Ensure Your Renters Rights

Your renters rights may vary in different states and countries
on some points, but on the most part they are pretty universal.

The key question would be what you agreed to in your Property Rental Agreement.

If you have not signed it yet, our urgent advice is to read it thoroughly, and if there are any clauses which you do not understand or agree with, you have to deal with it before signing. Have it seen to by a lawyer if you must.

pen and agreement

The following clauses are not allowed in your rental contract forms as part of your tenants rights:

  • The lease can not include any clause which is against the law. Even if you signed such a rental contract, any clause like that can not be enforced. If you discover a clause like that, you can point it out in a letter to your landlord and he has to correct it or face penalties.
  • For example you can not sign away:

    - any right to your security deposit

    - any of your rights in advance

    - the right to a trial or any legal process

    - your right to have the property in a fit state to live in

    - your right to demand the landlord perform his duties

    - the right to your personal property

    - blank permission for the other party's unlimited legal fees

  • The landlord can not alter any part of the lease after the lease begins without your written consent. However: He can make changes if it is because of a change in law, for the sake of health and safety or if there's an increase in taxes, utilities or insurance.

    He still has to give you 30 days notice as part of your renters rights and the original lease must state that he can make these specific changes.
  • The landlord can not raise the rent (unless it is so specified in the lease) without the tenant's written consent, except for the instances as described in the point above.

Inventory Checklist

man and woman checking contract

It is your renters rights to be provided with two blank copies of the checklist for you to comment on. The checklist must state that you must complete and return it to the landlord within 7 days of moving in. Be specific when you fill it in.

The renters rights in your state or country may be to request a copy of the final checklist when the previous tenant left to see if any damages were caused by the previous tenant.

Can you Sub-lease?

Check your rental agreement first and get your landlord's permission in writing if it says you must.

Be careful! You are still responsible to the landlord for the duration of the original lease to the full extent.

If you sub-lease, you become the landlord (with all its laws and duties except maintenance and repair) of your sub-tenant and should draw up a rental contract to protect yourself - you can use our free tenant lease form for that purpose.

You can only sub-lease rights which you have with the landlord e.g. if you only have 2 months left, you can not sub-lease for longer than that.

Our advice - get the landlord to either terminate your agreement by mutual consent or by assignment (the new tenant replaces you and assumes all responsibilities). Formalize either agreement In Writing! to protect your renters rights.

Eviction Process

hand holding house and key

Both landlord and renters rights are covered in the eviction forms. You do have the right to employ an attorney or to get legal-aid if you can not afford an attorney and you do have the right to trial.

You can defend against eviction:

  • If you were served an eviction notice within 90 days of any complaint against the landlord (it may be seen as retaliation on the landlord's part)
  • If you paid the rent in full after the lawsuit for non-payment was filed
  • If you held back part of the rent to do necessary repairs which the landlord failed to do

Rather than duplicating all the information here, you should familiarize yourself with the Eviction Forms and Process and how they affect your tenant rights.

To help you address your renters rights with your landlord, we've compiled sample Letters to Landlord for various situations.

Important Information:

Can you hold back a portion of the rent?

What are your Renters Rights as to the Security Deposit?

Every tenant should know his/her Renters Rights and can make use of the free legal documents and printable free legal forms supplied here to ensure those rights!

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