Common Tenant Laws Explained
All 50 states in the U.S. have their own set of tenant laws that will protect the tenant and the landlord in a renting arrangement. The passage below will go over some of the most important aspects of those tenant laws. Apart from reading this passage, tenants are also encouraged to read up on their state’s handbook on tenant laws that will usually be available at state offices or libraries. There might even be some online resources that will go over the complete list of tenant laws that are applicable in a certain state, city or jurisdiction. Coming back to general tenant laws, here is a quick summary of some important ones as promised earlier.
Laws against discrimination – tenant laws – Tenant laws in the U.S. will protect both potential tenants as well as existing tenants against any form of discrimination. Racism and a discriminatory attitude is still present in America and it is not uncommon to hear stories where biased landlords might have kicked out or ruled out potential tenants because they didn’t like their color, sex, country of origin or some other factors. Thankfully, tenant laws will make these sorts of offences punishable offenses and the general tenant population is encouraged to report any sort of discrimination on the part of landlords.
Laws about security deposits – tenant laws – The concept of security deposit was created in an effort to provide the landlord with an amount of money that they can use as a buffer against nonpayment of rent or against repairs caused by the tenant. However, some landlords have been known to collect large security deposits which they will then use for business ventures or investment purposes. Tenant laws will disallow these practices by limiting the legal amount of security deposit that can be charged. This amount will usually equal one or two months of rent in most states although there are a couple of states in the U.S. that will allow the landlord to collect any security deposit that they want. Also, tenant laws will mandate that landlords must return the security deposit once the tenant has ended the lease and has left the apartment. Tenant laws in some states will require this refund to be made within just two weeks while the tenant laws in some states will give up to 45 days of time for a landlord to refund the security deposit.
Laws about repairs – tenant laws – The responsibility for repairs and liability of repair expenses is another problematic item in tenancy contracts. Tenant laws in all states will require the landlord to be fully responsible for maintenance and wear and tear repairs to the common areas and the individual rental units of a rental property although the landlord will not be responsible for the repairs if the repairs were caused by the particular actions of a tenant. As for timelines or deadlines for repairs, tenant laws again vary from state to state with some states requiring certain essential repairs to be carried out in 72 hours while some states will give the landlord up to 14 days to carry out such repairs.
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