What are the Different Landlord-Tenant Rights?

Rhonda Rivera

Landlord-tenant rights differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, though some are quite similar across the board. These rights typically influence what is written on the lease, such as how much notice the landlord will give the tenant when he or she wants the tenant to move. They may also prevent the landlord from renting out property that is not in livable condition — for example, no plumbing or no heat in regions with very cold weather. Landlord-tenant rights frequently give the landlord the rights to charge late fees or apply rent increases under certain circumstances. In addition, the eviction process is generally detailed in the rights, and must be strictly followed in order to successfully evict the tenants.

Both tenant and landlord are legally bound to the terms in the tenancy agreement.
Both tenant and landlord are legally bound to the terms in the tenancy agreement.

The rental agreement, also known as the lease, often tells the tenant if joint tenancy is allowed, the conditions under which eviction will be sought, and details all things related to payment. Many authorities strongly encourage landlords and tenants to put the rental agreement in writing because verbal agreements are so easily broken, misunderstood, or forgotten. The rental agreement is what a judge will look over and consider if either party is accused of breaking the agreement. Often, the landlord has the right to modify the agreement once the tenant's term is up. The landlord may have the right to put very specific requests in the rental agreement, such as requiring the tenant to mow the lawn every x number of days or agree to provide the landlord with a tour of the rented property every month.

A good lease or rental agreement reviewed by both parties may help prevent landlord-tenant disputes.
A good lease or rental agreement reviewed by both parties may help prevent landlord-tenant disputes.

In addition to the rental agreement, the living conditions of the rented property are usually regulated by the local government. Some jurisdictions give the tenant the right to have the property between certain temperatures all year round, never letting them get too hot or too cold. Other jurisdictions give the tenant the right to demand repairs in writing and have them fixed within a certain amount of time. The landlord sometimes has the right to enter the property on a predetermined date to make repairs or minor additions to the property, whether or not the tenant has requested them. These landlord-tenant rights can differ drastically from region to region, with some jurisdiction laws giving either the tenant or landlord more control over the building than the other.

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Payment and eviction are often two highly sensitive subjects among tenants and landlords that are not getting along. Typically, landlord-tenant rights give the landlord the right to request payment on a certain date, charge late fees after that date, then begin the eviction process if the tenant still does not pay. Tenants are often allowed plenty of notice of pending eviction, even if the landlord decides he or she wants them out of the property for reasons other than payment. Even when payment and the eviction process is made clear to both parties, the parties may eventually come to a disagreement about them and bring the problem to a court for a judge to rule over, which is a right often given to both landlords and tenants.

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