Renting and Tenant Rights

Rights & Obligations of Landlords & Tenants

Renting an apartment is a major commitment, for both the renter and the landlord. Each party is subject to certain rights and duties. Landlords and tenants who fail to meet their responsibilities or encroach on one another’s rights risk eviction, lawsuits and a long, inconvenient dispute process. This is why it’s important for landlords to screen potential tenants and for tenants to ask plenty of questions before signing a lease arrangement.

Rental Agreement

A leasing agreement is a legally binding document a landlord and tenant equally sign to initiate a lease. Except for provisions that violate state laws, both the tenant and landlord are bound by the conditions of the rental arrangement. Tenants will need to read rental agreements thoroughly before signing to find out about special building policies, such as using shared area and how frequently tenants are permitted to have overnight guests. Landlords must be sure to include any important provisions in the agreement and clarify them thoroughly to tenants to prevent trouble later. Though an oral contract is also valid as a lease arrangement, states such as California require landlords to provide a written synopsis of their arrangement to the renter upon taking possession of their rental unit.

State Legislation

Every state has its own set of laws governing tenant and landlord rights. Among the basic rights that tenants have is your right to a habitable, secure place. According to California’s Department of Consumer Affairs, this means that landlords must keep the rental unit reasonably clean and ensure it has sufficient insulation, heating and utility support. State laws also explain the process for withholding lease, with some states permitting tenants to place lease money in escrow before a court rules on a dispute between the tenant and landlord.

Paying Rent

Paying rent is one of a renter’s main obligations. The quantity and due date for lease ought to be contained in the agreement. Tenants who fail to pay rent on time may be permitted a grace period in the event the landlord stipulates this kind of policy in the arrangement. If a renter pays money or utilizes a money order to cover lease, landlords are bound to provide a receipt as evidence of payment. In cities with rent control, landlords may simply raise lease by a specific percentage every year.

Basic Rights

Daily life in a rental unit comprises obligations and rights for tenants. Tenants have the right to privacy, which normally implies the landlord must give 24 hours’ notice before going into the device to make repairs or perform a review. Subleasing to a different tenant may be permitted according to the conditions in a leasing agreement or under state law. In these scenarios, the landlord may have the right to screen all potential subtenants. To break a lease arrangement, tenants need to give 30 days’ notice and make the apartment available for showing to new tenants. Tenants who break a lease which hasn’t yet lapsed may be obligated to continue paying rent even when they leave the rental unit.


Disputes between landlord and tenants may be long, drawn-out processes. Local courts will offer the last ruling whenever one party decides to take legal actions against another. To get ready for a legal dispute, tenants need to keep a record of communicating with the landlord and should consult with a lawyer with expertise in law. Some leasing agreements may require the tenant to waive her right to take legal actions against the landlord, but in California, a landlord can’t require a tenant to give up her right to a trial by jury regarding a dispute, so this provision in a lease agreement is unenforceable.

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