Presentation on theme: "Independent Living: Renting and Leasing. Importance of Landlord Tenant Law You’re living on your own now You must know the rights and responsibilities."— Presentation transcript:
Independent Living: Renting and Leasing
Importance of Landlord Tenant Law You’re living on your own now You must know the rights and responsibilities of The tenant (that’s you) The landlord
The Tenant and Landlord Tenant: Somebody who rents a house or apartment for a fixed period of time. Landlord: A person that owns property that is rented to tenants.
Roles of Landlord Provide tenant with lease agreement Fix appliances in a timely manner Collect rent/deposit Resolve complaints Abide by laws (30 day notice) Abide by building codes (insulation, electrical) Repair pre-existing conditions prior to move in date
Roles of Tenant Keep place habitable Pay rent on time Courteous to neighbors Sign lease agreement within designated time frame Observe conditions prior to moving in and write them on lease agreement Pay for damages that occur during residency Clean when moving out
Tenant’s Maintenance Responsibilities Pay rent and utilities on time Comply with local ordinances Noise Business out of home Keep unit clean and sanitary Dispose of garbage properly Respect common areas Lobbies, garages, and pools
Tenant Responsibilities Properly operate heating, plumbing, and electrical systems Don’t intentionally or carelessly damage dwelling Don’t interfere with other tenants’ use of the property Return the unit to the same condition as when you moved in
Find out Average Rent Know average rent for area Rent in a downtown city is usually more expensive Rent can include utilities, gas, and water in price
Know the Basics Length of the Lease Month-to-month 6 months 1 year Amount of Rent Amount of Security deposit
Rental Agreements Month-to-month rental agreement: An agreement for an unspecified period of time, with rent usually payable on a monthly basis. Provides flexibility if you’re not sure how long you’ll stay Rent or rules can be changed at any time
Lease Agreements Lease: An agreement that requires a tenant to stay for a specific amount of time and restricts the landlord’s ability to change the terms. Usually requires at least a 6- to-12 month commitment Rent and rules stay the same for the lease period
More Lease Agreements Be prepared to sign a lot of paperwork. Keep these guidelines in mind: Request a copy of the paperwork in advance. You can review it at your own pace. Become familiar with rental lingo. Read every word before you sign! Remember: If you sign it, you’re liable for it!
Other Expenses for Tenant Water Garbage/Recycling Sewer Electricity Television Telephone Internet
Good-Tenant Criteria? Application Fee for Screening Credit check, background check & bankruptcies Employment & Income Rental history & evictions References Applies to each tenant Non-refundable Cost for application ($30- 50)
Legal & Illegal Discrimination Legal Poor credit history Insufficient income Bad references Past behavior i.e. destruction of property Tenants would exceed valid occupancy policy Illegal Race Religion Ethnic background or national origin Sex Age Tenant has children (except in senior housing) Mental or physical disability Some states: Marital status or sexual orientation
Security Deposits How much can a landlord charge for a deposit? Varies by state: some have no limit Usually not more than 1 or 2 months of rent When does the landlord have to return the deposit? Varies by state: 14 days to “within a reasonable time” Not fully returned if there is damage
What to Expect in Agreements The length of the tenancy The amount of rent and deposits the tenant must pay The number of people who can live on the rental property Who pays for utilities Whether the tenant may have pets Whether the tenant may sublet the property The landlord's access to the rental property, and Who pays attorney fees if there is a lawsuit.
Renter’s Insurance Important for each tenant Landlord’s insurance won’t cover your loss Insurance covers loss to belongings: From fire & theft Depends on value of policy: $25K – 50K Deductibles start at $250
Adding a Roommate Get your landlord's approval Will adding a roommate exceed the occupancy limit? Will your new roommate meet your landlord’s good tenant criteria? Pay additional application fee. Decide how to split bills
Roommates & Rental Agreements Adding a Roommate to the Lease or Rental Agreement New lease More Roommates, save money More potential wear & tear Security Deposit Increases
Landlord’s Legal Right to Enter May need to: Make repairs Show property Must give notice Varies by state from 24 hours to “reasonable notice No notice needed: Emergency Fire Serious water leak Abandonment You can’t refuse access
Repairs Put your request in writing Give landlord time to respond. Required response time varies by state but generally: 24 hours for no hot or cold water, heat, electricity or for other hazardous or life-threatening conditions 72 hours for refrigerator, range, oven, or major plumbing problems 10 days for all other repairs
Tenant’s Rights for Repairs Options when landlord won’t repair: Pay less rent Withhold rent Make repairs Hire professional & deduct cost from rent Call building inspector Mediate or go to court Move out (give notice) Varies by state
When You Can Be Evicted Not paying rent Even if one day late with rent Three-day notice to pay or move out required Not complying with terms of rental agreement Ten-day notice to comply or move out required For creating a waste or nuisance Three-day notice to move out required No option to stay to correct problem
More When You Can Be Evicted No cause Varies by state Twenty-day notice required May not be discriminatory or retaliatory If tenant refuses to vacate, landlord can obtain court order and request sheriff to move belongings.
Illegal Landlord Actions Even if you’re behind in rent Lockouts Utility shutoffs Taking your property (unless you abandon it) Retaliatory actions
When the Tenant Breaks the Lease Tenant can legally break the lease if: Landlord fails to make repairs Fails to comply with health & safety Tenant responsible for remainder of rent under lease term Landlord has duty to find a new tenant
When the Landlord Breaks the Lease Landlord can legally break the lease if: Tenant pays rent late, has a dog under a no-pet clause, or damages property. Landlord may: Give time to change i.e. find a new home for the dog Ask tenant to leave How varies by state
When You Move Out Provide written notice according to your rental or lease agreement. Rental: Usually 30-day notice Lease: You’re responsible for rent for remaining leasing term unless landlord can rent unit
More When You Move Out Clean apartment and leave in same condition as when you moved in (except normal wear and tear) Leave forwarding address for deposit return Leave keys Review pre-existing conditions on lease so that those issues are not deducted from deposit
How to Protect Yourself Ask parents to walk through rental with you Take pictures of everything (include date on photo) Go through rental check list
Where to Go for Help Your state Attorney General’s office Your state Housing and Urban Development (HUD) department www.lawhelp.org www.lawhelp.org Choose your state/Housing Download state-specific information