All You Need to Know about the Legalities of Renting

Home For Rent Sign in Front of Beautiful American Home
Renting involves dealing with various legal issues. With that said, we have to take into consideration who we are dealing with, keep check of all financial transactions we make, and go through the laws of the state that we are residing in.

Here are some legalities that you should consider whenever you are planning to rent.

The Terms of a Lease

The terms of a lease determine how often the renter will pay the rent alongside defining the time period the tenant will be responsible for paying the rent. There is a difference between leases and rentals. Leases often last a year with the rent paid on a monthly basis.

Generally, rentals are on monthly basis and even week to week occasionally.

The Obligations and Rights

Property owners have the right, according to state law, to take action against a tenant who is not paying the rent. These lease agreements are usually signed and agreed upon and bound both, the tenants and the property owner, together.

For example, if the tenant fails to keep the lawn in good condition, the owner of the property can take legal action.

Security Deposits

Even in the absence of a written lease, property owners can charge a security deposit. The security deposit is used to cover any damages that may occur in the household or if the tenant fails to pay the rent. The landlord can charge a maximum deposit equal to the rent of two months, according to law in California. This can vary from state to state.

Security deposits are to be returned to the tenant after the time period of the rent is finished. Any legal deductions are also returned back to the legal tenant after around 21 days from the day the tenant moves back.

Provisions related to lease

A lease or a rental agreement includes the following:

  • Renewal options
  • Whether the tenant is subject to any fees 
  • Rules regarding keeping pets or pet deposits
  • The time when the landlord may or may not enter the property.
  • Responsibilities related to maintenance

Some of these provisions may not be enforceable. For instance, it is a possibility that the landlord may not mention that they can enter the premises of the household without any prior notice or agrees that the renter has to pay for any damages that take place regardless of the fault.

Roommate Arrangements

The legal rights of the roommate of a renter differ from the legal rights of the tenant and the property owner. Similarly, like property owners, roommates do not have to engage in written arrangements.

Roommates can have a verbal agreement on splitting the rent including the supply of the utilities and bills that come on a monthly basis. Therefore, a verbal contract is formed between the tenant and the roommate which can be used against the roommate in case he violates it. However, it is always best to get everything in writing on an official contract.

Checklist of Damages and Issues before Renting

The lease will designate which party will be responsible for maintenance activities such as mowing the lawn or the maintaining the yard. Tenants agree to abide by local laws related to noise, nuisance, and enjoyment of the surrounding property. The lease may not allow the tenants to operate a business within the household premises. It is customary that a tenant walks through the house before moving in to document prior damages to the property so that they aren’t charged for them after their lease term.

Conclusion

Always make sure that you check the state laws wherever you plan to rent a house and never make a payment until you are completely satisfied with the landlord and property. Record rent payments, bills and all money spent in relation to the property in your bookkeeping records so that you have sufficient proof in any case that legal issues arise. 

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