UNIFORM RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD AND TENANT ACT
Drafted by the
NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF COMMISSIONERS ON UNIFORM STATE LAWS
and by it
APPROVED AND RECOMMENDED FOR ENACTMENT
IN ALL THE STATES
MEETING IN ITS EIGHTY-FIRST YEAR
AT SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
AUGUST 4 – 11, 1972
WITH AMENDMENTS APPROVED, AUGUST 1974
Approved by the American Bar Association at its
Midyear Meeting in Houston, Texas, February, 1974
UNIFORM RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD AND TENANT ACT
The Committee which acted for the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in preparing the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act was as follows:
EDWARD L. SCHWARTZ, 85 Devonshire St., Boston, Mass. 02109, Chairman
ELWYN EVANS, 502 Market Tower Bldg., Wilmington, Del. 19801
JAMES H. CLARKE, 800 Pacific Bldg., Portland, Ore. 97204
WILLIAM C. GARDNER, 615 F St., NW, Washington, D.C. 20004
WILLIAM C. HILLMAN, 403 S. Main St., Providence, R.I. 02903
PATRICIA PUTNAM, University of Hawaii School of Medicine, Honolulu,
GEORGE A. RANNEY, JR., Rm. 2000, 160 North LaSalle St., Chicago, Ill. 60601
R. BRUCE TOWNSEND, 735 West New York St., Indianapolis, Ind. 46202
ROBERT A. LUCAS, 115 West Fifth Avenue, Gary, Ind. 46402, Chairman, Division D,
JULIAN LEVI, South East Chicago Commission, 1400 East 53rd St., Chicago,
Copies of all Uniform and Model Acts and other printed matter issued by the Conference may be obtained from:
NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF COMMISSIONERS
ON UNIFORM STATE LAWS
645 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611
UNIFORM RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD AND TENANT ACT
GENERAL PROVISIONS AND DEFINITIONS
SHORT TITLE, CONSTRUCTION, APPLICATION
AND SUBJECT MATTER OF THE ACT
1.101. Short Title
1.102. Purposes; Rules of Construction
1.103. Supplementary Principles of Law Applicable
1.104. Construction Against Implicit Repeal
1.105. Administration of Remedies; Enforcement
1.106. Settlement of Disputed Claim or Right
SCOPE AND JURISDICTION
1.201. Territorial Application
1.202. Exclusions from Application of Act
1.203. Jurisdiction and Service of Process
GENERAL DEFINITIONS AND PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION: NOTICE
1.301. General Definitions
1.302. Obligation of Good Faith
1.401. Terms and Conditions of Rental Agreement
1.402. Effect of Unsigned or Undelivered Rental Agreement
1.403. Prohibited Provisions in Rental Agreements
1.404. Separation of Rents and Obligations to Maintain Property Forbidden
2.101. Security Deposits; Prepaid Rent
2.103. Landlord to Deliver Possession of Dwelling Unit
2.104. Landlord to Maintain Premises
2.105. Limitation of Liability
3.101. Tenant to Maintain Dwelling Unit
3.102. Rules and Regulations
3.104. Tenant to Use and Occupy
4.101. Noncompliance by the Landlord – In General
4.102. Failure to Deliver Possession
4.103. Self-Help for Minor Defects
4.104. Wrongful Failure to Supply Heat, Water, Hot Water, or Essential Services
4.105. Landlord’s Noncompliance as Defense to Action for Possession or Rent
4.106. Fire or Casualty Damage
4.107. Tenant’s Remedies for Landlord’s Unlawful Ouster, Exclusion, or Diminution of Service
4.201. Noncompliance with Rental Agreement; Failure to Pay Rent
4.202. Failure to Maintain
4.203. Remedies for Absence, Nonuse and Abandonment
4.204. Waiver of Landlord’s Right to Terminate
4.205. Landlord Liens; Distress for Rent
4.206. Remedy after Termination
4.207. Recovery of Possession Limited
PERIODIC TENANCY; HOLDOVER; ABUSE OF ACCESS
4.301. Periodic Tenancy; Holdover Remedies
4.302. Landlord and Tenant Remedies for Abuse of Access
5.101. Retaliatory Conduct Prohibited
EFFECTIVE DATE AND REPEALER
6.101. Effective date
6.102. Specific Repealer
6.103. Savings clause
UNIFORM RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD AND TENANT ACT
GENERAL PROVISIONS AND DEFINITIONS
SHORT TITLE, CONSTRUCTION, APPLICATION AND
SUBJECT MATTER OF THE ACT
§ 1.101. [Short Title] This Act shall be known and may be cited as the “Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.”
