Landlord Tenant’s Law
Every state in the United States of America has some type of landlord tenant’s law which is designed to protect both landlords and tenants from the various abuses that can be inflicted on the other. There is probably not a single person who has not heard at least one horror story about something either a landlord or a tenant has had to endure at the hands of the other. In cases where there has been a clear abuse, landlord tenant’s law is there to provide some form of mediation or enforcement when called upon.
Nearly every state will have some kind of handbook which outlines the landlord tenant’s law which has been passed there. These guidelines are almost always available free of charge by calling a 1-800 telephone number. Tenants can often find links to this information on websites which are set up specifically to deal with landlord/tenant disputes.
Landlord tenant’s law is usually very biased in favor of the tenant when it comes to forced evictions. In nearly every jurisdiction in the United States it is against the law for a landlord to lock a tenant out of his or her apartment even if they are several months in arrears in rent payments. They are not allowed to remove a tenant’s property from their dwelling even if they are several months in arrears in rent payments. Nor are they permitted to interfere with the utilities in a tenant’s building and turn off the electricity or heat. A landlord who wishes to evict a tenant for almost any reason will almost always have to go to court and receive an executed court order. Then the landlord is not permitted to evict the tenant him or herself. They must rely on the sheriff to do the eviction for them. This process can sometimes take a protracted period of time during which the landlord will be losing rent on his or her unit because they are obviously not able to rent it to another tenant while the original tenant is still inhabiting the premises. This is the main reason that most landlords demand a security deposit before renting an apartment. It is their only form of protection if their tenant decides to stop paying their rent for any reason.
Repairs are often another area of contention between landlords and tenants. The law essentially says that landlords are responsible to make any repairs when damage is caused by normal wear and tear. In instances when the tenant has caused the damage, the tenant is responsible for the cost of the repair. This is another reason that many landlords demand a security deposit. All too many landlords have been faced with significant damage to their rental unit when a tenant has moved out with no way to recoup the cost or repairing the damage.
Landlords are only allowed to charge a set amount of money for a security deposit. This is usually twice the amount of one months’ worth of rent for an unfurnished apartment and three times the rent for a furnished apartment. Security deposits must always be returned to tenants in full after they have vacated the apartment and there has been no damage to the property.