Tips & Advice
Can the landlord require tenants to carry renters insurance?
Unless the lease specifically requires it, landlords cannot require tenants to carry renters insurance. However, it is probably a good idea to have it anyway.
How often can a landlord raise the rent?
The frequency and amount by which a landlord can raise rents can vary depending on your location. For example, the city of Los Angeles has a Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO). This ordinance protects the tenant from excessive rate increases, but also allows the property owner to increase the rent a reasonable amount. In Los Angeles, property owners can raise the rent 3 percent once every 12 months. There can be variables as it relates to the Consumer Price Index. Once a tenant has left the property, the landlord can charge any market price for the next tenant, but once the property is occupied, the same rent hike rules apply to the new occupant.
What are the reasons for which a landlord can evict a tenant?
There are five primary reasons in which landlords can evict tenants:
For more specifics on all incidents allowing eviction, see the terms of your lease and/or any state and local laws.
- nonpayment of rent
- lease violation (noise complaints, non-tenants residing in the property, etc.)
- property damage
- illegal activity such as drug use or sales
- expiration of lease
What is wrongful eviction?
Wrongful eviction is when a landlord attempts to evict a tenant against the terms of the contract, or without legitimate legal cause. For instance: If you file a complaint, the landlord cannot evict you merely in retaliation, or to bring in a new, higher paying tenant. The landlord must abide by the legally binding terms of the contract and any and all laws. The tenant must also abide by the laws; breaking them or the terms of the contract could trigger a justifiable eviction.
Do landlords have the right to enter a property to do routine maintenance?
Yes, landlords have the right to enter a property provided they have given the tenants reasonable and timely notice of intent to enter. In cases of emergency, such as a flood or fire, or injuries or death, these rights can be waived to allow the landlord immediate entry. Usually, a notice issued between 24 and 48 hours prior is considered fair and reasonable for a landlord to request access.
What rights does a tenant have if a landlord tries to break the lease?
Landlords cannot break a lease without cause, or by going against the terms of a binding lease agreement. However, there might be cases in which the landlord is selling the property or it is being demolished, etc. In these types of circumstances, unless noted in the contract, the landlord must give reasonable notice prior to eviction and the tenant might even be entitled to live out the term of the lease.
What happens if a tenant breaks a lease?
Depending on the language of the lease, you might be on the hook financially for the balance of the term of the contract. Under a fixed-term lease, the tenant owes the landlord rent until the lease runs out or they can lease the property to a qualified new tenant, whichever comes first. Breaking a lease isn’t necessarily a foregone scenario--some leases have early termination clauses. Some landlords will also agree to let tenants out of the lease with no penalty, but they will likely keep the damage deposit. Sometimes tenants are also able to find a short-term renter or a sublease candidate for the property.
How much does a landlord-tenant lawyer charge?
Depending on the services you need, landlord-tenant lawyer fees can vary. For basic services, like drafting a simple contract, you might be billed hourly or on a flat-fee rate. Evictions and other more laborious endeavors can be more costly. The same goes for tenants--the bigger the case, the higher the cost. It is advised to have a consultation with any potential legal representative to get all the details of your case and set any and all billing expectations.
What is a landlord-tenant lawyer?
A landlord-tenant lawyer specializes in handling legal issues that can arise between these two parties. They can advise and guide landlords through the challenges of managing properties, such as drafting rental agreements and evictions. They equally represent tenants whose rights, according to the lease contract and other laws, might be violated.