Understanding Your Rights as a Tenant

Moving into a new house or apartment is an exciting time. Although moving is not always fun , getting established and making your new place home is often a rewarding process. This is particularly true if it is your first place. However, this joy can quickly be over shadowed if your landlord takes advantage of you as a renter and you don’t understand your rights.

The easiest way to avoid this situation or decrease the likelihood of it occurring is paying attention when you sign your lease. It is very important that you read and understand everything that you are signing and that both you and the landlord are on the same page about what is expected. Unless there is something against the law, everything in the lease is legally binding.

Understanding your rights as a tenant is an important part of renting property . While there are hundreds of laws out there protecting the rights of tenants, many of them specific to each state, there are some that are consist across the board.
Every tenant has the right to humane living conditions. This means that the landlord cannot have your utilities turned off or cause them to be turned off. This also means that the landlord is responsible for making sure that the electricity, heater, and water work and that the building is structurally sound. Everything should be within the health and safety codes for your area.

The landlord cannot drop by unannounced or come into or on the property while you are away. If the landlord does need to come by for repairs or emergencies, they are typically required to give at least 24 hours notice. It is not acceptable for them to come into your home while you are away.

We are all familiar with the purpose and practice of collecting a security deposit. Many states have laws restricting the amount that a landlord can collect for a security deposit as well as the conditions for returning it or keeping it. One way to avoid problems in this area is by photographing and documenting any damages on the property before moving in. If there is a dispute over the landlord charging you for damages, ask for an itemized list.

This is just the beginning of the rights that tenants have. It is up to you to stay informed of the laws and aware of your rights; though many problems can be avoided by understanding your rental agreement and working with property manager you can trust .

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