The law governing the landlord-tenant is a part of common law. It contains elements of both property law as well as contract law. The landlord agrees, through a lease or other instrument to allow another person, the tenant, to enjoy the exclusive possession and use of the property for a specified period. This is usually accompanied by the payment of a rent.
A lease or tenancy can end by the expiration of the fixed term for which it was granted, by expiry of the notice to quit, or by forfeiture, which usually occurs when the tenant fails to pay the rent. The primary legal parameters of the landlord-tenant relationship are outlined in the lease agreement, which protects the interests of both parties. Most states also recognize lease agreements made orally, but only for periods of one year or less.
Provisions found in a typical lease agreement include the following: * The names of the two parties involved (tenant and landlord) * Address and description of rental unit * Amount of rent and date by which it must be paid each month * Amount of security deposit * Whether pets are allowed Landlords cannot discriminate on the basis of caste, gender, religion or creed of a potential tenant.
Most landlords require the payment of a security deposit prior to moving in, which is limited under most state laws. If you are required to pay a deposit, you should consider signing a statement with the landlord outlining the exact condition of the unit in order to eliminate disputes at the end of the lease term.
Laws in many states also dictate how soon a landlord must return a tenant's deposit after moving out, usually 30 days or so. In addition to cleaning and repairs, the landlord may deduct any unpaid rent from the deposit as well. However, the landlord may not deduct for what may be considered normal wear and tear.
The tenant has the following rights- to not be locked out, to not have the landlord barge in the property without prior notice, to not be charged over the amount stated in the contract and to not be discriminated against.