This Act concerns landlord-tenant relationships under rental agreements for residential purposes (Section 1.201). The Act does not apply to rental agreements made for commercial, industrial, agricultural or any purpose other than residential.
§ 1.102. [Purposes; Rules of Construction]
(a) This Act shall be liberally construed and applied to promote its underlying purposes and policies.
(b) Underlying purposes and policies of this Act are
(1) to simplify, clarify, modernize, and revise the law governing the rental of dwelling units and the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants;
(2) to encourage landlords and tenants to maintain and improve the quality of housing; and
(3) to make uniform the law with respect to the subject of this Act among those states which enact it.
Existing landlord-tenant law in the United States, save as modified by statute or judicial interpretation, is a product of English common law developed within an agricultural society at a time when doctrines of promissory contract were unrecognized. Thus, the landlord-tenant relationship was viewed as conveyance of a lease-hold estate and the covenants of the parties generally independent. These doctrines are inappropriate to modern urban conditions and inexpressive of the vital interests of the parties and the public which the law must protect.
This Act recognizes the modern tendency to treat performance of certain obligations of the parties as interdependent.
Liberal construction of this Act and its application for promotion of its underlying purposes and policies will permit development by the courts in light of unforeseen and new circumstances and practices. However, proper construction of the Act requires that its interpretation and application be limited to its reason.
§ 1.103. [Supplementary Principles of Law Applicable] Unless displaced by the provisions of this Act, the principles of law and equity, including the law relating to capacity to contract, mutuality of obligations, principal and agent, real property, public health, safety and fire prevention, estoppel, fraud, misrepresentation, duress, coercion, mistake, bankruptcy, or other validating or invalidating cause supplement its provisions.
This section, adapted from Section 1-103 of the Uniform Commercial Code, indicates the continued applicability to landlord-tenant relations of all supplemental bodies of law except in so far as they are explicitly displaced by this Act. The listing given in this section is merely illustrative; no listing could be exhaustive.
§ 1.104. [Construction Against Implicit Repeal] This Act being a general act intended as a unified coverage of its subject matter, no part of it is to be construed as impliedly repealed by subsequent legislation if that construction can reasonably be avoided.
This section indicates the policy that no Act which bears evidence of carefully considered permanent regulative intention should lightly be regarded as impliedly repealed by subsequent legislation. This Act, carefully integrated and intended as a uniform codification of permanent character covering an entire “field” of law, is to be regarded as particularly resistant to implied repeal.
§ 1.105. [Administration of Remedies; Enforcement]
(a) The remedies provided by this Act shall be so administered that an aggrieved party may recover appropriate damages. The aggrieved party has a duty to mitigate damages.
(b) Any right or obligation declared by this Act is enforceable by action unless the provision declaring it specifies a different and limited effect.
Subsection (a) is intended to negate unduly narrow or technical interpretation of remedial provisions and to make clear that damages must be minimized. The use of the words “aggrieved party” is intended to indicate that in appropriate circumstances rights and remedies may extend to third persons under this Act or supplementary principles of law (compare Article IV, Parts I and II).
Under subsection (b) any right or obligation described in this Act is enforceable by court action, even though no remedy may be expressly provided, unless a particular provision specifies a different and limited effect. Whether tort action, specific performance or equitable relief is available is determined not by this section but by specific provisions and supplementary principles (see Section 1.103).
§ 1.106. [Settlement of Disputed Claim or Right] A claim or right arising under this Act or on a rental agreement, if disputed in good faith, may be settled by agreement.
This section applies to settlements of claims asserted by either landlord or tenant.
Subsequent sections of this Act (a) forbid the tenant from prior waiver of rights (Section 1.403), and (b) subject the bargain of the parties to the test of conscionability (Section 1.303).
SCOPE AND JURISDICTION
§ 1.201. [Territorial Application] This Act applies to, regulates, and determines rights, obligations, and remedies under a rental agreement, wherever made, for a dwelling unit located within this state.
