What are your rights as a renter?
Apartments Renter's Rights
You have rights under the laws of your state that protect you as a renter. The laws ensure that your apartment provides a safe environment in good working order. Your landlord too has legal protections to ensure you pay your rent on time. Understanding your rights as a renter is important before you enter into a lease or rental agreement.
Protection from discrimination
As a renter you have protection against discrimination under the federal Fair Housing Act. That law prohibits landlords from denying housing to a tenant based on race, religion, ethnic background or national origin, sex, age, children unless the property is classified as senior housing, and mental or physical disabilities.
Right to privacy
Right to privacy requires that your landlord give you prior notice, usually 24 hours, before entering your premises. If there is an emergency, your landlord may have the right to enter without notification.
Right to repairs
Landlords are legally responsible for fixing major problems to ensure that your apartment is livable. That means your apartment must be structurally safe and sanitary. Electrical, heating and plumbing systems must be in safe operational condition and hot and cold water must be in adequate supply.
Seizing your property
Your landlord cannot legally seize your property if you fail to pay your rent, unless the law deems you have abandoned your apartment.
Your landlord cannot deduct money from your damage or security deposit for normal wear and tear on your apartment. Your landlord can only use the security deposit for unpaid rent or to repair or clean your apartment in order to return it to the condition it was when you moved in.
In order to evict you, your landlord must give you adequate written notice, in a specified way and form based as required by the state where you live. If you don't move after receiving the proper notice or resolve the problem, you landlord can file a lawsuit to evict you. In court, your landlord must prove that you did something wrong that justifies ending your tenancy.
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