If you are a renter, you are afforded certain rights as a tenant. Your landlord is also afforded certain rights. The difference is that your landlord is responsible for providing certain things under the protection of the law.
If you are paying your rent (and in some cases, even if you are not up to date on rent), your landlord is legally bound to provide and maintain certain aspects of a comfortable living space. Knowing your rights can give you the power to afford yourself proper treatment as a renter.
Here is a brief look into some of the specifics involving the legal responsibilities of your landlord and your rights as a tenant.
Know your rights as you search
Even before you are a formal tenant, you have housing rights protected by the law. Prospective landlords are not allowed to deny you the right to rent a property due to your skin color, social status, sexual orientation, sex or age, familial status, or a physical/mental disability.
A person acting as a landlord is not legally allowed to make preferential statements based on any of the aforementioned elements. They are also not allowed to kick you out because of any of the defining elements mentioned.
You have a right to request maintenance
You have the right to live in a comfortable and safe home, and your landlord is legally responsible for making sure the home is properly maintained. If you have a leaking roof, holes in the floors, bad wiring, or doors and windows that don’t work, then your landlord is legally responsible for rectifying those situations. You do NOT have to live in a death trap.
Landlords are to respect your privacy
Your landlord is not allowed to just enter your home at any time. Legally, landlords have to give you warning before they enter your place.
Depending on where you are renting, your landlord has to give you anywhere from 24-48 hours of notice before they enter your home. The exception to this rule is an emergency situation like a fire or flood.
You have a right to get your deposit back
Your landlord has the legal obligation to treat every tenant the same on deposit requirements. You are also afforded the right to have your deposit returned at the end of your lease agreement. If your landlord returns just a portion (or none) of your deposit, you should then request an itemized report of the justified costs.
The right to fully understand an eviction
Finally, you have the right to understand and have warning of an eviction. If your landlord decides that you need to go, you have the right to know why. You also have the right to at least 30 days notice of vacation of the property.