The rise in interest rates is motivating many people to rent instead of buying a property. Are you one of the many choosing renting over buying? If so, you should be aware of your rights as a tenant.
You might think that all your rights are established in your lease. But, that’s far from the truth. Before signing any contract or searching for your new rental, you must learn the most important tenant rights.
Not sure what are your rights as a tenant? We’ve you covered. We’ll explain the basics about renter rights and which you should keep in mind. Read on to learn more.
What are the Rights of a Tenant?
You may think that your rights as a tenant are everything in your lease. Renters rights are the basic obligations landlords must meet during your lease term. Most of the terms included in your lease are negotiable not, tenant legal rights.
Every state has their own real estate regulations. Be aware that your rights and options may vary based on your location. Before searching your rental by state, you should learn more about the applicable laws in the area you are renting.
Yet, there are some basic renter rights that most jurisdictions follow. Here are 5 renters rights you should keep in mind before signing any lease.
1. Landlords Can’t Refuse to Lease You a Property Based on a Discriminatory Reason
The Fair Housing Act (FHA) protects tenants from discrimination based on reasons such as color, race, religion, among other discriminatory reasons. You should consider contacting or filing a complaint with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) if you believe your landlord is denying your lease on this basis.
2. Your Landlord Must Maintain the Leased Property in Livable Condition
Your landlord must maintain the leased property in reasonable habitable conditions. Almost all states impose this responsibility on all residential landlords. The leased property must meet all the regulatory building codes.
3. Landlords Must Return the Security Deposit According to the Applicable State Laws
When you take a lease, your landlord may ask you for a security deposit of the first month’s rent. In some cases, they even ask for the last month’s rent. Landlords request this deposit to cover any cleaning, damages and unpaid rent.
States such as Tennessee and West Virginia don’t impose a deadline on landlords to return the deposit. In contrast, states like New Jersey and Texas impose a 30-day deposit return deadline. As a tenant, you have the right to receive your deposit according to your state laws.
4. Your Landlord Can’t End Your Lease Based on a Discriminatory Reason
The FHA protects tenants from landlords rescinding their leases for a discriminatory reason. You should contact the HUD to file a complaint if you are a victim of this type of discrimination.
5. Landlords Must Provide Prior Notice Before Entering the Property
As a tenant, you have the right to privacy in your leased property. Landlords must provide prior notice before entering the property. During an emergency such as leaks, landlords may access the property without notice.
Bottom Line About Your Tenant Rights
There are many misconceptions about the legal rights of renters. Many renters believe their lease outlines their tenant rights.
Yet, most of the terms in your lease are negotiable, not renters rights. Before signing any lease, you should research your rights as a tenant in your area.