Contracts and The Landlord and Tenant Laws
In simplest terms, under landlord and tenant law a lease is a contract between a landlord and a tenant which outlines the term agreements that allow a person to reside in a particular piece of property. The tenant agrees to pay the landlord a set amount of money, also known as rent, on a monthly basis for the right to occupy the premises.
Most leases will outline certain provision regarding the different responsibilities and rights of both the landlord and the tenant. Once a lease agreement has been signed by both a landlord and a tenant, the relationship between them is called a tenancy. The right to occupy a rental unit is sometimes referred to as a leasehold interest. Each lease can be for a specified amount of time which is referred to as the term of the lease.
Landlord and tenant law says that people who own property are allowed by law to do what they choose to with their property including rent it out to a tenant for a specified period of time. Once an owner has chosen to do this, he or she is not permitted to interfere in the quiet enjoyment of the tenant’s unit. This means that they are not permitted to enter the unit any time they please. They must always ask the tenant’s permission in writing at least 24 hours in advance. The only time they are permitted to breach this rule is in the event of any emergency.
Landlord and tenant law states that leases are legal contracts and are enforceable as such. Most leases contain the names of all the parties involved: tenant(s) and landlord, the start and end date of the rental, the address of the rental unit being leased, any provisions for renewal of the lease, the amount of rent being charged and the date of the month on which it is due. If the landlord is charging a security deposit, that information must also be contained within the lease as well. Any clauses with regard to pets on the property must also be stated in a lease.
A fixed-term tenancy lease can last for as many years as the landlord and tenant are willing to sign off on. The fixed-term tenancy expires when the time runs out. It can be renewed if both parties so desire but only if both parties are in agreement.
Some people have leases that are known as periodic tenancy leases. These are leases which are set for a period of time which is determined by payment of rent. Oral leases can not be entered into for a period of more than twelve months. Continue reading
If You Are Unsure, Check The Rental Law In Your City
Every city and/or state has different rental law when it comes to property. Any person who is thinking of renting an apartment or a house owes it to themselves to check into the different laws in the state and municipality where they intend to live. Taking just a little bit of time to do this before entering into a lease agreement can potentially save a great deal of heartache and stress later on should some type of conflict arise with their landlord. Continue reading
Amendments to Texas Renter’s Laws
There have recently been some amendments to Texas renter’s laws that many people may or may not know about.
In Texas, the relationship between a landlord and a tenant is largely controlled by the terms of their lease agreement. Tenants should always ask to have a lease in writing and make sure that they are given a copy of the lease by the landlord once it has been signed. They should make sure that they review it very carefully in the presence of the landlord before signing so they can make sure that they understand all the terms. They may, at that time, request that the landlord make certain changes to the lease. The landlord is not obligated to comply with this request and the tenant has the choice to sign the lease and rent the apartment if he or she does not.
City of Chicago Renter’s Rights
In the City of Chicago, renter’s rights are pretty vigorously protected by law. In a city that was rife with corruption under Mayor Richard Daly at one time, things have settled down quite a bit and tenants can live in relative peace knowing that their landlords can not abuse them.
Chicago renter’s rights make it against the law for any landlord to dispossess a tenant from his or her dwelling. This means that a tenant can not simply be put out onto the street even if he or she is considerably behind in paying their rent. The landlord is also not allowed to change the lock, plug the locks or add any locks. In other words, the landlord is not allowed to do anything that would prevent a tenant from entering his or her apartment.
The landlord is also not allowed to interfere with the provision of any utilities to the apartment like the heat or electricity. The landlord is not permitted to remove any of the tenant’s personal belongings. In other words, this means that the landlord can not simply have the tenant’s furniture thrown out onto the street. He or she is further precluded from interfering with any appliances contained within the apartment such as a stove or a refrigerator on which the tenant is dependent to live.
These laws are all laid out in something called the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance. Copies of this are available at City Hall and any public library in the city of Chicago. Every person who is a tenant should have a copy and be familiar with what it says. Continue reading
Landlords are Responsible to Tenants
Many tenants do not realize but a landlord has many responsibilities that he is obligated by law to fulfill toward his tenants. One of the landlord’s responsibilities is to ensure that the rental unit is in what is referred to as a habitable condition. This means that it must have running water, both hot and cold, and working electrical outlets. It must be free of vermin and pests. These landlord’s responsibilities are mandated by law and will be enforced by the local municipality where the unit is found. Any tenant who is living in an apartment that is not being maintained so that the living conditions are to code can make a complaint to their local tenant board and it will be investigated.
