Prescreened and Rated with HomeAdvisor. Hire with Confidence Today!
Common Landlord and Tenant Law Terms
Whether someone is looking to rent an apartment or lease a space to open up a business, they will need to make an agreement with the owner of the location. The landlord is the person who owns the unit and will rent out the property. The tenant is the individual who occupies the space and has exclusive rights to the property until the agreement ends. Laws are set up to protect both landlords and tenants from each other.
Credit Report - A credit report is a detailed history of a potential tenant's past transactions and determines their creditworthiness. This is often a factor when qualifying potential tenants.
Lease - A lease is a legal document that establishes the terms of the agreement. This includes the length of the lease, security deposit and amount paid per month.
Rent Control Ordinance - Rent control ordinances are the laws in a community that limit or prohibit the amount of money a landlord can raise the rent.
Rent Withholding - Rent withholding is a situation in which a tenant does not pay some or all of the rent. Tenants may do this if the property becomes uninhabitable or if the landlord does not fix defects in a reasonable amount of time.
Eviction - An eviction is a legal term that describes a court-administered process that removes a tenant from a unit because they have violated conditions of the lease.
Sublease - A sublease is an agreement between the tenant and someone else to rent out the space for a specified period of time. The new tenant is entitled 'the subtenant' and takes over the obligations of the lease.
Abandonment - Abandonment is when a tenant vacates a property before a lease expires and without consent of the landlord.
When looking for the right attorney to help you with landlord tenant law proceedings, start by checking out the internet. If a friend or family member has been through the process of trying to recover a security deposit, they may be able to provide some sound advice. When searching the internet, do the research into your circumstance before contacting a lawyer. You will find free information on eviction rules, how to obtain and file the appropriate forms, and specifics regarding your rights as a tenant. Search the internet for information, keeping in mind the type of property you have (e.g. an apartment, guest house, or single family dwelling). Depending on the zoning of the area, there may be certain laws that pertain to your situation you weren't aware of. If you are trying to get a security deposit back, you might want to just go to small claims court, as typically, the amount is too small for regular civil court. After you have found a few attorneys that specialize in landlord tenant laws, contact them for a consultation. Be sure to bring any forms, such as eviction notices, letters, rent payment receipts, or any other written agreements between you and your landlord. If you move away and let your case sit on the shelf for more than a year, your case will expire. You should also ask a lawyer what you should do if you are unsure if you should have legal representation or not. They will be able to tell you if small claims court would be a better option. Know that it is your legal responsibility to keep a copy of the lease contract, which will play a major role in determining your case.