Tenants and landlords have rights and responsibilities to each other. Landlords, for most properties, may not deny housing to a tenant based on discriminatory reasons like race, age, sex, national origin, religion, familial status (having children or being pregnant), and physical or mental disability.
Landlords have a right to request a credit report on a prospective tenant and to deny rental based on negative aspects of that credit history but they will also be required to alert the tenant of the source of negative information and some details about the report. Tenants, with signed leases, have rights to a livable residence, protecting them against unsafe living conditions and landlords have a responsibility to repair problems quickly.
Tenants who put dated repair requests politely but firmly in writing to the landlord may find repairs are accomplished more quickly. Keeping dated copies of each repair request creates a paper trail for the tenant, in the event of further repair problems or lack of response.
Unsafe conditions that go ignored despite repair requests may provide tenants with certain remedies, including the right to escrow rent, arrange repairs themselves and deduct costs from their next rent check.
For clarification on tenant rights in your state, check with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or tenant rights organizations for advice. You may also consider getting the advice of a qualified attorney near you through your local lawyer referral service.
Typical landlord/tenant issues:
Following is a general list of some of the reasons a landlord may file a complaint in the Landlord/Tenant Section:
- Failure to pay rent.
- Continued disorderly conduct.
- Willful destruction or damage to property.
- Habitual lateness in paying rent.
- Violation of rules and regulations, after written notice to comply, as outlined in a lease or other document.
- Tenant’s conviction for a drug offense.
Before filing some complaints, a landlord must give a tenant written notice to stop particular conduct. Only when a tenant continues that conduct after notice to stop can a landlord try to have the tenant evicted. Also, complaints for other than non-payment of rent generally require notice terminating the tenancy. You may wish to contact an attorney for more information.