If the landlord is found to have breached these rules, he will be ordered to rectify the situation and will likely be assessed with a fine. In most cities, tenant’s rights are vigorously protected by city law and city officials. Landlords who do not maintain their properties properly are frowned upon by most cities because it makes city property values fall.
The other responsibility of which most people are unaware is the landlord’s responsibilities toward the tenant in terms of providing a safe environment in which the tenant can live. This means that the landlord is obligated to provide working deadbolt locks on all exterior doors, working smoke detectors and adequate exterior lighting in places that are dark. These lights must be in working order and must be turned on at dusk and can be turned off at dawn. The landlord’s responsibilities further extend to complying with all building and housing codes in the municipality in which the rental unit is located.
Additionally, the landlord is responsible for maintaining all the appliances which are included in the terms of the lease agreement. This also includes the maintenance of such things as water heaters, furnaces and air conditioning units if they are included in the lease agreement.
The landlord is responsible for fixing anything in the property that he owns which might affect the safety of the tenant. This means anything like a pane of glass in a window or a broken lighting fixture in a bathroom.
Landlord’s responsibilities also extend to all common areas of any residential building like courtyards, parking lots, laundry room and storage rooms. The landlord is obligated to keep these areas well-maintained, safe and clean. This means that hallways and walkways must be unobstructed and cleared of snow in the winter. Continue reading
All state landlord tenant law is comprised of statutory and common law. Most states have used the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act as their model when drafting their legislation. The landlord/tenant relationship has its foundation in contract and property law. The tenant by virtue of signing a lease assumes an interest in the property for a specific period of time which is stipulated in the lease agreement. Even though a lease is not technically a contract, it is subject to the principles contained in contract law.
Statutory laws determine the provisions that may be contained in a lease. The primary foundational aspect of every lease is the tenant’s right to something which is termed “quiet enjoyment.” This means that a tenant has the right to know that his possessions will not be disturbed by another person who holds a superior legal title to the property. This includes the owner and/or the landlord of the property.
Unless it is otherwise conveyed in the lease, it is assumed that the tenant is obliged to pay rent for the use of the property. There are cases in which a tenant is not obliged to pay rent and this includes times during which the dwelling is deemed to be uninhabitable by the tenant. If a property has been deemed to violate state housing codes, state landlord tenant law in most states says that a tenant is free to not pay rent until the situation has been rectified.
State landlord tenant law also strictly forbids a landlord from exercising any type of discrimination when it comes to renting his apartment. Any prospective tenant who believes he or she has been subjected to discrimination on the part of the landlord can file a complaint with HUD. It is a federal offense for a landlord to discriminate against a tenant based on their sex, religion, race, age, disability or sexual preference.
Landlord/tenant relationships and leases can be the source of endless amounts of conflict. A tenant needs to know their rights before they can determine if their rights have been violated or not or to determine if they need to hire a lawyer or not to assist them in a dispute.
State landlord tenant law says that a landlord has the right to evict a tenant who chronically pays their rent late or not at all, commits damage to the property or has a pet if the lease strictly says no pets are allowed or if the unit is being occupied by people whose name(s) do not appear on the lease. Continue reading
Anyone who has signed a lease and become a tenant has the right to a safe and habitable dwelling. This is spelled out in nearly every state’s landlord/tenant legislation. Whenever a tenant signs a lease and enters into a landlord/tenant relationship, they take on certain obligations and receive certain rights in return.
It is very easy to become a tenant, right after signing the lease document with your landlord, you assume this new status. Every tenant has the right to live in a home that is safe from environmental hazards and has safe locks on the doors. It is a tenant right to have a working smoke detector in the apartment and to know that the plumbing and heating in the apartment is in good working order. In apartments where these things have not been provided, the tenant is entitled to make a complaint to the landlord. The landlord is obligated to attend to the matters and rectify them within a reasonable period of time.
It is also a tenant right to have an apartment that he or she is entitled to live in with “quiet enjoyment.” This is an often misunderstood term that many people think entitles them to live in an apartment that is free of extraneous noise. Continue reading