Tenancy Rights – A Quick Overview
A tenant residing in any state in the U.S. is often entitled to several tenancy rights that apply to various aspects of a tenant agreement such as security deposits, eviction procedures, privacy rights etc. This article will quickly go over some of the basic tenancy rights that are applicable in a rental or lease contract. However, one must also be advised that every state has its own variation of the below mentioned tenancy rights and that one should further research the tenancy rights that are specifically applicable to their state of residence.
Rights to privacy – tenancy rights – Most state laws will allow a tenant to enjoy the occupation of their rental property without an intrusion of privacy, even by the landlord. If the landlord needs to make an entry into a rental property, tenancy rights will usually require that they provide written notice before they do so. Tenancy rights will also require that the landlord only enter at reasonable times even if they have provided a written notice of entry. Landlords may enter a rental property that is in occupation by a tenant only for valid reasons such as inspection or property showings to prospective clients. Tenants must also remember that their tenancy rights in regards to privacy do not apply in emergency situations where the landlord is free to enter at will, without any notice.
Rights to security deposit refunds – tenancy rights – A tenant in any state has the right to receive a refund of their security deposit within a certain period that will usually range between two weeks to about 45 days. If a landlord is holding back the security deposit or making deductions from it, tenancy rights will allow a tenant to demand a written explanation of the deductions. The written notice will need to be supported by bills and invoices for the repair work that is carried out. In addition to this, tenancy rights in some states will allow a tenant to get back their security deposits in addition to any interest that might have been earned on the security deposits while it was kept in an interest earning bank account by the landlord.
Rights to receive notice of eviction – tenancy rights – Most states will protect the tenant to a certain degree even if they have not paid rent. For example, tenancy rights will not allow landlord to change the locks of an apartment or cut off the utilities to an apartment even if the tenant has not paid rent or has violated the terms of the lease. Tenancy rights in most states will allow a tenant to first appeal their eviction case in court and all eviction orders will need to be carried out through a court ordered process.
Rights to a habitable condition – tenancy rights – All 50 states in the U.S. have their tenancy rights structured in such a way that a landlord is always obligated to provide a rental property that is habitable and safe. Tenancy rights to a habitable condition means that tenants can always demand an apartment that is clean, sanitary and with working heat, electricity and running water. Some states will also require that rental properties have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in order to comply with tenancy rights of that particular state.