The power dynamics between renters and landlords is confusing. Your landlord may not always exercise their position of authority in your best interest, and when this occurs, it can be difficult to know the best way to handle things or what your rights as a renter are. Understanding your rights as a renter can make the process easier and help you decide the best approach to confronting your landlord about any issues you may have or when they unfairly impede on your rights as a renter. Read on to learn about five rights you have when renting.
Some landlords attempt to take your entire security deposit even if you have given no reason to use that money for repairs and other work reflective of your time at their property.
If you feel you are being unfairly denied your security deposit, you have the right to argue for your money. Keep in mind that in these cases, your landlord cannot hold previous financial issues on your reports like an eviction check as reason to withhold your deposit.
2. Your Right To The Essentials
Under no circumstances should your landlord neglect to ensure that your basic needs are met regarding their rental property. Heat, gas, and electricity should all be in good standing, and security should as well (so, no broken windows and no uninstalled smoke detectors). Sometimes, landlords neglect to address these essentials or make necessary repairs, which is not okay.
3. Right To Personal Safety
If your landlord questions why a particular door is locked, you do not have to keep it unlocked to appease them. So long as you are paying rent to stay at their property, you have the right to your safety, even if they’d prefer you leave doors unlocked.
The same goes for windows, side doors, and other potential entrances into your property. If your landlord feels that they need to access the property, they need to inform you before showing up, and they need to use a key or do the respectful thing and knock before being let inside.
4. Right To Clean, Warm Water
There are legal obligations that your landlord must meet to be allowed to rent out any properties they own. If the water in your building runs cold or runs brown, these are significant issues that your landlord must fix.
You have the right to clean, warm water and should not be exposed to toxins or extreme temperatures. If these issues are present at your place, address these issues right away, and do not drink from the tap.
5. Right To Sanitation
If your landlord has not addressed underlying health risks at their property, you have the right to address these concerns. For example, if your bathroom lacks a vent and the accumulation of steam has attracted mold, as one example, you have the right to request a vent and mold inspection to rule out potential health issues. Basic sanitation for healthy apartment living is something every tenant should be able to expect in their rental units.
Don’t be afraid to challenge these issues if they arise. Likewise, if you feel your apartment needs a deep cleaning, this is something your landlord should not object to. They may not need to pay for it, but they should not have an issue with you wanting to improve the cleanliness of your property so long as it does not cause physical damage.
The Bottom Line
Your landlord may be the owner of their property, but you are the renter, and this entitles you to specific rights that cannot be overlooked. Consider the examples of tenant rights above and address matters accordingly if any of the above issues occur in your unit.