Landlord-Tenant Laws of the U.S.

Landlord-Tenant laws vary between states. Learn the laws, rights, and responsibilities unique to your state.

Landlord-Tenant Laws of the U.S.

Landlord Tenant laws vary between states. Learn the laws, rights, and responsibilities unique to your state.

Select your State

Select a state to view what you need to know about landlord-tenant law. 


What Are Landlord-Tenant Laws?​

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Landlord-tenant laws
 protect both parties 
at the state and federal level

Landlord-tenant law is a set of rules created by state governments that both parties must follow in a residential agreement. They are designed to protect both the landlord and tenant in the case of any disagreements. Landlord-tenant acts helps landlords understand what their responsibilities are to their tenants and properties, which is essential when writing a fair and legal lease agreement. Many states use the Uniform Residential Landlord-Tenant Act of 1972 (URLTA) as the basis for their state-specific laws.

As such, most of these laws are very similar state-to-state, but there are some key differences that can prove significant depending on the situation. Many county and city localities have their own set of laws as well, that offer additional protections for the preservation of the community. It’s important for both landlords and tenants to fully understand the landlord-tenant law in their particular location in order to make sure they aren’t being taken advantage of and to avoid unnecessary lawsuits.

What Are Common Landlord-Tenant Law Differences By State?

door

When landlords can enter the unit

repairs
Notifications when making repairs
eviction notice
How to provide eviction notification
lease violation
Actions landlords may take in a lease violation​

Landlord-Tenant State and Local Laws vs Federal Laws

house tenants

Federal laws
are general

State and local
laws are specific

There are also federal fair housing laws that must be complied with in every state. You can think of these as broad guidelines, while the individual state and local laws get into the specifics. The main federal law to be aware of is the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The Fair Housing Act was put in place to prevent housing discrimination based on a number of factors, including race, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, and familial status. Many states and cities also have their own fair housing laws that offer additional protections to certain classes that are not covered by the federal Fair Housing Act.

An example of their Fair Housing Act is that a landlord would not be able to deny housing to a family with children, simply because they do not want children living in their rental. Unless the property meets an exemption (like being specifically designated as Housing for Older Persons), it would be illegal for them to deny this family housing. 

It’s important to have a firm grasp of federal, state, and local laws so you can understand how they interact.



Landlord-Tenant State and Local Laws vs Federal Laws

umbrella

Federal laws
are general

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State laws apply to where
the property is located,

not where the landlord lives.

Something to always keep in mind is that the state laws you must comply with are for where your property is located, and therefore where the tenant will actually be living. This seems obvious, but if you’re a landlord that owns multiple properties in different states, you may forget to update the necessary sections of each different lease. Make sure you do your due diligence with the paperwork in the beginning, because it can save you a lot of headaches down the road.



Landlord-Tenant Law FAQ’s

What are my rights as a renter?

In general, tenant rights include freedom from discrimination, the ability to live in a habitable environment, and being able to enjoy the privacy of your home. This means that landlords cannot deny potential tenants housing based on their race, religion, and many additional factors, landlords must provide a home with running water, electricity, and other safety features, and landlords cannot unduly “snoop” on residents. In order to learn more about these specifics, click on your state above and learn more about the Fair Housing Act.

Can a tenant withhold rent for any reason?

Yes, tenants are entitled to withhold rent if the landlord is not complying with the terms set out in the lease. The lease is a two-way agreement, basically saying that tenants agree to pay rent for landlords to provide proper housing. If a landlord is failing their end of the bargain, then tenants can withhold until the problem is fixed. Different states have different rules on how long landlords have to resolve issues before tenants can start withholding, so be sure to check out your specific state above.

Can a landlord ask a tenant to move out?

Again, the answer is yes. If a tenant is not complying with the terms of the lease, the landlord can ask them to move out, or in certain cases force them to leave with an eviction. However, there are important rules in regards to the timing, communication, and documentation when it comes to evictions, so you will need to check your specific state laws to be sure.

Disclaimer: TurboTenant, Inc does not provide legal advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. All users are advised to check all applicable local, state and federal laws and consult legal counsel should questions arise.

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