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Independent Living: Renting and Leasing. Importance of Landlord Tenant Law  You’re living on your own now  You must know the rights and responsibilities.

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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:

1 Independent Living: Renting and Leasing

2 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

3 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.

4 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

5 Landlord’s Maintenance Responsibilities  Weatherproofing  Available heat  Water  Electricity  Clean, sanitary, & structurally safe  Smoke detectors  Security-Locks & keys

6 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

7 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

8 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

9 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

10 Know the Basics  Length of the Lease  Month-to-month  6 months  1 year  Amount of Rent  Amount of Security deposit

11 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

12 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

13 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!

14 Other Expenses for Tenant  Water  Garbage/Recycling  Sewer  Electricity  Television  Telephone  Internet

15 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)

16 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

17 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

18 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.

19 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

20 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

21 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

22 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

23 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

24 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

25 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

26 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.

27 Illegal Landlord Actions  Even if you’re behind in rent  Lockouts  Utility shutoffs  Taking your property (unless you abandon it)  Retaliatory actions

28 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

29 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

30 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

31 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

32 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

33 Where to Go for Help  Your state Attorney General’s office  Your state Housing and Urban Development (HUD) department   Choose your state/Housing  Download state-specific information


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