Tenant's Rights for Rentals

By Carl Hose

While certain rights are granted to landlords regarding property management and eviction, tenants are afforded certain rights by law that can help protect them against unfair treatment by landlords. Knowing the rights of your landlord, as well as your rights as a tenant, can help protect you from being evicted without cause and prevent discrimination by a landlord.

Deposit Return

As a tenant, you have the right to a return of your security deposit, providing you met all terms of a rental agreement, paid your rent on time and did not leave damage to the property (a landlord can take the security deposit to pay for damages). If you have met all these conditions and your landlord doesn't offer to return your security deposit when you move out, request in writing the return of your deposit, stating that you have met all the terms of your renter's agreement and would like your deposit returned.

Eviction Notice

While the laws of eviction vary by state, in most states notice of eviction is required before a landlord can evict. The law dictates how much notice is required. It is a tenant's right to occupy rental property until a court passes an eviction notice. Eviction is a legal process. A landlord cannot evict without judgment of eviction by a court of law. A landlord cannot shut off utilities or change the locks without a court order of eviction.

Living Conditions

Tenants have the right to living conditions that meet state guidelines regarding conditions fit to live in. If these guidelines are not met, a tenant has the right to abandon the property and file a suit against a landlord for breaking a lease. The court might rule in favor of the tenant, which could result in your landlord having to pay for the rest of the lease.

Notice of Entry

In most states, at least a 24-hour notice is required before a landlord is allowed to enter the property you're renting. The exceptions to this rule include emergency situations or to assess whether an emergency could arise if a problem is not taken care of. Landlords also have the right to enter a rental property to show the property to prospective renters if you have given notice that you will be moving out.

The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to deny a tenant a rental property based on race, sex, religion, disability, marital status or national origin. Any denial of rental property based on these factors can be grounds for a legal suit.

About the Author

Carl Hose is the author of the anthology "Dead Horizon" and the the zombie novella "Dead Rising." His work has appeared in "Cold Storage," "Butcher Knives and Body Counts," "Writer's Journal," and "Lighthouse Digest.". He is editor of the "Dark Light" anthology to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.

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