Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 12, 2020

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A landlord is the owner of piece of real property (also called “rental property”), who leases it to another person. The landlord is also referred to as the “lessor” of rental property. The landlord allows a tenant use and occupy his/her rental property in exchange for the monthly payment of rent. While the specific landlord/tenant laws vary by state, in every case there are legal protections in varying degrees, called “landlord rights,” and “tenants rights,” in place governing the landlord tenant relationship.

Rules Governing Tenants Rights and Landlord Rights 

Most of the rules governing the relationship between a landlord and tenant are set forth in the lease agreement that the two parties make. For example, the agreement may specify the amount of rent owed, late fees charged, whether pets are allowed, and how many people may live in the apartment at any given time. However, in addition to the private agreement between the party, state law also imposes some obligations on landlords:

  • Under tenants rights, landlords can’t discriminate against tenants on the basis of race, gender, religion, national origin, disability, or any other characteristic established as a protected status under Civil Rights laws.
  • Landlords must maintain a habitable premises. If the location the tenant is renting is unheated, unclean or otherwise unsafe to occupy, the tenant may be able to break his lease and/or pay for repairs to make the apartment livable and deduct that money from the rent owed.
  • The landlord must return the tenant’s security deposit within the prescribed period set by state law.
  • A landlord may not evict a tenant without proper notice and/or without following the proper judicial procedures for eviction of that tenant.

These are just a small sampling of laws relating to landlord rights and tenant rights that may exist in your area.

Getting Help

If you are a landlord or a tenant and you believe your landlord rights or tenant rights have been infringed upon, consult with an attorney today to find out what recourse you may have.