As a tenant, you may not have a lot you can really control about the place you live in. However, no matter what state you live in, you still have rights as a tenant. There are many things landlords get away with that are actually illegal activities.
Tenant rights ensure that any rented property is a safe, livable space. A safe and livable space goes beyond just having a working dishwasher. A landlord must respect you and your space, similarly to how you respect theirs. This is why tenants sign leasing agreements and give security deposits upon moving in. These things ensure that both the tenant and landlord understand that so long as the property is safe and maintained, the space is respected and rent is paid on time.
Sadly, many tenants don’t know their rights, and often let their landlord commit illegal activity. Here, you’ll find some resources on what your rights as a tenant are, and what your landlord cannot do.
What Landlords Cannot Do, But Still Get Away With
Knowing your rights as a tenant means knowing what your landlord is legally not allowed to do. Tenant rights change form state to state, but nationally, tenants have a general list of rights. Generally, your landlord cannot:
- Discriminate against you or your roommates
- Withhold security deposit or funds without reason
- Enter the property without 24 hours notice unless there’s an emergency
- Raise rent without proper notice
- Raise rent in a manner that does not align with your state’s rent control guidelines
- Evict you without proper reason or notice
- Change the locks or board up the property
- Take, keep, or destroy your personal property
- Refuse to repair or replace problems
Despite these common guidelines and laws, many landlords still commit these crimes. It’s common during tenant disputes that landlords will attempt to try and find other ways to deter their tenants from continuing to live where they are. This might include causing disturbances like loud noises, shutting off heat or water, and even threats.
As long as you’ve paid rent to your landlord and have not broken any part of your leasing agreement, your landlord cannot do any of this. Sadly, many tenants are taken advantage of because they do not know their rights as a tenant. However, real estate lawyers can help tenants if their rights are violated, and need to sue their landlord.
What Tenants Have The Right To Do About Their Landlord’s Illegal Activity
You have rights as a tenant. Although the extent of your rights might change depending on your state, tenants generally have the same rights. The most important part about understanding your rights as a tenant is to always read your lease agreement before you sign it. This will ensure your landlord does not hide any illegal activity within the agreement.
Regardless of your issues with your landlord, you cannot refuse to pay rent. Refusing to pay rent puts you at risk of eviction and can potentially threaten the legitimacy of your case if you need to sue your landlord. Whenever you pay your landlord, make sure you also date your checks and make a note of what the check is for. Write what the check is for and include the property’s address.
Your landlord discriminates against your race, religion, sex, nationality, disability, or familial status. You also have the right to a livable space that your landlord must uphold. If your landlord attempts to make the space physically or emotionally unsafe, or does anything from the list above, you can take legal action.
To talk to a real estate lawyer about your state’s tenancy rights, or to get free legal advice, call My Case Helper.