Are you relocating to another city for a new job? Perhaps building a new home that’s way behind on completion or saving for a down payment? If so you may find yourself looking for a place to rent for yourself and your family. It may also have been many years since you actually rented a space that didn’t involve a roommate (or three).
It’s possible the last time you rented a living space you may not have been aware (or even cared) of your rights as a tenant. If so, this is a good time to educate yourself on your rights before you move in to protect yourself and or your family.
Your rights as a tenant include:
A property that is capable of being lived in. It must be in compliance with housing and health codes—meaning they should be structurally safe, sanitary, weatherproofed, and include adequate water, electricity, and heat. If you have children have a child safety tip sheet handy when looking at prospective housing.
The property and appliances must be maintained and in compliance with applicable housing and building codes. Be sure and get in writing any procedures or responsibilities for repairs in your lease. Outline what is the landlord’s responsibility and what is yours. Generally, a landlord is responsible for making major repairs, particularly those caused by the weather or natural forces and repairs caused by ordinary wear and tear from use of the unit. You are responsible for repairs that resulted from your behavior. Water damage that occurred because you forgot the bathwater or damaged walls from an artistic three-year-old will be your expense.
A landlord or property manager cannot evict you without a court order and may not have utilities disconnected unless there is an emergency (e.g., repairing a leak). Tenants also are required to have reasonable notice before a landlord can enter the property and they can enter only to make repairs or show the property if you are moving.
Pay only the rent specified in your lease agreement. If you are renting month-to-month, the landlord must provide 30 days notice of any rent increase. The notice usually has to be in writing and might need to be dated and given personally to the tenant or sent by registered mail. A landlord may also not increase the rent in an effort to induce you to move. Federal law forbids discrimination against tenants because of race, gender, national origin, or religion, and some state and local laws forbid discrimination because of things like marital status, sexual orientation, children, or disability. So if your rent went up 100% because you brought home a new baby you may have a case.
These are just a few of the rights you have as a tenant. The vast majority of landlord/tenant relationships are free of headache and mostly painless but it’s good to know where you stand. Fortunately at National Property Management Group Miami (Rent KC Management Group) we’re experienced property managers happy to help with any problems, issues or questions. We specialize in rental property that is primarily privately owned so you may be moving in just after the homeowner has moved out. That means you’re not just renting a house, you’re renting a home.