LEGAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF LANDLORDS ACCORDING TO THE LANDLORD-TENANT LAW
Landlord-tenant laws slightly vary from state to state, but there are common responsibilities every landlord is obligated to provide. The law was created as a guideline for the interactions, rights, and legal obligations for both landlords and tenants. Listed below are responsibilities every landlord must adhere to, no matter what state their rental property is located.
1. Manage Security Deposit
Landlords have the right to charge a security deposit, however, the landlord doesn't own the deposit. The security deposit is meant to be a form of security in the event the tenant doesn't pay rent, damages the property, or breaches the lease-rental agreement. Please contact the Law Offices of Jennifer R. Snyder for specific laws on the maximum charge on security deposits by state, returning the security deposit, and what to do if you sell the property to the tenant. Landlords can face legal consequences for failing to follow the landlord-tenant law.
2. Disclose Information About The Property Owner
Disclosing property owner information is the responsibility of the person signing the rental lease agreement with the tenant. If disclosure is not made, the person collecting rent becomes the person to handle all matters related to the property.
What to Disclose
Names and addresses of the property owners, who have the power to manage the building, collect rent, make repairs, and address any issues
How to Disclose
The information disclosed should be in writing before the tenant begins living on the property. The tenant must be notified of any changes.
To ensure the tenant knows the proper contact for any requests, questions, rent, and so on.
3. Deliver Possession of the Property
The property must be vacant on the move-in date specified in the rental lease agreement. If the property is not vacant by the specified date, the tenant has the right to seek legal action for failing to honor the rental agreement.
4. Maintain the Property
Landlords are responsible for keeping the property clean, safe, and habitable. They must provide any necessary repairs, including plumbing repairs, A/C repairs, and heater repairs. Click here for more information on landlord duties.
5. Liability of the Landlord
Landlords are liable for the following obligations under the landlord-tenant law and the rental-lease agreement as long as they are the owners of the property. Once the property is under new ownership, the landlord is relieved of this liability.
The landlord who originally collected the security deposit is still responsible for it. They have 2 options to relieve liability:
Transfer the rental deposit to the new owner, minus any allowed deductions, and notify the tenant in writing.
Or, return the rental deposit to the tenant, minus any allowed deductions.
Reference: Eberlin, E.. (2019, January 9). Basic Landlord Obligations Under Landlord-Tenant Law. Retrieved from https://www.thebalancesmb.com
FAQ'S ABOUT TENANT'S RIGHTS
It's very important to understand your rights as a renter. If you have any further questions, please contact the Law Offices of Jennifer R. Snyder. We want to ensure all of your rights under the landlord-tenant law are being met.
What are landlord's responsibilities for repairs and maintenance of the property?
Landlords are required to keep a rental property habitable by making repairs and maintenance. This includes making sure the heater, A/C, water, washing machine, garbage disposal, and other major appliances are working properly. The rental property must be clean and structurally safe for the tenant. Laws vary from state to state, so please contact our law office if you have any questions.
What tenant's need to do if the landlord is not keeping up with repair and maintenance to provide a habitable home
If you request any necessary repairs and the landlord fails to respond, there are a number of things you can do, including:
Depending on the state you live in, you can withhold paying rent or pay less rent until the repairs are made.
You also have the option to hire someone to make the repairs, then deduct it from the next month's rent with proof of repairs.
If the problem violates state, building, or health codes, you can contact local authorities. If inspectors find the problem violates any codes mentioned, the landlord may be ordered to fix the problem, as well as potential fines or penalties.
If the problem makes the property uninhabitable, you as the tenant can move out before the end of the rental-lease agreement. To get a lawsuit against the landlord, you must prove: 1) the uninhabitable conditions were due to the landlord's lack of fixing the problems; and 2) you left the property in a reasonable amount of time.
Does my landlord need to provide advance notice before entering my rental property?
You may be entitled to monetary and/or other relief from your landlord, if your landlord:
- Refuses to make necessary repairs
Fails to rectify mold/mildew problems
Fails to remedy a pest infestation
Permits a nuisance to exist and/or persist that is interfering with your use and enjoyment of your home
Interferes with your privacy and/or fails to give proper notices of entry to your home
Threatens to evict you for reporting violations of laws
What is the legal process for suing a landlord?
1. Try to resolve the issue - Send a letter requesting what you need, whether it's your security deposit or necessary repairs to the rental property.
The court notifies the defendant who receives a copy of your complaint and a summons to appear in court. The defendant needs to answer this complaint, typically within 30 days.
If the defendant doesn’t answer the complaint within the allotted time, you can ask the court for a default judgment. Here, you can take your case to a judge without the defendant being there.
If the defendant answers, the court sets a date for the hearing, usually within the month; or the defendant can also file a counterclaim against you, which will be heard at the hearing.
Tenant Eviction (Unlawful Detainer) Checklist
Note that you have only five (5) calendar days to respond to the Complaint; not five (5) court days. For example, if you were served on Tuesday, the following Monday would be the last day to respond. If the fifth (5th) day falls on a weekend or court holiday, the next following business day will be your last day to respond. For example, if you were served on a Monday, the last day for you to respond would be on Saturday. Since Saturday is a weekend, your last day to respond would be extended to Monday, unless that Monday is also a court holiday; in which case, your last day to respond would be on Tuesday. If you fail to file a timely response, you might get a default judgment.
Use Form UD-105 to file an Answer to the Unlawful Detainer Complaint.
For discovery, use Form UD-106 and promptly serve it on opposing party.
If you are doubtful as to how to respond or if you feel there are serious flaws in the Complaint, consult the Law Offices of Jennifer R. Snyder in Newark, CA.