Tenant Rights Law
If you are reading this article, there is a good chance that you are a tenant or a landlord who is quickly trying to brush up on tenants rights law that is applicable in your state. One must understand that tenants rights law varies slightly from state to state although the description of the most important laws, mentioned below, is generally applicable to all states in the U.S. Without much further ado, here is a quick and general summary of tenants rights law that is applicable in any state in the U.S.
Security deposits – tenants rights law – It is legal for landlords to seek a security deposit in all the 50 states in the U.S. However, tenants rights law will usually regulate the amount of security deposit that can be sought. It will usually be an equivalent of one or two months of rent although certain states and certain cities will allow landlord to charge up to three months of rent as security deposit if the apartment is in a furnished condition. Additionally, tenants rights law in some states will mandate that the landlord must keep the security deposit amount in an interest bearing account that is separate from the personal and business finances of the landlord. According to tenants rights law in some states, the landlord will have to return the security deposit and add any interest that has been earned on it while it was deposited at the bank. The tenants rights law in all states require that a security deposit amount should be refunded in a certain period of time that will be dependent on the individual state or city laws.
Repairs – tenants rights law – Generally, tenants rights law in all states will make the landlord liable for any repairs that are related to normal wear and tear. The tenants rights law in most states however are a little vague when it comes to suggesting a time frame to carry out the repairs. The tenants rights law in most states will simply state that the repairs must be carried out in a reasonable amount of time. Repairs in rental contracts are subject to a lot of disputes and it is recommended that tenants read the tenants rights law about repairs very carefully before disputing a rental agreement or before carrying out repairs on their own. The tenants rights law in some states will allow tenants to carry out repairs themselves and then get reimbursed from the landlord although landlords are notoriously known for dodging such reimbursements. However, tenants rights law will allow a tenant to sue a landlord in small claims court and also allow them to break the lease when the landlord has blatantly tried to take advantage of the tenant by not carrying out repairs when they were legally liable to do so.
Evictions – tenants rights law – Evictions is another very sensitive issue in rental contracts. Landlords often get very frustrated with delinquent tenants and simply change the locks or shut off the utilities in an effort to get rid of the tenant. However, the tenants rights law in most states will not allow this kind of activity and an eviction can only usually be executed by a sheriff’s department that has a court issued eviction notice. The landlord will have to file an eviction case in court before the judge can hear the case and pass on the eviction order to the sheriff’s department.