Landlord-Tenant Rights

A clear understanding of the landlord-tenant rights is important to avoid possible disputes. Most often disagreement will be about the security deposit.

Both tenants and landlords should familiarize themselves with the renters rights as far as the lease agreement is concerned.

Landlords can make use of our free tenant lease form as sample document.

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Security Deposit Facts

The security deposit is one area where you should be clear about the landlord-tenant rights. Typically, this amount will be one month's rent (plus an amount for services). In some states the limit of the security deposit is 2 times the monthly rent.

It is your tenant rights to have the full amount refunded at the end of the lease unless:

  • You still owe some rent;
  • You still owe money for utilities;
  • You damaged the property and the landlord can substantiate a claim for repair.

Note: The landlord cannot withhold any part of the security deposit for normal wear and tear.

Non-refundable fees may be for credit checks, stamp duties, storage etc. The lease agreement must be very clear on the landlord-tenant rights about whether the cleaning deposit is refundable or non-refundable.

Within 14 Days of Moving In

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The landlord must confirm in writing:
  • Receipt of the security deposit and where it is securely held;
  • Notice to the tenant to leave a forwarding address within 4 days of vacating the property. (This period may vary greatly in different areas. Both tenant and landlord must familiarize themselves with their applicable laws);
  • The landlord's name and address for communication if it is not on the copy of the rental agreement handed to the tenant.

Within 4 Days of Moving Out

The tenant must provide the landlord in writing of a forwarding address, otherwise he/she may risk not getting the deposit back.

Within 30-45 Days

The landlord then must refund the full amount, or state his claim in writing for damages.

You can argue against any claim, again in writing within 7 days.

Free Letter to Landlord Templates

We emphasize the need to do all communication in writing and to retain proof of letters in order to protect your landlord-tenant rights.

If the landlord and tenant can not come to an agreement about the security deposit and settle, the landlord must file suit to keep the deposit - within 45 days of termination of occupancy.

If he does not file suit (he can not just keep the money) he faces the risk of having to pay double the amount back to the tenant.

The tenant may have to file suit to get the deposit back if he:

  • Did not give his forwarding address within 4 days;
  • Did not respond in writing within 7 days to the claim for damages;
  • The landlord did not refund the deposit even though the tenant did all the above.

Check your state or country laws for specific requirements and time allowed!

Landlord-tenant rights are best protected if both parties follow proper procedure at all times. Should a dispute arise you can follow our guidelines to act within the law.

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