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Overview of Tenants Rights

Apartment Living
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Having an overview of tenants rights is very important before you sign a lease in any rental situation. Being treated properly by your landlord is essential to your safety and comfort, and it’s reassuring to know that you’re backed by the law when it comes to certain aspects of your rental situation.

Overview of Tenants Rights

Below is a brief overview of tenants rights. Some details may vary depending on your area, but this is a good list of basics to use as you begin the process of becoming an informed renter.

Your Rights Include:

  • No discrimination.

Landlords cannot discriminate against you for race, religion, gender, age, disability, or any other status. This applies during the rental process as well as during the time of the lease.
  • Habitable and safe premises.

Your rental property must be safe for you to live in. Any physical issues with the property that make it unsafe give you the right to have them fixed within a reasonable time limit. If this does not take place, you have the right to break the lease. Uninhabitable conditions would include crumbling plaster, bad infestations, faulty wiring, damaged plumbing, and many, many more.
  • Privacy

Your landlord cannot come into your property without giving you advance notice, typically at least 24 hours (this varies by state). The only exception is if you invite him in, or give him permission to come in, or if there is an emergency situation like a flood or a fire.
  • Fair treatment in the event you cannot pay.

If you can’t pay your rent and your landlord begins eviction against you, it’s a very stressful situation, but don’t lose sight of your rights. Yes, you still have them. Your landlord cannot threaten you, sell your things, or lock you out of your home without going through proper court proceedings. With bad landlords, this is a time when intimidation techniques run rampant. Don’t let him get away with it.
  • Reasonable deposit handling.

You will probably have paid a security deposit on your apartment; in some states, there is a limit as to how much this can be. In any state, it has to be reasonable based on the property. Further, the deposit needs to be equal between tenants. If you and your upstairs neighbor both pay the same rent, and neither of you has a pet, or an aquarium, or other things that could (legally) increase the deposit amount, then both of you should be paying the same deposit. If you’re not, your landlord may be guilty of discrimination.

Remember that laws will vary by state, and you should inform yourself on the details of your rights in your specific area. Read your lease carefully and question anything you feel may be out of line. It’s important to protect yourself by having a clear understanding and overview of tenants rights.

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