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Rhode Island Landlord Tenant Laws

Navigating Landlord Tenant Laws in Rhode Island

Renting can be a sticky wicket for both tenant and landlord, so the good state of Rhode Island has created to statutes to help protect the interests of both parties. Rhode Island statute Residential Landlord and Tenant Act ref. § 34-18 covers many situations and issues that are common in a landlord tenant relationship. Additional ordinances that are relative regarding remedies for grievances are covered under Limited Actions statute § 9-1-13. These rules and regulations that govern landlord tenant relationships protect both parties, ensuring that should something go awry, there are legal remedies in place to help injured parties.

When looking for a rental property in Rhode Island, contacting the Rhode Island Association of Realtors can help you find the perfect place, and help you understand the terms of a lease. We have compiled some of the most common regulations here, but if you have an issue with your landlord, you should seek advise and do your own research.

The Importance of the Lease

Although many rent without signing a lease, it is a really bad idea. A lease is a legal contract that binds both the tenant and landlord to adhere to a set list of behaviors and actions that are related to the tenancy. For example, a lease will contain a move in date, the length of the leasing period, what is allowed such as pets or smoking, the day rent is due and how much, grace periods, the amount of the security and pet deposit, any fees, and a copy of the move in walk through checklist. Many of these items are often regulated by states to help keep things fair and equitable between landlord and tenant. There is no statute governing a copy of the lease, so make sure you ask for yours and receive it to protect your rights.

In Rhode Island, the rental due date is governed by statute § 34-18-15(c) and is to be paid according to the lease or at the beginning of the month if no lease exists. There is no statute governing a grace period, but it is not uncommon to have a 5 day grace period written into the lease. The landlord is allowed to charge 25 dollars for a returned check fee collection fee if the returned check is not made good within thirty days. The landlord may charge the tenant three times the amount of the check but no less than $200 but no more than $1000.

If the landlord wishes to raise the rent, a 30 day notice must be given before the date of the increase unless the tenant is 62 years or older. In this case, a 60 day notice is required. There are no statutes governing late fees, but your landlord may include them in the lease. Prepaid rent is to be returned for any period after the termination of the lease must be returned within 30 days of the end of tenancy according to statute § 34-18-15(5).

If the landlord fails to provide the tenant with essential services such as water, heat and trash removal when the lease requires, a tenant can deduct the amount needed to supply the services from the amount of rent paid, but must follow the guidelines in statute § 34-18-31. When landlords fail to affect timely repairs, tenants are allowed to make the repairs after giving a 20 day notice if the repairs will cost less than $125. Additionally, the tenant must supply the landlord with and itemized list of costs incurred making the repairs § 34-18-30.

When a tenant abandons the property or the lease is terminated early the landlord may not impose a fee, but may collect any unpaid rent or other obligation such as costs of summonses after the tenant vacates the property§ 34-18-15(4). In this type of situation, landlords are required to make a reasonable attempt to reduce the amount of damages to the tenant by re-renting the property to reduce the amount of rent left in the lease period § 34-18-40. Finally, statute § 34-18-38 allow landlords to recoup legal fees as they relate to eviction for remaining in the property after the lease has terminated, or failure to release the property.

Security Deposit

Security deposit rules vary widely from state to state. In Rhode Island, a security deposit is limited to the amount of one month’s rent according to statute § 34-18-19(a). Although some states have statutes requiring the security deposit be deposited into a separate account and the accrued interest is regulated as well as rules governing the receipt of the deposit or deposit withholding. Statute § 34-18-19(b) regulates how landlords may use deposits and limits us to repairing damages outside of normal wear and tear and for unpaid rent. A written list and description of damages and costs must be sent to the tenant under statute § 34-18-19(b). Landlords must return security deposits within 20 days of lease termination and vacancy of the property or when the tenant provides a forwarding address for the deposit to be sent § 34-18-19(b).

If for any reason the landlord fails to comply with the rules regulating the return of the deposit, the tenant may seek reparations in small claims court. Tenants may sue for the amount of deposit due, plus twice that amount in damages § 34-18-19(c). In Rhode Island the maximum award is $2,500.

Notices and Landlord Entry to the Property

Often a bone of contention between landlord and tenant is entry to rental property by the landlord. Rhode Island has passed a number of statutes that govern notices and entry of the property, which helps both parties know what to expect, reducing conflicts. No statute governs fixed end date lease. There is also no statute governing notices for move in or out inspections that specify date and time. There is also no statute governing entrance for pest control.

The landlord must notify tenants of the address and phone number of the property manager for the purpose of receiving notices § 34-18-20. Statute § 34-37-1 protects domestic violence victims from lease termination or refusal to renew.

There are a number of regulations that pertain to entering the property, notices regarding failure to comply with the conditions of the lease and many other circumstances. Rhode Island Statute § 34-18-37(c) requires tenants to provide a 90 day notice of intent to vacate on leases with a year lease period. For a month to month, a 30 day period is required § 34-18-37(b) and a 10 day notice is required on weekly rental periods§ 34-18-37(a).

If the tenant fails to maintain the property according to Tenant Duties, the landlord may enter to affect repairs and send the tenant a notice asking for the cost of the repairs § 34-18-39. If the tenant fails to pay rent, after fifteen days the landlord may give the tenant a five day notice of eviction. Eviction may commence on the 6th day after mailing said notice § 34-18-35.

