In property management, there are certain conditions, rules, and regulations that should always be followed. These are called landlord-tenant laws.
A landlord-tenant law is a law that essentially dictates how the landlord-tenant relationship should function.
These do not only apply to the relationship, however. They can also regulate the lease agreement or the rental agreement.
If you are not aware of your local or state landlord tenant laws, you have come to the right place.
In this guide, we will be going over the top 10 most important landlord tenant laws that exist in most states.
To begin, we will be going over what landlord tenant laws are and why they are important.
What are Landlord Tenant Laws?
Landlord tenant laws include the rights and obligations that each landlord and each tenant must follow. These can apply to those with rental properties, commercial properties, self-storage properties, and any other property that is managed by a landlord.
In order to stay within the boundaries of these laws, both parties must know the basics of renting, how to pay rent, collecting the security deposit, and much more. They must also be familiar with the basics of state and local laws regarding fair housing, discrimination, and the power of a written rental agreement.
Also, it is especially important to remember that these laws are important for the tenant as well. Landlord tenant laws can help tenants understand their tenant safety rights, regulations on security deposits, written notices, and much more. They can also find information about the tenant act, which essentially provides them extra protection and rights.
For the landlord, these laws contain all the information about how they must respect tenant rights, how to evict tenants from the rental property, what can be done when a tenant fails to follow the lease agreement, and so much more.
Now, although we cannot provide information on every single landlord tenant law in this one guide, you can find all information regarding you state by visiting DoorLoop's Laws Page.
So, without further ado, let's go over the 10 most important landlord tenant laws everyone must follow.
Top 10 Most Important Landlord Tenant Laws
Below, we have collected the top 10 most important landlord tenant laws that every landlord and tenant should be sure to follow.
First on our list are discrimination laws. Discrimination laws are laws that protect tenants and landlords from anything that can be considered discriminatory. Many processes of the property management world can be considered discriminatory.
This includes things like advertising rental properties, screening tenants, or setting the rules in an apartment. When doing any of these things, it is important for the landlrod or property manager to make sure they are in compliance with all Fair Housing laws.
This means making sure that all actions and procedures are applied to everyone. And, it means that nothing must be done that can possibly be construed as affecting only a portion of people. Even if the intent was not to discriminate, landlords can still be sued.
And the worst part? Discrimination lawsuits can cost the landlord upwards of $50,000, not including a lawyer and court fees. So, be sure to pay close attention to everything that is done within your business.
Providing a Safe Environment
Next on the list is the landlord's respionsibility to provide the tenant with a safe and habitable environment. This means that the rental unit cannot have any serious problems or safety hazards.
It also means that all appliances should be in working order. All lighting fixtures, plumbing, and heating systems should also be in working order. Also, the entire property should be free of any insects or pests.
The landlord can also specify in the lease agreement what each party is responsible for in terms of maintenance. This can vary by state, so it is important to check with your state's specific laws.
However, it is important to note that the landlord is not only responsible for the property's condition at move-in, but also throughout the entire tenancy. This is done through maintenance requests and work orders. The next item on our list will go over the laws on conducting maintenance and repairs on the property.
There are also landlord tenant laws that dictate how repairs and maintenance must be handled on rental properties. This law affects both the landlord and the tenant.
The tenant has the responsibility of reporting any repairs that need to be done that have been specified in the lease agreement. Then, the landlord has the responsibility of taking care of the issue in a quick and timely manner.
If the landlord does not conduct the requested repairs, the tenant may even withold rent money until it is finished. This is especially relevant when the lack of repairs can possibly affect the health and wellbeing of the tenant.
Next on the list are security deposit laws. These laws are important because most, if not all, lease agreements contain some clause on security deposits. However, it is important that every landlord consult with their local and state laws before adding scecuirty deposits to the agreement.
These laws can dictate everything about security deposits. This includes how much can be collected, what can be done with it, and whether or not it has to be returned. Most laws state that the landlord should create an itemized list of any deductions from the security deposit. This allows the tenant to know exactly where their money went and what is was used for.
The next law on the list is regarding the event where a tenant abandons a rental property. Abandonemnt occurs after a tenant stops paying rent for a rental property and leaves personal belongings behind.
In this case, it is important that the landlord is careful with what they do. The landlord is responsible for notifying the tenant about how to claim the property, the cost of storing their items, and how long they have before the property is reoccupied.
Your local and state laws can determine what to do with the tenant's personal belongings. This could be either staying with the property or selling the property at a public sale.
Legal Lease Documents
Although this may be self-explanatory, it is the landlord's duties to provide the legal paperwork for a rental property. Usually in the form of a lease agreement, it is the landlord's responsibility to include things like leasing periods, monthly rental rates, and tenant names.
Your local and state laws can provide more information regarding what information must be included. It can also determine what specific clauses and legal disclosures must be included, discussed more below.
As mentioned before, many states require landlords to provide certain legal disclosures before the tenant even moves in. These disclosures can include important state laws, individual landlord policies, or rules about the rental unit.
Many states have different requirements on what the landlord must disclose to the tenant. The landlord is typically responsible for disclosing information about mold, recent deaths, sex offenders, lead-based paint, meth contamination, or other safety hazards.
Next on the list is the tenant's right to privacy. This is also referred to as the tenant's right to quiet enjoyment. What this means is that the tenant has the right to live on the property without being disturbed.
This comes into play once the tenant moves in. Meaning, once the tenant takes possession of the property, the landlord cannot interfere. Because of this, the landlord must provide proper notice before they enter the property, especially if it is for an inspection.
If the landlord becomes aware of any illegal activity taking place within one of their rental properties, it is their responsibility to report it to the authorities. This activity could include drug use, distribution, domestic violence, or much worse.
If a landlord does not report the illegal activity occurring in the rental property, they can face significant legal punishments. So, for this reason, it is important to make sure that everything is always reported.
Last on our list of the most important landlord tenant laws are laws regarding the safety features of the rental unit. This means providing information about any smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and much more. This also varies depending on your state so it is important to review your state-specific laws.
It is obvious that following all landlord tenant laws is something extremely important. If any of the parties fail to follow these laws, they can face significant punishment. Also, since these laws are continuously changing, it is important to repeatedly check the most recent laws to make sure you are up to date.