About the Landlord Tenant Act

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The Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act provides a guideline for states to follow when developing landlord and tenant laws within the state. The act provides rules for property owners and renters to use when entering into a lease agreement for a residential property. A landlord and tenant have obligations under the act, as well as remedies in the event the relationship breaks down.

Security Deposits

  • The Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act does not allow landlords to ask for a security deposit greater than one month’s rent. Each state sets its own rules regarding security deposits with some allowing landlords to charge up to two month’s rent as a security deposit and others restricting the amount to one month. Landlords must return the security deposit to the tenant within 14 days of moving out. Landlords may use the security deposit to pay for damages to the rental unit or for back rent. The tenant must receive an itemized listing of the damages and back rent within 14 days. The tenant may sue for double the amount and attorney fees if the landlord fails to return the security deposit.

Tenant Obligations

  • Tenants have an obligation to keep the rental property clean and in good condition while living in the rental unit. The renter must dispose of all garbage on the property in a safe manner. Renters must use the systems such as heating, air conditioning and plumbing in the home in a safe and reasonable manner. Tenants may not destroy or deface the property either willfully or by neglect, as well as allow a visitor to destroy or deface the property. The act also requires tenants to behave in a manner that does not disrupt the neighbors.

Landlord Obligations

  • The landlord must maintain the property in compliance with building codes. Property owners must make sure the property is habitable by making repairs when necessary. The landlord is responsible for keeping the common areas of the rental unit clean and safe. The landlord must keep the systems, such as the heating and ventilation, of the property in good working order. While tenants must remove garbage from the property, the landlord is responsible for providing receptacles for garbage. Rental units must have running water and heat between October and May, which the landlord must provide.

Tenant Remedies

  • Tenants may send a notice to terminate the lease agreement if the landlord fails to maintain the property in a way that affects the health and safety of the tenants. The tenant must provide the landlord with 14 days to correct the non-compliance before the lease terminates in 30 days. If the non-compliance happens again within six months the tenant may terminate the lease within 14 days without an opportunity to repair.

Access

  • The landlord has a right to access the property to make repairs, inspect, show the property and maintain the unit with reasonable notice. In emergencies, the landlord may enter the rental unit in the event of an emergency. The Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act requires the landlord to provide two days notice unless it is an emergency or impractical to provide notice.

Landlord Remedies

  • Landlords may serve a notice if the tenant fails to comply with the lease agreement. The notice must give the tenant 14 days to comply or the lease agreement terminates within 30 days. Landlords may terminate the lease agreement if the tenant fails to comply for a second time within six months. Notice for non-payment of rent requires the landlord to provide 14-days notice to pay or vacate the property. The eviction process varies from state to state, but in all states the landlord must provide notice before filing an eviction with the courts.

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