Tenants have rights. Learn about tenant-landlord laws.
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Ryan Stibor, Esq.

Rocket Lawyer On Call® Attorney

Essential legal documents for tenants

Tenants FAQs

What does my landlord have to repair?

Your Lease Agreement will typically outline what repairs your landlord is responsible for. If nothing is specified, you may be able to assume that the landlord is responsible for wear-and-tear or maintenance repairs, like fixing a roof or the septic system. That said, any damage caused by you may also be up to you to repair. If your landlord is refusing to repair an issue that you believe is their responsibility, you should talk to a lawyer.

How much notice do I have to give before moving out?

If you are not currently in an active Lease Agreement, you can usually move out after giving 30 days' notice. If your lease is still active, check the terms of your rental agreement to see the notice requirements. You may be required to pay the rest of your lease obligation even if you move out. A Notice of Intent to Move can help you notify your landlord. If you are planning to break your lease early, you might also consider getting your landlord's approval to sublet rather than paying the remaining rent.

How can I get my security deposit refunded?

If there is no apparent damage to the property, getting a security deposit refund may not be a challenge. However, if the rental unit is not returned in the condition that your landlord is expecting (minus general wear and tear), you may have a bit more difficulty. Depending on your lease details and on state law, your landlord could have anywhere between 14 and 60 days to return your deposit or send you a letter outlining the cost of damages. While your landlord is typically entitled to keep some of all of the deposit to offset unpaid rent or to make repairs, they are not allowed to keep it for general wear and tear damage to the property, such as faded paint or slightly worn carpet. If you feel that your landlord is withholding your refund unjustly, talk to a lawyer.

Can my landlord enter my apartment?

While the landlord may own the property, you do have rights as a renter. Often, state laws will determine the reasons that a landlord may enter your apartment, and they usually include: making repairs, performing inspections, or showing the property to prospective tenants. Your lease may outline additional reasons.

Outside of emergencies like flooding, fire or a threat to life or property, a landlord must provide notice before entering your rental unit. While the notice period can vary based on the location and the reason for entry, it is typically 24 hours. If you feel that your landlord has violated the law or the terms of your lease agreement, it is best to speak with a lawyer.

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