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LegalLife Landlord-Tenant Handbook
The following information is taken from the LegalLife Landlord-Tenant Handbook. This free information is meant to help you become familiar with some of the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants. You can purchase the complete guide through the following link /us/US-LTH001.htm.
What is a Lease?
A lease is a rental agreement that specifies how long a tenant will stay on the property. If a landlord and tenant agree to a lease, the landlord can not raise the rent or evict the tenant during the period of the lease unless the tenant breaks the terms of the lease or the agreement provides for the terms of a rent payment increase.
What is a Security Deposit?
Many landlords demand a security deposit before a tenant moves in. This deposit protects the landlord from financial loss if the tenant fails to pay the rent, causes damage to the property or does not clean up the property when he or she leaves. State law often places a cap on the maximum amount of security deposit allowed and how and when a security deposit must be returned.
What is a Written Inspection Report?
A written inspection report describes the condition of the property when the tenant moves in. It generally has two parts: 1) a "premises condition statement" describing the condition of the unit 2) a "contents inventory" itemizing any furnishings and describing their condition.
The inspection report is not ordinarily required by law, but if a landlord or tenant requests it, one should be prepared.
When is Discrimination Illegal?
It is illegal under both state and federal law for landlords to refuse to rent to someone because of sex, race, religion, national origin, color, physical or mental disability, or pregnancy. A landlord may not even make an inquiry regarding the tenant's status in any of these areas.
Each landlord may choose whether or not to rent to smokers. Neither state nor federal law make smokers a protected class.
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