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Category Archives: Evictions

renters rights

Renters Rights – Tenant’s Remedies for Noncompliance

Does your tenant disagree to vacate the house? Are they breaching the rental agreement? While these are the most commonly asked questions, do you know the renters rights for a tenant? Do you know that you have rights when a landlord breach your privacy?

A lot of tenants are not aware of their rights and this give property owners the freedom to exploit them. Tenants have rights when the landlord/agent cannot fulfill the lease obligations.

“Another area of tenant-landlord disputes over the return of deposits has to do with damages to the premises. Some landlords try to charge tenants for everything from a worn spot on a hall rug to faded paint to missing lightbulbs. The tenant is not… Click To Tweet

Noncompliance with rental agreement. If the property owner or manager fails to perform the required duties, as part of the renters rights, the tenant may sue for damages or terminate the lease by giving the owner the specified notice for breach of contract.

Many leases require the termination proceedings to stop if the owner or property manager begins a good faith effort to remedy the breach by the deadline stated in the termination notice. Remedies will vary depending on the lease.

renters rights

For example, under most residential leases, if the property owner or manager fails to perform the required duties, the tenant may sue for damages or terminate the lease by giving the owner the specified notice for breach of contract.

The law may require the termination proceedings to stop if the owner or property manager begins a good faith effort to remedy the breach by the deadline stated in the termination notice.

However, in which the commercial leases in the landlord’s covenants may be independent, the tenant may not have the right to terminate the lease for noncompliance by the landlord, but may be limited to a suit for damages.

renters rights

Failure to deliver premises. Some states require the owner to convey only the right of possession of the leased premises to the tenant. In others, the owner must grant actual occupancy.

If the right to possession or actual possession is not conveyed, renters rights state the tenant does not have to pay rent. The tenant can terminate the rental agreement or sue for specific performance and thereby obtain possession, reasonable damages, and attorney’s fees.

It is not uncommon for a property manager to be unable to deliver possession because the previous tenant has not vacated the premises or because repairs and alterations have not been completed.

The manager should protect the owner’s interests by including a covenant postponing the beginning of the term if necessary, waiving rental payments until the tenant is given substantial possession, and requiring the tenant to take the space, even if there is some delay.

Such a clause might stipulate that:

renters rights

Failure to supply essential services. Constructive eviction occurs when the tenant must actually abandon the premises due to the owner’s negligence in supplying essential services.

Examples of constructive eviction include failure to supply heat or water, failure to repair premises, or other material defaults that render the premises unusable by the tenant.

Constructive eviction is recognized by most state courts as the basis for termination of the lease, for an action to recover possession, or for a suit for damages.

renters rights

For the owner’s protection, the lease should require the tenant to give notice of any failure and allow the owner time to remedy the situation before the tenant claims constructive eviction. Some state statutes prohibit the cutoff of utilities to residential tenants even if rent or utility payments are owed to the owner.

Partial eviction occurs when a tenant has not physically moved out but is unable to use part or all of the premises for the purposes intended in the lease due to failure on the part of the owner.renters rights

In cases of partial eviction, state statutes sometimes allow the tenant to give written notice of the breach of contract to the owner.

After allowing time to correct the breach, according to the renters rights, the tenant can take appropriate measures to obtain the services needed and then deduct the cost from the rental payments. In other cases the tenant may simply be allowed to withhold rent until the breach of contract is corrected.

evicting-tenants

Evicting a Tenant – Terminating the Tenancy without Court

Evicting Tenants – Required Notice

When evicting tenants, notice of intent to vacate must be given within a certain period, which should be specified in the terms of most lease agreements. A letter from the manager outlining the procedures tenants should follow when terminating their tenancy can avoid many misunderstandings.

Sometimes tenants are poorly informed as to the notice required and details they must follow when vacating their space. The letter should include a checklist for the tenant, detailing the expected cleaning, post-occupancy inspections, return of security deposits.

Click here to download our proven Tenant Eviction Checklist.