§ 1.202. [Exclusions from Application of Act] Unless created to avoid the application of this Act, the following arrangements are not governed by this Act:
(1) residence at an institution, public or private, if incidental to detention or the provision of medical, geriatric, educational, counseling, religious, or similar service;
(2) occupancy under a contract of sale of a dwelling unit or the property of which it is a part, if the occupant is the purchaser or a person who succeeds to his interest;
(3) occupancy by a member of a fraternal or social organization in the portion of a structure operated for the benefit of the organization;
(4) transient occupancy in a hotel, or motel [or lodgings [subject to cite state transient lodgings or room occupancy excise tax act]];
(5) occupancy by an employee of a landlord whose right to occupancy is conditional upon employment in and about the premises;
(6) occupancy by an owner of a condominium unit or a holder of a proprietary lease in a cooperative;
(7) occupancy under a rental agreement covering premises used by the occupant primarily for agricultural purposes.
This Act regulates landlord-tenant relations in residential properties. It is not intended to apply where residence is incidental to another primary purpose such as residence in a prison, a hospital or nursing home, a dormitory owned and operated by a college or school, or residence by a landlord’s employee such as a custodian, janitor, guard or caretaker rendering service in or about the demised premises. This Act is intended to apply to government or public agencies acting as landlords (Section 1.301 (8)).
This Act does not apply to occupancy by a purchaser under a contract of sale. This Act applies to occupancy by the holder of an option to purchase, as distinguished from a contract of sale.
This Act applies to roomers and boarders but is not intended to apply to transient occupancy. In many jurisdictions transient hotel operations are subject to special taxes and regulations and, where available, determinations under such authority constitute appropriate criteria.
All of the exclusions enumerated apply only to genuine, bona fide arrangements not created to avoid the application of the Act and are subject to the test of good faith (see Section 1.302).
[Subsection (3) ] A fraternal or social organization is deemed to also cover “athletic club”.
[§ 1.203. [Jurisdiction and Service of Process]
(a) The [ ] court of this state may exercise jurisdiction over any landlord with respect to any conduct in this state governed by this Act or with respect to any claim arising from a transaction subject to this Act. In addition to any other method provided by rule or by statute, personal jurisdiction over a landlord may be acquired in a civil action or proceeding instituted in the court by the service of process in the manner provided by this section.
(b) If a landlord is not a resident of this state or is a corporation not authorized to do business in this state and engages in any conduct in this state governed by this Act, or engages in a transaction subject to this Act, he may designate an agent upon whom service of process may be made in this state. The agent shall be a resident of this state or a corporation authorized to do business in this state. The designation shall be in writing and filed with the [Secretary of State]. If no designation is made and filed or if process cannot be served in this state upon the designated agent, process may be served upon the [Secretary of State], but service upon him is not effective unless the plaintiff or petitioner forthwith mails a copy of the process and pleading by registered or certified mail to the defendant or respondent at his last reasonably ascertainable address. An affidavit of compliance with this section shall be filed with the clerk of the court on or before the return day of the process, if any, or within any further time the court allows.]
This section bestows jurisdiction on the courts of the enacting state over landlords who violate the act and provides a method of obtaining personal jurisdiction by service of process. The brackets indicate that the section may be omitted by those states which already have “long-arm” statutes. The rights under this section are additional to those provided in Section 2.102 of this Act.
The words “Secretary of State” are bracketed since in some jurisdictions some other public official may be designated by law as empowered to receive service.
This section as drawn does not provide for substitute service and jurisdiction in an action brought against a tenant. In the view of the Commissioners authorization for such procedure, if deemed appropriate, should be made by general legislation applying to all debtors, naturally including tenants.
