Renting Legal Essentials

Planning To Rent - Complete Controller

Renting involves various legal issues. That said, we must consider who we are dealing with, keep track of all financial transactions we make, and review the state laws we will be renting in.

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

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The Terms of a Lease

The terms of a lease determine how often the renter will pay the rent and define the tenant’s period for paying the rent. There is a difference between leases and rentals. Leases usually last a year, with the rent paid monthly.

Generally, rentals are every month and even occasionally from week to week.

The Obligations and Rights

According to state law, property owners have the right to act against a tenant who is not paying the rent. These lease agreements are usually signed, agreed upon, and bound by both the tenants and the property owner.

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

Security Deposits

Even without a written lease, property owners can charge a security deposit. The deposit covers any damages that may occur in the household or if the tenant fails to pay the rent. According to California law, the landlord can charge a maximum deposit equal to the rent for two months. The law can vary from state to state.

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

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Provisions Related to Leasing

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, the landlord may not mention that they can enter the household premises without prior notice or agree that the renter must pay for any damages that take place regardless of the fault.

Roommate Arrangements

The legal rights of the roommate 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 verbally agree on splitting the rent, including the supply of the utilities and bills that come every month. Therefore, an oral contract is formed between the tenant and the roommate, which should be used against the roommate if he violates it. However, getting everything in writing on an official contract is always best.

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Checklist of Damages and Issues Before Renting

The lease will designate which party will be responsible for maintenance activities such as lawn mowing or 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 to not charge for them after their lease term.


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

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