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Landlord/Tenant Law

Landlord-tenant law governs the rental of commercial and residential property. It is composed primarily of state statutory and common law. A number of states have based their statutory law on either the Uniform Residential Landlord And Tenant Act (URLTA) or the Model Residential Landlord-Tenant Code. Federal statutory law may be a factor in times of national/regional emergencies and in preventing forms of discrimination.

The basis of the legal relationship between a landlord and tenant is grounded in both contract and property law. The tenant has a property interest in the land (historically a non-freehold estate) for a given period of time. The length of the tenancy may be for a given period of time, for an indefinite period of time, (e.g., renewable/cancelable on a month to month basis), terminable at any time by either party (at will), or at sufferance if the agreement has been terminated and the tenant refuses to leave (holds over). If the tenancy is tenancy for years or periodic the tenant has the right to possess the land, to restrict others (including the landlord) from entering upon it, and to sublease or assign the property. The landlord-tenant agreement may eliminate or limit these rights. The landlord-tenant agreement is normally embodied in a lease. The lease, though not historically or strictly a contract, may be subject to concepts embodied in contract law.

Landlord/Tenant law covers a wide base of legal situations and conflicts that may arise including:

  1. Who Is Covered By The Law?
    • Rights of All Tenants
  2. Moving In
    • Types of Rental Agreements
    • Illegal Provisions in Rental Agreements
    • Deposits and Other Fees
    • Refundable Deposits
    • Nonrefundable Fees
  3. While You're Living in the Rental Unit
    • Landlord's Responsibilities
    • Tenant's Responsibilities
    • If the Landlord Wants to Make Changes
    • If the Property is Sold >
    • Landlord's Access to the Rental
    • If the Rental Needs Repairs
    • Illegal Actions of a Landlord
  4. Moving Out
    • Proper Notice to Leave
    • Return of Deposits
    • Evictions
    • Abandonment

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