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The FindLaw Guide to Renting an Apartment: Know Your Rights as a Tenant

The FindLaw Guide to Renting an Apartment: Know Your Rights as a Tenant

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Published by FindLaw
Landlord tenant disputes can be especially stressful because they affect what is most personal to you – where you live. Here is some information that can help.
Landlord tenant disputes can be especially stressful because they affect what is most personal to you – where you live. Here is some information that can help.

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Published by: FindLaw on Jun 05, 2012
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04/17/2013

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A Thomson Reuters Business
The FindLaw Guide to Renting an Apartment
 
The FindLaw Guide to Renting an Apartment: Know Your Rights as a Tenant
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 Te FindLaw Guide toRenting an Apartment:Know Your Rights as a enant
Table of Contents
•
Introduction
•ReviewingYourLease•SecurityDepositandRent•RepairsandMaintenanceEvictions•ShouldITalktoanAttorney?
Introduction
eremaycomeatimeduringatenancywhenalandlordtenantdisputearises.esedisputescanpopupovermanydierentissuesincludingleases,tenantrights,responsibilityforrepairstotheproperty,rent,andmore.Inmostsitua
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tions,youmaybeabletoresolvethedisputeonyourown.However,iffacedwitheviction,animproperlywithheldsecuritydeposit,orifyourunithasbeenrendereduninhab
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itable,youmayneedlegalassistance.
Reviewing Your Lease
Aleaseisacontract,soyouwillwanttounderstandwhatitsaysandhowitwillaectyou.Examinetheleasecarefullyanddon’tjustsignit.Atypicalleasewillcoverhowlongyouwillrenttheapartmentfor,howmuchyouhavetopayinrent,whomayliveintheunit,whetheryoumayhavepets,penaltiesfornotpayingrent,howtocancelthelease,andotherprovisions.Leaseswrittenonapreprintedformshouldbereviewedverycarefully,becauseitsprovisionswillprobablygreatlyfavorthelandlord.Sometermstobewaryofincludeautomaticrentincreases,sharedutilitymeters,andagreementtoobeyfuturerulesimplementedbythelandlord.Ifyoundtermsthatanyofthetermsareunacceptable,youcandiscussthetermswithyourlandlordandsuggestalterna
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tives.Ifthelandlordwon’tbudge,you’llhavetodecidewhetheryoucanlivewiththerentalterms,orifyoushouldwalkaway.Don’trelyonthelandlord’sverbalpromisetoallowornotallowsomething.Gettheleaseinwriting.Ifyouareunsureofanyprovisionsinyourlease,FindLawcanhelpyou.
Security Deposit and Rent
Whenyousignyourlease,youwillprobablybeaskedtoputdownasecuritydeposit.eamountofthedepositcanvary,butmoststateshavelawsthatrestricthowmuchalandlordcancharge.Asecuritydepositgenerallycoversthecostofanydamageorunpaidrent.Moststatesprohibitalandlordfromchargingmorethanonetotwotimestheamountofrent.Somestatesalsorequirethelandlordtoplacethesecuritydepositinabankaccountandtopaythetenantinterestonthedeposit.Aeratenantvacatesaunit,thelandlordmustreturntheunusedamountofthesecuritydepositwithinthetimespeciedbylaw.Alongwithyoursecuritydeposit,youwillbepayingrenttoyourlandlord.eamountofrentyoupayandwhenrentisdueshouldbewritteninyourlease.Moststatesdonotrecognizealegalgraceperiodforpayinglaterentandyoumayberequiredtopayalatefee.
Landlord tenant disputes can be especiallystressul because they aect what is mostpersonal to you – where you live. Here issome inormation that can help.
Page 1 o 2
 
The FindLaw Guide to Renting an Apartment: Know Your Rights as a Tenant
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Repairs and Maintenance
Atenanthastherighttoliveinahabitableproperty.Butthisdoesnotmeanthatalandlordhastoxeverythingthatyoumayndwrongwiththeapartment.Alandlordgenerallymustxanyconditionthatrendersyourunituninhabitable.ismeansthatyourlandlordmustensurethatthebuildingisstructurallysound,providehotandcoldwater,ensurethattheroofisnotleaking,andkeeptheplumbing,electricalandheatingsystemsallinsafeoperatingcondition.Also,ifarentalpropertyhasbecomeinfestedwithpests,landlordsusuallymustpayforanexterminator.Alandlordgenerallydoesnothavetoxminorproblemslikedrippingfaucets,runningtoilets,andsmallholesincarpet,unlessyourleasesaysso.
Evictions
Landlordsusuallycannotsimplykickyououtofyourapartment,evenifyouarebehindonrent.Inalmostallsituations,alandlordmustobtainacourtjudgmentbeforeevictingatenant.Generally,yourlandlordmustrstgiveyouadequatenoticeofanevictionthatmustconformtocertainformalitieslikebeinginwriting.Youareusuallygivenanopportunitytocurethedefectlikepayingbackyourlaterent.Ifyoudon’tdoanythingandcontinuelivingintheapartment,yourlandlordwillusuallylealawsuitagainstyou.Eachstatehasadifferentstandardwhenitcomestotenanteviction,andthereareoftenmanyproceduresthatmustbefollowedbeforealandlordcanlawfullyevictyou.
For More Information
Regardingrentinganapartmentandotherlandlordtenantissues,pleasevisitourwebsiteathttp://realestate.ndlaw.com
Send Us Your Feedback
We’relistening!Sendusyourfeedback
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Disclaimer: The information you obtain in this publication isnot, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consultan attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Disclaimer |Terms|Privacy 
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STOP
Should I Talk to an Attorney?
Ifyouneedadviceaboutalease,wantyoursecuritydepositback,areinvolvedinanevictionproceeding,orareinvolvedinanyotherdisputewithyourlandlordyoumayneedtospeakwithalandlord-tenantattorney.Aneectivelawyercanhelpeducateyouonstaterequirementsforlandlordsandcanensurethatyourrightsareenforced.Youcanlocateanlandlordtenantlawyernowby visitingwww.ndlaw.comandchoosingamongseveralquality-assuredlawyersinyourarea.

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