Do You Have Rights as a Tenant?
When you have a conflict with your landlord, it’s difficult to know how to handle it. Do you become assertive, confrontational, or do you say nothing?
It’s hard to determine where to draw the line because you might fear your lease not getting renewed, maintenance slacking off, or hostility when you need the landlord for a repair in the future.
For these reasons, you need to be aware of your rights as a tenant. In the following guide, we take a brief look at the general rights of renters as the laws concerning tenants differ slightly between states.
Going in with the Right Attitude
Some of us may feel resentment towards a landlord especially when they hike the rent and do very little in terms of upgrades and maintenance but renting helps a lot of people with a home whether you aren’t ready to buy a house or cannot get approved for a mortgage.
When you see the value in renting, it becomes a lot easier to manage the landlord and tenant relationship especially when things go wrong.
Your Right as a Tenant
Common Laws Include:
Paying your monthly rent on time
Managing the condition of the property (basic maintenance)
Tenants must pay the agreed upon amount for a deposit
Agreed upon inspections between the landlord and tenant
One of the easiest ways to protect your rights as a renter is to read the lease (and preferably before you sign it). The lease describes everything that you need to know concerning your role as a tenant so if you feel that a situation is unfair, turn to your lease for guidance.
When you decide to approach the landlord about an issue, always do so in a courteous manner. First, bring it to their attention, then discuss the matter in a friendly and straightforward approach. If they aren’t willing to cooperate reasonably, you can point to the lease and use it as evidence to support your argument.
An example of a difficult situation would be maintenance. Landlords need to maintain things like the HVAC and perform property inspections. These are scheduled for each renter. If you deny these, then the landlord has the right to act but inspections that involve the inside of your apartment should always have you notified before anyone makes their way into your home. If landlords don’t give you notice, then it is their fault for entering your home without your permission.
By checking your lease, you can determine when the landlord can perform inspections and whether you should get 24 hours notice prior to the inspection.
Landlords have the right to look into your background. From your credit score to your criminal history, some might believe this is and invasion of privacy, but landlords are within their full right to perform a detailed background check.
If you have a dispute with the landlord then you can try to resolve it with a third party such as a real estate lawyer or you can lodge a complaint against them at a local housing council.
Before you decide to pursue the legal route, always ensure that all remedies have been exhausted to maintain a positive relationship.
Learn the Tenant Rights in Your State
Understanding your rights as a renter can help you protect your interests. It can also help you maintain your tenancy and ensure that matters are resolved quickly and smoothly.
Look at the rules and regulations pertaining to your state to help you with the lease. These rules ensure that you uphold a positive relationship with the landlord and a satisfying or rewarding tenancy.
You have rights as a renter but your landlord has rights too.