Landlord - Tenant Law Center

Learn about your rights as a rental applicant and tenant, and how to handle common disagreements with landlords.

Find out how to comply with applicable housing and other laws, and run an efficient business as a landlord.

Become aware of the grounds landlords may utilize to evict tenants, and the procedures involved in ending a tenancy.

Discover the basic rules governing setting and increasing rent amounts, and common disputes in this area.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Can my landlord stop by my apartment unannounced?
    In general, your landlord must give notice before entering your rental unit except in emergency situations. Most jurisdictions require one to two days’ notice, and in some places notice must be in writing.
  • Can I take the cost of a new carpet out of my tenant’s security deposit?
    While landlords can deduct from a tenant’s security deposit to return the rental unit to its prior condition, they generally cannot make deductions for normal wear and tear that occurs over a long period.
  • Can I withhold rent if my landlord refuses to make repairs?
    Depending on your state’s law, you may be able to stop paying rent or pay into an escrow account if your landlord has failed to make a major repair as long as you have given notice and did not cause the damage yourself, among other requirements.
  • Can I evict a tenant as soon as they fail to pay rent?
    In most cases you must formally terminate a tenancy before you can evict a tenant. Some states also require a grace period for late rent. If your rental is subject to rent control, you must meet specific requirements before evicting.
  • When is my landlord allowed to raise the rent?
    In general, if you have a lease the landlord must wait until the lease is up to raise the rent, and for monthly rentals they must provide 30 days’ notice, though some states require more. Different rules apply in rent controlled areas.
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Popular Topics
  • Rent Control
    In five states and many large cities, rent control generally serves to prevent landlords from disproportionately raising rent, and from evicting tenants without cause. Rent control laws vary by jurisdiction.
  • Housing Discrimination
    Federal law prohibits landlords from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, family status, or disability in when renting or advertising. State and local laws are often broader.
  • Short-term vacation rentals
    While many tenants are renting their units out on a short-term basis to vacationers, it is important to confirm that your lease or rental agreement allows this or you may face eviction. Local zoning laws must also allow short-term rentals.
  • Injuries on Rental Property
    When tenants or their guests are injured on rental property through no fault of their own, landlords may be held liable for damages if the accident was foreseeable and the landlord failed to take reasonable steps to prevent it.
  • Resolving Landlord - Tenant Disagreements
    In disputes over payment of rent or other issues, it can often be faster and more economical to try to find an informal resolution through discussion or mediation before taking legal action in small claims or civil court.
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