3 Rights Tenants Are Often Unaware Of

Posted on: 19 January 2017


Almost half the citizens of many cities throughout the U.S. are renters, but are often unaware of their rights as a tenant. If you're renting an apartment, house, or condo, it's best to educate yourself on your rights to avoid potential disputes, or conflict. To get started, here are three rights that tenants are often unaware of. 

Notice of Planned Entry

Your landlord must give you reasonable prior notice before entering your unit. You have the right to know ahead of time when your landlord, or a representative of the landlord, plans on stopping by. What constitutes "reasonable notice" varies from state to state. In many states, the landlord is required to give you 48-hour notice, while in some states, there is a 24-hour prior notice requirement. In either event, your landlord shouldn't drop by unannounced. If your landlord fails to give reasonable notice, remind them of your right to prior notice.

Deductions From Deposit

This is an area of contention for many tenants. You take good care of your unit, expect to receive your full deposit back, only to receive a portion of it, or nothing at all. You have a right to receive your full refund if you return the unit in good condition without damage and do not have any outstanding balances. Your landlord does have the right to deduct the cost of repairs from your deposit. However, a problem that is not uncommon occurs when landlords charge for normal wear and tear, or general upkeep. Normal wear and tear is defined as typical deterioration that occurs under normal circumstances. So if the paint fades, or peels over the course of your tenancy, your landlord is not legally allowed to deduct painting the unit from your deposit. If this happens, challenge the deductions. In addition, your landlord must provide you with an itemized list of deductions and repair costs within 30 days of you moving out.

Subletting Your Unit

Circumstances can sometimes change before your lease agreement ends. You may have a sick relative and need to move, or your job may be relocating you to another state. Many tenants are unaware that they have a right to sublet their apartment. Legally, a landlord must accept a reasonable replacement tenant. Your landlord may outline in the lease that you cannot sublet during the first three months of your tenancy, but beyond that, you have a right to look for a suitable replacement if you need to leave before your lease is up. Your landlord may have guidelines regarding credit score and bankruptcy, so check those and use it as a guide to find a potential replacement.

To learn more, contact a firm such as Fisher Associates, LLC.