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WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS AS A TENANT?

rentersGuideSignIt’s difficult to address the tenants’ rights without also mentioning what the responsibilities of both the tenant and owner/landlord are as well. So we will discuss them here.

– As a tenant, you have the right to live in a safe and sanitary home and to have repairs made within a reasonable amount of time. You have the right to call a health or housing inspector if you think there is a code violation on the property you are renting. It is the owner’s responsibility to make sure the property complies with health and building codes, and to make repairs in a timely manner. It is your responsibility to contact the proper person for maintenance requests, be it either the owner themselves or a management company they have hired. Do not expect to have a credit on your rent for any work you do or have done at your own expense without prior permission from the owner/landlord to do so.

– You have the right to privacy, the right to peaceful  and quiet enjoyment. The landlord (or owner’s agent or vendor assigned) may enter the property for any reason (to do inspections, repairs, maintenance, etc.), but must notify you first. By signing a lease, you have been given the right to enjoy the property. All rights to possess the property are yours during your lease period. It is also your responsibility to keep noise levels down so as to be considerate to your neighbors.

– A tenant has the right to notice of any lease term changes. It is your responsibility to abide by the lease agreement and the owner’s responsibility to abide by the law in taking proper action if the lease terms are not followed. If you are being asked to leave the property for any reason, it is your right to remain in the property until proper procedure is taken. You have the right to remain in the property until you are legally evicted by a court. The landlord does not have the right to lock you out of the property. You must be notified of any changes to your lease agreement in writing.

– The right to have written receipts for rent and/or deposits protects you from any questions as to whether or not rent has been paid. If paying by check or through bill pay or other online avenues, you will have a way to trace your payment. If paying by cash or money order make sure you get a receipt so that there is no question. It is your responsibility to pay your full rent on time.

– Be sure to always let your landlord know in advance when you are planning to move out (if your lease states written notice must be given, do not assume that a verbal notice will suffice). Following all the procedures during this time will help the move out process go smoothly. You have the right to receive your refundable security deposit back within 30 days of moving out minus any charges or expenses or within 15 days of giving your forwarding address to the landlord, whichever is later. Again, be sure that you have a receipt showing that you paid that so that there is never a question about what you paid and what portion of the deposit was refundable. It is the owner/landlord’s responsibility to give you an accounting of what charges there were or what reasons there were for not getting back the full amount.

– As a tenant, you have rights. The rights you have are contingent on your responsibilities and because of your rights, the owner has certain responsibilities as well. This list may help you  be certain, that the owner of your property is following the correct guidelines to make sure that your rights are protected. If at any time you feel that your rights are not being met you have the right to take your lease to a lawyer for review at your own expense. It is your responsibility to take action if you feel your rights have not been addressed.

*This information is provided as a courtesy and is not to be considered in any way legal advice.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.