When renting a home from someone, you want to understand landlord and tenant laws. The laws can vary from state to state, so you want to make sure you are learning the laws that pertain to the state in which you are renting your home. Here are some of the things that are covered under landlord and tenant laws:
Eviction - The laws regarding evictions covers things like how many months you would have to vacate a home if you were being evicted through no fault of your own. For example, in some states, you only need to be given 30 days, where in other states, you may need to be given 60 days as long as you have resided in the home for longer than a year. Also, laws dictate how long you have to vacate the premises if you have been evicted for violating the terms of your lease.
Move-in costs - The very large deposits that have been needed before moving into a rental property in the past has caused many states to put a cap on how much a landlord can require for security deposits and upfront rent. For example, in California, it was common for landlords to request the first month's rent, last month's rent, and a security deposit. Now, the landlord can only require a move-in deposit of no more than two months' rent, which includes the security deposit. However, if the unit comes furnished, then they can ask as much as the equivalent of three months' worth of rent, which includes the security deposit.
Cleaning - There are laws in some states that require the landlord to provide renters with a unit that has already been cleaned by a professional cleaning company. However, in other states, there are no laws regarding who should clean the unit before the tenant moves in or that require the cleaning to have been done by a professional company. In the states without such laws, tenants often have to tend to the cleaning of the rental unit themselves.
Maintenance - There are laws in regards to how the landlord must act when a tenant tells them of a problem. For example, in some states, if the landlord doesn't have an important repair done right away, such as having the plumbing fixed, the heater fixed, or the air conditioner fixed when the issue makes the home unbearable or unlivable, then the renter can stay in a hotel and the landlord must pay for the hotel room.
As a renter, it is your responsibility to understand the landlord and tenant laws so you are aware of how things should be done and will know if something is not legal. You should speak to a lawyer like George Karavias, Esq. to see if you have a case if your suspect that a landlord didn't follow the law.