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© 2006 Consumer Jungle 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
© 2006 Consumer Jungle Find out Average Rent Know average rent for area Cost of Living Calculator –http://www.bankrate.co m/brm/movecalc.asphttp://www.bankrate.co m/brm/movecalc.asp –Compare rent between two cities
© 2006 Consumer Jungle Landlord Tenant Law
© 2006 Consumer Jungle The Players Tenant (Lessee): Somebody who rents a house or apartment for a fixed period of time. Landlord (Lessor): A person that owns property that is rented to tenants.
© 2006 Consumer Jungle Know the Basics Length of the Lease –Month-to-month –6 months –1 year Amount of Rent Amount of Security deposit
© 2006 Consumer Jungle 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
© 2006 Consumer Jungle Good-Tenant Criteria? Application Fee for Screening –Credit check & bankruptcies –Employment & Income –Rental history & evictions –References Applies to each tenant Non-refundable
© 2006 Consumer Jungle 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
© 2006 Consumer Jungle 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
© 2006 Consumer Jungle 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!
© 2006 Consumer Jungle 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”
© 2006 Consumer Jungle 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.
© 2006 Consumer Jungle Illegal Contract Provisions –Giving up your right to defend yourself in court –Limiting the landlord’s liability for things they’re normally responsible for
© 2006 Consumer Jungle Landlord’s Maintenance Responsibilities Weatherproofing Available heat Water Electricity Clean, sanitary, & structurally safe Smoke detectors Security-Locks & keys
© 2006 Consumer Jungle 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
© 2006 Consumer Jungle 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
© 2006 Consumer Jungle 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
© 2006 Consumer Jungle 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
© 2006 Consumer Jungle 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
© 2006 Consumer Jungle 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
© 2006 Consumer Jungle 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
© 2006 Consumer Jungle 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.
© 2006 Consumer Jungle 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
© 2006 Consumer Jungle 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
© 2006 Consumer Jungle 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
© 2006 Consumer Jungle 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
© 2006 Consumer Jungle Where to Go for Help Your state Attorney General’s office Your state Housing and Urban Development (HUD) department www.lawhelp.org –Choose your state/Housing –Download state-specific information
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© 2006 Consumer Jungle Landlord Tenant Law. © 2006 Consumer Jungle Importance of Landlord Tenant Law You’re living on your own now You must know the rights.
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