Common Renter Laws that are Applicable in the U.S.
In any of the 50 states in the U.S., there will be a long list of renter laws that are applicable to a rental contract. This article will try to touch upon some of those renter laws through a brief summary, as shown below. If one is interested in reading the actual renter laws material that is applicable in a certain state, they will have to go through a state issued handbook on tenancy laws. These handbooks can be obtained at public libraries although renter laws for a particular state are also usually available for download at the state websites as well. Coming back to a summary on renter laws, please quickly go through the passage below to understand some of the most fundamental renter laws in the U.S.
Rental application process – renter laws – The renter laws in all states will prohibit landlords from discriminating against potential tenant applications in any manner. For example, renter laws will prevent discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, immigration status, and handicap status and so on. Also, some states have some very specific renter laws about rental application fees and the rental application process. For example, the renter laws in some states will require landlords to furnish a document of eligibility to a tenant as a pre requirement if they are collecting rental application fees from them.
Increases in rent – renter laws – Generally, renter laws will restrict landlords from increasing the rent during the course of a lease. Landlords can usually only increase rent at the end of a lease, and that too only after providing sufficient notice, as required by the state government that is applicable. However, tenancy laws will allow landlords to increase rent on a periodic lease by providing one rent period as the notice period. Also, renter laws in some jurisdiction will involve rent control. In these cases, the landlords will have to get their rent increase approved by the rent control board before they are able to impose it on the tenant.
Security deposit limits and refunds – renter laws – The renter laws in America will usually impose a limitation on the security deposit that can be charged although there are a handful of states that will allow landlords to charge any amount as security deposit, as they please. However, the tenancy laws are quite uniform about the security deposit refund in the sense that a security deposit will have to be refunded within a 3-7 week period, depending on the jurisdiction that is applicable to a rental contract.
Eviction procedures – renter laws – Throughout America, a tenant can be forced out of an apartment or evicted only after the authorized courts have issued a court ordered eviction notice. It is illegal for landlords to lock tenants out of their apartments or shut off the utilities to an apartment in an effort to make the tenants leave, even if the tenant has not paid rent in a timely manner. Most states will allow tenants to counter sue a landlord if the landlord has indulged in retaliation tactics as mentioned above.