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Tenancy Agreement: Your Responsibilities as a Landlord

By Dez Duran-Lamanilao

The US tenancy law protects both proprietors and tenants and allows them to fulfill their respective responsibilities. In general, rents can be freely negotiated, except for communities in four states that implement rent control ordinances, namely San Francisco, Washington, D.C., New Jersey, and New York. Every property owner should make sure that all factors have been carefully considered before giving the tenancy agreement form for the tenant to sign. Here we try to identify the basic responsibilities of a landlord.

  • The timeline for signing lease should at least be 30 days before your tenant leaves and the unit becomes vacant. You would want to make sure that your earnings will not cease just because you allowed the property to be vacant for a month. This means that you should probably look for prospective tenants two months before your old tenants move out.
  • Regarding tenancy deposits, most states require that the deposit be made separate from the landlord’s account since these should be returned after the tenant leaves. Note that Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wyoming, and Wisconsin have no statutory deadline for the return of security deposit.
  • Needless to say, a landlord must follow the rules that have been agreed to in the tenancy agreement. Some of the most important ones include ensuring that the structure is safe to live in, providing the tenant a copy of the agreement, and keeping up with property maintenance
  • The tenancy agreement should also indicate the landlord’s responsibility to give an early notice, in writing, before increasing the rent. Generally, landlords are not allowed to increase the rent more than once yearly.

The mutual understanding and respect between tenants and property owners will play a vital role in ensuring that both parties are adhering to the terms of the tenancy agreement. This is a much better course of action than having to deal with lawsuits and wasting each other’s time and money because proper communication was not established from the beginning.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.