When it comes to renting a property, landlords will find that state laws vary quite a bit. As a result, they may be surprised as to what a landlord cannot do. Because of this, they need to know all of their state laws about renting, which will help ensure that they don’t inadvertently violate any of them.
1. Prohibit Service Animals
While specific properties don’t allow pets, they must allow service animals. It is illegal for landlords to prohibit trained service animals on their property. Landlords can’t ask an individual to prove that they have a disability, but they can ask to see paperwork that a medical professional has certified the service animal.
2. Refuse To Make Reasonable Repairs
Rented properties need to be safe at all times. Because of this, landlords can’t refuse to make major repairs. If they do, a tenant may legally withhold rent payments until the landlord makes repairs. However, they still need to pay the rent after the landlord has made the necessary repairs to the dwelling.
3. Enter a Tenant’s Home Without Proper Notice
When trying to figure out what a landlord cannot do, tenants often wonder if their landlord can just come into their home. A landlord must give the tenant at least 24-hour notice before entering the home in many states. However, a landlord may enter a tenant’s home without giving proper notice if an emergency occurs, such as a fire or a medical issue.
4. Increase Rent Without Notice
Typically, a tenant’s lease term is for one year. Thus, a landlord can’t raise the tenant’s rent until the lease agreement is over. However, for month-to-month tenants, landlords must give them at least 30 days’ notice. So, although the rental market may be hot and a landlord would love to charge market rent, the lease is a legally binding contract preventing a landlord from raising rent.
5. Use a Tenant’s Space
The tenant’s space is for the tenant only unless the rental agreement states otherwise. Therefore, a landlord can’t use any part of the tenant’s space unless agreed to beforehand.
6. Allow Lead Content
Lead can be hazardous to tenants, but it used to be commonly used in paint. Because of this, some rentals still have lead present even though it is illegal. You can usually find lead paint in homes built before 1978. If a landlord knows there’s lead in their rental property, they need to remove it immediately. However, some landlords sign a disclosure that they are unaware of the lead paint regardless of the property’s age.
7. Discriminate Against Tenants
Under no circumstances can a landlord discriminate against a tenant, and they can’t evict them because of their race or ethnicity. Unfortunately, tenants cannot prove they are being discriminated against unless they have it in writing, such as through emails or text messages.
8. Unlawfully Evict Tenants
Landlords can’t unlawfully evict tenants, and they do need to have a valid reason to pursue eviction proceedings. These reasons can include things like paying rent late or having unauthorized individuals living with them.
9. Change Locks Without Notice
Tenants should have keys to their rented property at all times, which is why a landlord can’t change locks on the premises without giving the tenant notice. When a landlord does have to change the locks, they need to provide the tenant a key immediately to access the property.
10. Withhold a Tenant’s Security Deposit
The tenant should be given their security deposit after moving out if the rented property is in good condition. On the other hand, after thorough inspections, the landlord can keep the security deposit to make repairs above normal wear and tear, including cleaning, to the property.