental agent to take care of this rental property. A tenant can work this this property manager or rental agent regarding any issues that would be normally brought up with the landlord. The tenant can use these people to resolve any issues that must be taken care of.
The tenant is able to be there because of the tenancy agreement, which is the document that is agreed upon by both the tenant and landlord. This document sets the legal conditions and terms of the rental contract. While this agreement can be either verbal or written, a written agreement is ideal since it can help avoid any serious disputes later on since the information is set in writing.
Regardless of the agreements set, there are still some rights that a tenant has under the local and state laws. These tenant laws vary by jurisdiction. However, many common elements are found in these laws. These include the following:
• Residential rental units must be livable and in agreement with health and housing codes. The homes should be sanitary, structurally safe, weatherproofed, and have adequate water, heat, and electricity.
• A landlord should make any needed repairs and do maintenance tasks in a timely fashion, or at least include a provision in the lease that states that a tenant can order certain and deduct the cost of any necessary repairs from the rent.
• The Fair Housing Act says it is illegal to deny a tenant housing because of sex, race, color, religion, family status, disability, or national origin.Landlords normally cannot legally seize a tenant's property due to rent nonpayment or other reasons, except during abandonment as defined by law.
• If a landlord makes life unbearable for a tenant, forcing him or her to move out, it can be thought of as constructive eviction, which according to tenant’s rights is often grounds for legal action.
• Any Illegal provisions opposing state law found in a rental agreement are normally not enforceable in court.
• If a long-term lease has to be broken, the tenant’s rights of most states say the landlord must search for a replacement tenant as soon as possible instead of charging the tenant for the full duration of the lease.
• According to tenant’s rights, the landlord cannot shut off utilities, change the locks, or evict a tenant without notice without a court order.