Landlord and Tenant Law
Each landlord/tenant relationship is defined by a signed lease between them. Leases include many elements related to contract law and are legally binding documents. Landlord and tenant law is very specific in laying out the responsibilities and obligations both parties assume upon the execution of a lease document.
Landlord and tenant law recognizes that there are differences between residential and commercial leases. This is based on the premise that a residential lease presents much more risk in unequal bargaining power than a typical commercial lease does.
A landlord is contractually obligated to deliver the property to the tenant upon the possession date agreed upon in the lease. This means that on the day that the tenant is supposed to move in, the landlord is prohibited from denying him or her the opportunity to do so. Doing so means that the landlord will be in breach of the lease and the tenant can take legal measures against him.
Landlord and tenant law also allows for the tenant to have quiet enjoyment of their dwelling. This means that it is against the law for a landlord to interfere with a tenant’s possessions or enter the dwelling without having first provided notice to the tenant of his intent to do so. This notice must always be given in writing and must be given at least twenty-four hours before the landlord intends to enter the dwelling.
Landlord-tenant law also includes certain measures of protection for tenants.
Tenants are protected from being forcibly evicted from their apartments even when they have not paid their rent. In most cities, a landlord who wishes to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent must make a petition to do so before the court. Judges will almost always side with a tenant which means that it can often be very difficult for a landlord to remove a non-paying tenant. This is why landlords often insist on a credit check and a rental application before agreeing to rent an apartment. They want to take all measures to ensure that they will be able to receive their rent in a timely manner.
Landlord and tenant law leases always include something called a dependent covenant which means that if a landlord does not perform certain legally required duties, the tenant is relieved of paying their rent. A tenant can use this as a defense when a landlord has made an application to have them evicted because of non-payment of rent. These covenants include things like making sure that the apartment building is habitable and that repairs are made in a timely fashion.
Landlord and tenant law prohibits a landlord from evicting a tenant who reports any kind of health and safety code violation to the authorities.