Renting Laws – Repairs, Rent Increases, Evictions, Security Deposits
This article will quickly summarize renting laws that are applicable to repairs, security deposits, eviction procedures and rent increases. It is important that tenants read up on these renting laws if they want to protect their tenant rights in a renting arrangement. Most rental disputes arise out of a misunderstanding or a lack of knowledge of these common renting laws.
Repairs – renting laws –According the renting laws in most states, the landlord will be responsible for repairs that are essential to keeping a rental property in a habitable condition. In other words, renting laws will require the landlord to attend to repairs if they are related to problems such as heat, door locks, windows, running water etc. However, renting laws will remove this obligation for the landlord if the tenant has caused the damage with their actions. For example, if a tenant broke a window out of carelessness during some horseplay, renting laws will free the landlord of any obligation to fix that broken window as it is not a damage that was caused by normal wear and tear. Renting laws will usually specify that the landlord must carry out any repairs they are liable for in a reasonable amount of time. Tenants may break the lease and vacate the apartment if the landlord ignores requests for repairs. As another option, renting laws will also allow the tenant to carry out their own repairs and then withhold rent or make deductions to future rent to reimburse themselves for the repair expenses.
Security deposits – renting laws – According to renting laws, a landlord must charge a security deposit only if it is equal to or lower than the maximum permissible security deposit amount set forth by the state. Most states limit the legal amount of security deposit to an equivalent of one month’s rent although tenants will have to check the renting laws in their particular state as some states will allow up to three months of rent to be collected as security deposit.
Eviction procedures – renting laws – According to renting laws in most states, it is illegal for a landlord to carry out an eviction on their own. In other words, landlords are prohibited from indulging in acts of retaliation such as lockouts, utility shutoffs etc, even if the tenant has not paid rent or has violated the terms of a lease. Renting laws will require the landlord to go through the court system to obtain an eviction order which will then be executed by the sheriff’s department. Many landlords try to avoid filing an eviction case in court as it is often a long and frustrating process although it is mandatory in most states.
Rent increase – renting laws – Generally, renting laws will not allow an increase in rent during the course of rental tenure. However, a landlord may increase rent at the end of a lease period although rent laws will require the landlord to provide due notice before effecting an increase in rent. Also, tenancy laws in some states will require that the landlord only increase rent after consulting the rent board if their property is subject to rent control.