If a good tenant decides to move, the manager should contact him or her immediately to find out whether the decision was prompted by any oversight on the part of management…

…if so, the manager should ascertain if the situation can be corrected thereby retaining a valuable tenant. Even if the tenant’s decision is irreversible, the manager should note the reasons behind it and file them for future reference.

evicting tenants

Evicting Tenants – Exit Interview

evicting tenants

An exit interview between manager and tenant should be made in person, if possible, and should be a routine procedure;

Click here to download our Exit Interview Form for Free.

By analyzing the responses of all tenants who have moved recently, the manager can better understand the reasons behind the tenant turnover.

To stay on firm legal footing, the manager who does not renew a lease should have demonstrated proof of just cause for the refusal. Such termination may not be based on the tenant’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, or handicap.

Additionally, the manager is prohibited from serving notice in retaliation for the tenant’s complaints to the authorities about building health and safety issues.

Evicting Tenants – Fair Housing Compliance

The manager may refuse to renew a lease by giving the tenant appropriate notice of termination. This procedure can be used in lieu of the more expensive and time-consuming court eviction suit, provided the tenant’s conduct is not too destructive and the remaining lease term is short.

Evicting Tenants – Inspection of The Premises

evicting tenantsWhenever either party terminates a lease, the manager should inspect the space with the tenant after the tenant has removed all personal items. Whenever possible, the manager should use the same form used for move-in…

…the one that had been signed by both the tenant and the manager, to determine if any damage has been done to the property and if the unit is being returned in reasonable condition.

Click here to download our Property Inspection Form for Free.

Any deductions to be made from the security or cleaning deposits can be calculated at this time.

When the unit is empty, the manager will have to determine what repainting and refurbishing will be needed before the space can be rented again. To facilitate this procedure, the manager might carry a checklist to note the condition of each room or area, repairs needed, and when they can be scheduled.

Similar forms should be used for commercial space.

Click here to download our Residential Move-In/Move-Out Checklist for free.

NOTE! [At least one state, California, requires that the residential property manager must conduct a property inspection before evicting tenants from the property, if requested by the tenant.]

Evicting Tenants – Return of the Security Deposit

Typically, state and/or local laws provide a detailed procedure for returning a security deposit. Generally, the landlord must account for how the security deposit is returned or retained within a certain period of time after the lease is terminated.

Many states require that the reasons be documented in writing. A security deposit may usually be applied towards unpaid rent and/or damages or required repairs to the property.

The landlord or manager must document in writing why any money is being retained. In some states, failure to do so will subject the landlord to legal penalties. State laws provide various ways to disburse unclaimed security deposits.

Click Here to download our Security Deposit Agreement.

Even though the lease agreement also deals with the security deposit, it is good to have tenants sign this stand-alone form. You’ll want them to be crystal, crystal clear on this. You can attach it to the lease and deal with it at the same time.

evicting tenants

Retention for damages. When evicting tenants, acceptable grounds for retaining part or all of the security deposit typically include damages to the premises;…

…unauthorized, non-standard, or irreversible decorating; excessive cleaning expenses; and unauthorized alterations.

Charges made against the security deposit must be documented to establish the case against the tenant, and an inspection checklist is the best means of verification.

Other documentation may include pictures of the damage or contractors’ bills to clean or repair the premises.

Last month’s rent. In the past, residential tenants sometimes used security deposits as the last month’s rent, but current legislation in some states forbids this practice. Even if it is not prohibited, leases should be written to prohibit it.

One manager made the security deposit a different amount than the monthly rent; tenants stopped thinking of it as rent.

Security deposit legislation also covers the handling of security deposits when the ownership of dwelling units changes. Under the law, the person holding a security deposit must either return the deposit to the tenant or transfer it to the new owner…

…while giving notice to the tenant. If a property manager is required by law to be licensed as a real estate broker, trust account laws and regulations governing brokers also apply to funds held by a property manager on behalf of tenants.

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