Your Rights as an Apartment Tenant
You finally did it! After an exhaustive apartment hunt, your landlord hands you the keys to your new rental and you finally have a new place to call home. You feel great now. But, it pays to learn a little more about your rights as a tenant in case things go south.
The rental market is booming. More people are choosing to rent than ever before. The simplicity and flexibility renting offers are just two of the reasons why the number of renter households increased by 9 million between 2005 and 2015, which is the most significant increase over any 10-year period.
Even though state and local laws vary when it comes to your rights as a tenant, there are several general guidelines to protect you while apartment hunting as well as after you get the keys to your new unit.
Federal law prohibits landlords from discriminating against apartment rental applicants based on a plethora of characteristics. These include religion, country of origin, race, skin color, sex, age, familial status, and disability. Even though we’ll be covering your rights as a tenant, it’s important to know that you also have protections while searching for an apartment, before even signing a lease.
Your Right to a Habitable Home
As a tenant, you have the right to a comfortable home, and it’s the landlord’s responsibility to provide that. If you find any concerning living conditions in your apartment, it’s crucial to let management or the landlord know as soon as possible to avoid the possibility of the responsibility falling in your hands.
According to Landlordology, it’s clear that regardless of what state you live in, landlords have to provide tenants with a clean, warm space. They’re also required to maintain the structure, keep the plumbing and electrical systems in order, make timely repairs and keep the unit hazard-free. Those are all a part of the Implied Warranty of Habitability, which is a legal doctrine that holds landlords accountable for honoring your rights as a tenant.
Your Privacy vs. Landlord’s Right to Enter Apartment
Typically, even though you have rights as a tenant, the fact that your landlord has ownership of the property gives them a set of legal rights to enter your apartment as well. To come into your unit, they’d have to provide at least a 24-hour notice in advance. Of course, there are always exceptions in the case of emergencies or just depending on your local laws.
Landlords or management can enter your apartment for one of the following: for service repairs, inspections, in case of an emergency or to show the unit.
Tip: Document Everything!
Remember, enforcing your rights as a tenant is easier when you have documentation of conditions in your unit. One of the best ways to start off on the right foot when moving into your apartment is to photograph everything and keep a written record of any repairs your apartment needs. This is important for when you move out of the premises. Your landlord might attempt to make you pay for damages that were there when you moved in, which means that having photos of the apartment could help you defend your case.
As we mentioned before, state and local laws get very specific when outlining your rights as a tenant. So we highly recommend consulting those when it comes to enforcing your rights as a tenant. Your rights and experience as a renter matter and Infinity Insurance is here to give you the right coverage for your apartment home. Call an Infinity agent at 1-800-INFINITY or get a quote online!
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