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Special Topics in the Landlord-Tenant Relationship 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Special Topics in the Landlord-Tenant Relationship 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Special Topics in the Landlord-Tenant Relationship 1

2  The text does well with Commercial leases, but is a bit short on residential L-T. But, another great checklist – page430  As usual with Cornell Legal Institute Information, great resource material: tenant_law  Another good site: ml 2

3 Legal document that transfers possession of real property from one party to another. The lease also may contain numerous terms and conditions involving the use and possession of the property. Residential Lease - A lease for the possession and use of a residence such as an apartment or a house. 3

4 English common law treated a lease as a combination of property and contract law. A lease transfers possession and, in some cases, is an estate for years, it is deemed to be a conveyance of real property. Leases contain numerous terms and conditions that involve the use and possession of the property. In this respect, the lease is a contract and enforceable according to the general terms of contract law. 4

5 The common law of leases made a major departure from contract law in holding that lease covenants were independent. Landlord’s promises were independent from the tenant’s, and the failure of one party to perform its obligations was not an excuse for the other party, the tenant, not to perform. 5

6 Example :  Lease may require the landlord to provide basic utility services to the premises and the tenant to pay rent.  The landlord refuses or fails to provide utility services. Does this excuse the tenant from its obligation to pay rent?  The common law theory of independent covenants said no. Tenant must continue to pay rent even though the landlord refuses to perform its obligations.  Tenant’s remedy was to sue the landlord to perform or to compensate the tenant for damages. 6

7  Many states, especially in the area of residential leases, have radically modified the independent theory of lease covenants.  Many states impose in residential leases a warranty of habitability on the landlord. This means that the landlord warrants to the tenant that the premises are capable of human habitation. Landlord must provide basic utility services, such as water, sewer, and heat.  In the event the premises prove not to be habitable, this excuses the tenant from payment of rent.  But, the common law theory of independent covenants is the law in most states as it pertains to commercial leases. 7

8  The common law rules regarding the landlord and tenant relationship have been modified in a number of states for leases of residential property by the passage of either part or all of the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA).  URLTA can be considered consumer legislation since it has the effect of tempering /modifying some of the harsher effects of common law regarding landlord and tenant relationship.  URLTA attempts to balance the playing field between landlords and tenants in residential situations by giving the tenants more rights than they would otherwise have under the general common law. 8

9 Equitable Relief Requires Good Faith  URLTA requires an obligation of good faith in landlord and tenant dealings. This means that every duty under URLTA and every act that must be performed as a condition precedent to the exercise of relief under URLTA imposes an obligation of good faith in its performance or enforcement.  For example: URLTA prohibits a retaliatory eviction by a landlord because a tenant has made complaints to public authorities about the condition of the premises or has made complaints to the landlord about its obligation to repair the premises. 9

10 URLTA prohibits certain provisions in a rental agreement. For example, the rental agreement may not provide that the tenant: 1. Agrees to waive or forego rights or remedies under URLTA; 2. Authorizes any person to confess judgment on a claim arising out of the rental agreement; 3. Agrees to pay the landlord’s attorney’s fees; 4. Agrees to the exculpation or limitation of any liability of a landlord arising under law or to indemnify the landlord for that liability or the cost connected therewith 10

11  A copy of the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, including a list of states that have adopted portions of the act, can be found at the following Web sites: 11

12  The Lease? Negotiate, or take-it-or-leave-it?  Duties of each?  Withholding Rent?  Pets?  Subletting?  How many people / families?  Abandonment?  ADA / DB thread this week 12

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