GENERAL DEFINITIONS AND
PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION: NOTICE
§ 1.301. [General Definitions] Subject to additional definitions contained in subsequent Articles of this Act which apply to specific Articles or Parts thereof, and unless the context otherwise requires, in this Act
(1) “action” includes recoupment, counterclaim, set-off, suit in equity, and any other proceeding in which rights are determined, including an action for possession;
(2) “building and housing codes” include any law, ordinance, or governmental regulation concerning fitness for habitation, or the construction, maintenance, operation, occupancy, use, or appearance of any premises, or dwelling unit;
(3) “dwelling unit” means a structure or the part of a structure that is used as a home, residence, or sleeping place by one person who maintains a household or by 2 or more persons who maintain a common household;
(4) “good faith” means honesty in fact in the conduct of the transaction concerned;
(5) “landlord” means the owner, lessor, or sublessor of the dwelling unit or the building of which it is a part, and it also means a manager of the premises who fails to disclose as required by Section 2.102;
(6) “organization” includes a corporation, government, governmental subdivision or agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership or association, 2 or more persons having a joint or common interest, and any other legal or commercial entity;
(7) “owner” means one or more persons, jointly or severally, in whom is vested (i) all or part of the legal title to property or (ii) all or part of the beneficial ownership and a right to present use and enjoyment of the premises. The term includes a mortgagee in possession;
(8) “person” includes an individual or organization;
(9) “premises” means a dwelling unit and the structure of which it is a part and facilities and appurtenances therein and grounds, areas, and facilities held out for the use of tenants generally or whose use is promised to the tenant;
(10) “rent” means all payments to be made to or for the benefit of the landlord under the rental agreement;
(11) “rental agreement” means all agreements, written or oral, and valid rules and regulations adopted under Section 3.102 embodying the terms and conditions concerning the use and occupancy of a dwelling unit and premises;
(12) “roomer” means a person occupying a dwelling unit that does not include a toilet and either a bath tub or a shower and a refrigerator, stove, and kitchen sink, all provided by the landlord, and where one or more of these facilities are used in common by occupants in the structure;
(13) “single family residence” means a structure maintained and used as a single dwelling unit. Notwithstanding that a dwelling unit shares one or more walls with another dwelling unit, it is a single family residence if it has direct access to a street or thoroughfare and shares neither heating facilities, hot water equipment, nor any other essential facility or service with any other dwelling unit;
(14) “tenant” means a person entitled under a rental agreement to occupy a dwelling unit to the exclusion of others.
[Subsection (2) ] Typical of such “building and housing codes” are housing, building, sanitation, electrical, plumbing, fire prevention, safety and security ordinances and regulations. It is intended to include all such codes whether enacted or promulgated under federal, state or local authority.
[Subsection (7) ] Accordingly, in the case of an active trust where all the duties and powers of management inure to the trustee and the rights of the beneficiary are limited to the receipt of income from the trust estate and the beneficiary has no right to the present use and enjoyment of the property, the trustee would be considered an owner but the beneficiary would not. In the case of the so-called “naked title” trust encountered in some jurisdictions where the trustee holds legal title but all powers of management and direction are vested in the beneficiary, the trustee, as the holder of legal title, would be considered an owner; the beneficiary, since he has a right under the trust agreement to present use and enjoyment of the property, would also be considered an owner. The same result would be reached if the trust were revocable at the direction of the beneficiary. In the case of property held in the name of a nominee or straw the beneficial owner would be considered an owner.
[Subsection (9) ] Agricultural leases are excluded from operation of the Act (Section 1.202(7)). Inclusion of “grounds, areas and facilities held out for the use of tenants” does not alter the exclusion.
[Subsection (11) ] “Rental agreement” will thus include the original agreement between landlord and tenant as well as any modification and all valid rules and regulations concerning use and occupancy as provided in Section 3.102.
[Subsection (12) ] This Act provides lesser rights to a roomer as distinguished from the tenant of a dwelling unit. The definition requires certain facilities to be provided by the landlord. This requirement is not met by provision of the same by the tenant.
§ 1.302. [Obligation of Good Faith] Every duty under this Act and every act which must be performed as a condition precedent to the exercise of a right or remedy under this Act imposes an obligation of good faith in its performance or enforcement.
Section 1.302 is adapted from Section 1-203 of the Uniform Commercial Code. As the commentators there said, “This section sets forth a basic principle running throughout this Act. The principle involved is that in commercial transactions good faith is required in the performance and enforcement of all agreements or duties.” The commentators there drew attention to particular applications of this general principle. The intention is that the rule be identical in landlord-tenant relationships and, similarly, particular applications of this general principle appear in specific provisions of this Act such as exclusions (Section 1.202), retaliatory eviction as well as complaints made to public authorities (Section 5.101), and obligation of the landlord to repair (Section 2.104).
§ 1.303. [Unconscionability]