Property Owner (Landlord)/TENANT
Below you will find some commonly asked questions and resource pertaining to Landlord/Tenant issues. The LIC is a great resource for students to ask questions about where to find information and what next steps should be. We however cannot give you legal advice or consultation (we're working on that), we are a student run office.
Q: What are some red flags to look for when getting ready to rent?
- Are there serious building code violations in the house?
- Was the property owner difficult to contact?
- Did the property owner give tenants 24-hour notice before showing the house?
Q: What is legal in a lease?
A: The property owner cannot put a term in an agreement that:
- Waives any rights given to tenants by the Landlord-Tenant Act
- Makes you give up your rights to defend yourself in court
- Limits the landlord's accountability
- Says the property owner does not have to make repairs
- Allows the property owner to enter the rental unit without giving you proper notice
- Requires you to pay for damages you do not commit
- Says you have to pay the property owner’s lawyers' fees if an argument goes to court, even if you win.
- Allows the property owner to take your things if you get behind in rent.
Q: What are the deposits and fees that I can be charged?
- Security Deposit: charged by the property owner that is used to cover any unpaid rent or damages (see more info in Q4)
- Screening Fee: Property owner uses to order a background check on you
- Application/Holding Fee: a fee that the property owner charges to hold the place for you until you sign the lease (If you do not rent the place, the property owner can keep your deposit! If you do rent the place, then the fee must be applied to your security deposit or first month's rent)
- Damage Deposit: Property owner collects to cover damage that might occur to the property
- Cleaning Fee: the property owner collects this to pay for cleaning after the tenant has left
- Last Month's Rent: can only be used for the agreed upon last month's rent, so if you move out early it must be refunded
Q: How can I get my security deposit back?
- Before moving in, get a written rental agreement, condition check-in list, and a receipt for your deposit from the property owner, property owner’s agent, or the manager.
- Before moving out, give proper written notice and your forwarding address to the property owner or manager.
- After cleaning, take pictures or video. Have a witness inspect your residence and take notes.
- Move out. Wait fourteen days for a deposit refund and/or an itemized statement of any amount the property owner will not give back. If your landlord doesn't respond within 14 days, there is legal action you can take (check the infographic below for more info)
Q: What are my responsibilities as a tenant?
- Pay your rent and utilities as agreed
- Restore the place to the same condition as when you moved in, except for wear-and-tear
- Keep unit clean and dispose of garbage
- Properly use plumbing, electrical, and heating systems
- Follow city, county, and state regulations
Q: How long should my property owner take to make repairs on my rental after I provide them with a written request?
A: If your property owner does not begin repairs in the required amount of time, you can take legal action
- 24 HOURS: when the condition deprives the tenant of hot or cold water, heat, electricity, or is hazardous to life
- 72 HOURS: when the condition deprives the tenant of the use of a refrigerator, range and oven, or a major plumbing fixture supplied by the property owner
- 10 DAYS: in any other case