Many people choose to rent rather than buy living and office space. Unfortunately, not every tenant takes the time to understand laws that apply to leasing and rental arrangements. This can leave the door open for tenants to be unaware of various types of renters rights and avenues of recourse when a negative situation develops between a tenant and landlord.
All tenants should learn everything they can about tenant rights. The good news is that there are several resources that individuals can use to get help with tenant rights, and know what types of protections are available under current law.
One of the first thing to understand about tenant rights is there may be both national and local laws that apply. This is the case in many countries around the world. For this reason, you will want to learn about applicable laws on both levels. Keep this in mind as you make use of various resources.
The best place to start is with your lease agreement. Chances are high that the agreement is a standard business document that is in full compliance with the laws that apply in the your area. Keep a pencil and paper handy, and make note of any clauses that you do not understand. Also make note of any questions that come to mind as your read through your agreement.
After looking through your lease, contact a local real estate company. They should be able to provide you with a list of printed materials relating to tenant rights in your area. These materials are generally available free of charge, and will cover both national and local laws that apply to your location. In some cases, the agency might be able to provide a local address where you can pick up the materials in person.
Another potential resource is to conduct an online search. In the United States, many web sites set up by the State Attorney General’s office will include information about applicable laws that impact tenant rights. The information is usually available in a printable form, so you can download the data and review it at your leisure.
Many legal aid agencies have at least a few attorneys on staff who are experts in tenant rights. An interview with a qualified attorney is often available at a nominal charge, with the cost often based on income level. This is a great way to get information about renters’ rights and answer the specific questions that came to mind as you read through your lease.
Learning about tenant rights can be a time consuming task, but the benefits more than make up for the effort. By knowing your rights as a renter, it is possible to know if your landlord is operating within the limits of the law, and what you can do if something appears to be out of line.