Rent Laws and Regulations

Introduction

Have you ever wondered if an application fee has a maximum? Or if a clause in a lease is sensible? Any one has ever rented, you probably have.

It's important to be aware of the body of laws that regulate renting. There are rules that regulate how tenants are chosen, buildings are maintained, leases are negotiated, and more.

General and Federal Laws

There are some laws that exist in nearly every state and some that are national.

  • Implied Warranty of Habitability: You are entitled to a safe and livable residences. This involves the basics: a roof, access to hot water, a heater, walls, absense of danger, and absence of vermin.
  • Duty to Mitigate Damages: Property managers are required to mitigate damages for tenants. So, if you break your lease, your landlord is required to look for someone new to fill the vacancy. Similarly, if you find a new, qualified tenant for your property manager, they are required to fill the vacancy.
  • Privacy: Tenant's have a right to privacy that vary on a state basis. Typically, landlords can't come into your place of residence without prior notice. Also, some types of information that property managers gather are protected and should not be shared.
  • Fair Housing Act: Tenant's cannot be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status, and disability.
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act: If a property manager does a credit or background check, you have the right to get a copy and dispute inaccuracies.

Partners and Resources

  • Tenant Advocacy Groups: These groups are great resources to connect and talk with. They'll be able to answer even the silliest of questions.