Free Online Legal Resources
As a tenant you may be intimidated when you have a disagreement with your landlord and hesitate to assert your rights. You may feel like the underdog in a David-versus-Goliath situation, but federal law and laws in most states provide many protections for tenants. Even if you are behind in your rent and the landlord wants you out, you may have valid defenses to an action for eviction and other recourse than to pay what the landlord says you have to pay or move out.
Among your rights as a tenant are the right to:
Personal property is generally considered “abandoned” when a tenant leaves his/her belongings in the unit after the lease unless there is some agreement made between the tenant and the landlord to store the property. In most cases, when property is left in the unit and abandoned the landlord may remove the property and either store it or dispose of the property. Reasonable notification that property has been left in the uit should be given to the former tenant so that the tenant may reclaim the property. State laws may vary regarding how long a landlord may be required to store property before the landlord can dispose of it.
A security deposit is a deposit the landlord collects. After a tenant moves out, the landlord can apply the deposit to:
Many states set limits on how many months in rent or security deposit the landlord can demand. The landlord may, however, require deposit up to the mandated limits.
In general, once the tenant vacates the property, the landlord has 21 to 30 days to send the tenant a refund of the deposit minus any amount lawfully applied to back rent, damages to the premises, or costs for cleaning and storage.
The landlord must:
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified tenant rights lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local tenant rights attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.