Common Landlord Laws

Common Landlord Laws

This article will quickly introduce the reader to some common landlord laws that are applicable generally, throughout the United States. However, the reader must understand that landlord laws vary slightly from state to state and there might be some marginal or housekeeping differences in the tenancy legislation across the country. However, as mentioned earlier, the summary of landlord laws below is generally applicable to any state in the U.S.

Discrimination – landlord laws – The landlord laws in all states will prohibit landlords from discriminating against tenants and potential tenants. In other words, a landlord cannot deny a rental property for reasons that are purely based on personal prejudice and bias against factors such as race, sex, color, country of origin etc. The landlord laws in most states will also prohibit discrimination against handicapped and blind people and some landlord laws will require landlords to make reasonable modifications to a rental property in order to make it habitable for a handicapped person.

Privacy – landlord laws – Though a landlord owns the rental property, landlord laws in relation to privacy will simply not allow them to barge into a rental property at any time they wish. Landlord laws will require landlords to provide a written notice of entry before going into the rental premises and landlord laws will usually also specify that landlords can only enter for valid reasons and only during reasonable hours that do not disturb the peace of the tenant. However, landlord laws in relation to privacy will not apply in the case of an emergency such as a fire and the landlord will be allowed to enter a rental premises without any notice at all.

Habitability – landlord laws – As a pre requirement for renting and as an ongoing condition for rent collection, landlord laws will require apartments to be maintained in a habitable condition that will have heat, running water, good plumbing, good doors and windows, smoke detectors and so on. If a landlord fails to provide a habitable environment for the tenant, landlord laws will usually allow the tenant to withhold rent payments or pay a reduced amount of rent until the necessary repairs are carried out to bring back the rental premises in a habitable condition.

Notice to evict and eviction procedures – landlord laws – A landlord cannot evict a tenant on a fixed lease for just any reason. The landlord laws of the state will usually specify a number of reasons that will provide grounds for eviction. Nonpayment of rent and a breach of the terms of a lease agreement are the most common reason.  Before a landlord can initiate eviction procedures, they will usually be required to provide a notice to quit to the tenants that will inform the tenants that eviction proceedings are just about to be initiated against them. This notice to quit will usually give the tenant about 3-7 days of time to take measures to stop the eviction process. If there is no action on the part of the tenant, the landlord should pursue an eviction case in court.

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