Almost everyone who moves out of their parent’s house will initially rent their own place. It can be an apartment or a house, with one bedroom or four, but it will be rented. Because of this, almost everyone has to deal with the owners. They are generally fair to their tenants. However, if you rent long enough, or are just unlucky, you’ll run into a bad one. A bad property manager may pester you about renting from him even if he’s not due yet, refusing to fix things that break on the property and generally making your life miserable. When you finally move out, they can do the worst trick, withhold your security deposit. Knowing your local tenant law or hiring a lawyer who does can save you from all of this.


The first sign that you have a bad landlord will be that he likes to bother his tenants. You may be harassed for rent every month, even if you have until the fifth to pay. Or they could threaten you with fines for wear and tear. If you know your local laws and know what’s in your lease, you can quickly shut down a harassing landlord. Is the rent they are claiming late? Point out that you have a signed contract that states it doesn’t expire until the fifth, no matter what they say. The damage you’re dealing on the ground? All rental laws have language that it is expected that normal wear and tear on items, caused by normal, daily use, cannot be penalized.

Refusal to fix items

Property owners often get into the business of renting out their properties because it seems like easy money. However, a full month’s rent or more can disappear when property needs repairs. This is why many homeowners will ignore repair requests. Knowing your local tenant law can help you understand what items your landlord is legally required to fix and what you can do if he or she doesn’t fix them in a timely manner. Even luxuries like a dishwasher need to be fixed, since you agreed to the lease with the understanding that the property had a dishwasher.

security deposit retained

The most common and frustrating thing landlords do is withhold all or part of your security deposit after you’ve moved out. They may fabricate damages or have exorbitant cleaning fees to justify not paying the money back. Most tenant laws require the return of the deposit within a certain period, often 30 days. If part of the deposit is withheld, many jurisdictions require an explanation and even receipts. If your property manager does not follow these laws, he can often recover all or part of the deposit withheld. Local statutes can also give you a clearer understanding of whether they were committing a crime.

In conclusion, knowing your local tenant law is important, as it can save you from harassment, complete your repairs, and help you receive your security deposit back intact.

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