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Landlord-Tenant Law

Landlord rights and tenant rights under the law

In order to avoid conflict and neglect in the landlord and tenant relationship, landlord-tenant laws establish firm rights and responsibilities for both parties. Landlord and tenant rights are designed to protect each side from financial loss, threats to safety and unfair treatment; there is little flexibility in these rights, and violation of a tenant-landlord act will frequently lead to legal action. As a landlord or a tenant, it is very important to understand the laws that apply to a deal, and to construct a fair and legitimate written agreement with the advice of a lawyer.

Basics of Tenant-Landlord Law

There are many legal issues involved with establishing a landlord-tenant relationship, and one misstep can result in a lawsuit. Although landlords are able to screen prospective tenants, discrimination, failure to disclose important information and illegal provisions in the agreement are common mistakes made by landlords that result in serious legal violations. Luckily, these can be avoided with the guidance of an experienced attorney who can help you foresee any potential pitfalls from the very beginning of the rental process.

The relationship between the tenant and the landlord involves both contract and property law: the rental agreement is basically a contract, and the item in question is a piece of property. The landlord remains the owner, but once the rental agreement is signed, the tenant assumes many of the rights and responsibilities that come with property ownership. And although federal and state laws stipulate certain duties and rights, the agreement may carry additional clauses. One of the most fundamental elements in tenant-landlord law is the promise of quiet enjoyment, meaning that the tenant and their rental property cannot be disturbed by anyone with title to the land, including the landlord.

Landlord and Tenant Rights in Eviction Law

If either side fails to hold up to their end of the bargain, eviction law comes into play. Common causes for eviction are the tenant's failing to pay rent, or to pay rent on time, or damaging the property; however, in some cases, it is the fault of the landlord that leads to eviction. This is called constructive eviction, and it applies to situations where the landlord's behavior leads to premises that are not fit to live in. A breach of the rental agreement may, but does not necessarily have to, lead to rent acceleration or sudden eviction.

Although there are specific legal steps in place to govern the eviction process, some landlords may try to force out tenants in unlawful ways, and some tenants trespass on landlord rights. In either case, a lawyer who specializes in landlord-tenant law will have a thorough knowledge of applicable state laws and can fight for the compensation that you're entitled to. Any eviction will involve the courts, and a competent attorney will make sure that there are legal grounds to evict. If the proper eviction procedure is not followed, the landlord could be subject to steep penalties, even if they were in the right.

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