A landlord may give the tenant a 20 day notice to quit tenancy if the tenant has violated the lease. During these 20 days, the tenant may remedy the breach and remain in the property unless the notice is for participating in drug activity or a violent crime. If the tenant commits the same sort of violation again within six months, the landlord may evict with a 20 day notice and the tenant is not allowed to remedy the violation § 34-18-36.

The landlord is allowed to enter the property for maintenance, showings and other official duties either in an emergency or non-emergency after giving tenant the appropriate 2 day notice and may make entry during reasonable hours according to statutes § 34-18-26(a), § 34-18-26(b), and § 34-18-26(c).

The landlord is not allowed to effect an eviction using lockouts and statute § 34-18-34 provides tenants with remedies should the landlord attempt this tactic. Similarly, the landlord may not shut off utilities either and the same statute provides remedies if this tactic is attempted.

Other Regulations and Requirements

If a tenant violates certain laws, such as drug possession, commits a violent crime or has violated a city ordinance or violated the terms of the lease by disturbing the peace, the landlord may file to evict immediately without any notice § 34-18-36(f). Statute § 34-18-22.1 requires landlords to notify tenants in the event of a code violation within 30 days to every tenant unless the violation is remedied within that 30 day period. Any tenant moving into a building with a current code violation must be notified.

There are several regulations and requirements covered in statute § 34-37-1, which covers the Landlord Duties. Tenant Duties are described in statute § 34-18-24. These duties are numerous and relevant so each party should read the statutes to be fully aware of the obligation each party has. Some of the items included determine the landlord’s responsibilities regarding trash, maintenance, common areas, basic services and repairs. The tenant’s duties include cleanliness, lawful activity, controlled substances, and retaliation.

As mentioned, we can only cover some of the most asked about issues. We highly recommend that you research the statutes completely to understand your rights and responsibilities as landlord/ tenant.

Texas Landlord Tenant Laws

Rental law in Texas is generally favorable to landlords. However, there are protections for both landlords and tenants included in state statutes, and it is important for both parties to have a general knowledge of these regulations in case a dispute should arise. This article focuses on state statutes that apply throughout Texas, but keep in mind that there may be added statutes at the individual city and county level, especially in areas where the state has no formal laws or terms.

For tenants, tornado insurance is absolutely vital in the parts of Texas where they are known to touch down. Texas state law does not guarantee that a tenant can terminate a lease in the wake of a natural disaster if the dwelling is still deemed to be at least partially usable. Local codes may offer more protection, and landlords will generally show compassion and work with tenants when a crisis occurs, but the only absolute guarantee of protection is a form of renters insurance that covers tornado damage.

New Texas landlords or those who may be getting back into property management after an absence should note that the state made significant revisions to eviction rules in 2013 that apply to all counties. Small counties where precinct judges are not available full-time are now required to set dates for eviction hearings within a window of 10 to 21 days from filing. Landlords are also now required to take every tenant on the lease to court.

The information listed here is accurate and current as of the date of publishing, but should never be considered to be legal advice or to substitute for the assistance of a qualified lawyer who is licensed to practice in the state.

What Laws Cover Landlord-Tenant Relationships in Texas?

The general law that cover rental agreements in Texas is Title 8, Chapter 91 (Landlord and Tenant General Provisions). Title 8, Chapter 92 further establishes regulations for residential tenancies, while Chapter 93 covers commercial tenancies. Landlords and tenants should also be aware of Title 15, Chapter 301, better known as the Texas Fair Housing Act. Condo owners and renters will want to review Title 7, Chapter 32, the Uniform Condominium Act.

Security Deposit Rules

Texas has very little in the way of statutes at the state level regarding the terms of security deposits. What rules there are can be found in Property Code Chapter 92, Subchapter C.

Landlords must return a security deposit within 30 days of the end of the lease. If they retain any money for damages, they must provide an itemized list of their charges, unless the tenant still owes rent at the end of the lease. The landlord is considered to have returned the security deposit on the date that it was postmarked. The 30-day period does not begin until the tenant provides the landlord with their forwarding address, but the tenant cannot waive their right to the deposit by not providing such an address.
If a landlord is found to have retained a security deposit in bad faith, they can be held liable for three times the amount of the deposit plus $100 and the court and attorney costs of the tenant.

There are no state statutes governing the maximum amount of a security deposit, the paying of interest, or where the deposit is kept. Pet fees and other miscellaneous fees are allowed and there are no statutes governing them, but it is important to check with the local city and county to see if they have any added regulations.

Lease, Rent and Fee Rules

Fees and withholding terms are governed by Chapter 92.012.

There are no requirements for a landlord to provide advance notice of a rent increase. There are no limits on returned check fees, but late fees must be “reasonable” under the wording of the statute.

There are no statutes allowing the tenant to withhold rent for failure to provide needed utilities. However, tenants do have some right to make repairs and deduct rent if they give prior written notice. They may only deduct $500 or the equivalent of one month’s rent in a year, however.

Both landlords and tenants are allowed to recover court and attorney fees if they win a court case. Landlords are allowed to terminate a lease immediately if a tenant is convicted of public indecency. If the tenant leaves for any reason prior to the end of the lease, however, the landlord is obligated to attempt to mitigate damages including making every reasonable attempt to re-rent the unit.

Utility shutoffs are never allowed in the state. Texas is one of the very few states that allows lockouts if a tenant breaks the lease, but only in certain narrow circumstances governed by Chapter 92.0081. Landlords cannot do this unless the tenant is delinquent in their rent, and must place a written notice on the front door that instructs tenants where to go to retrieve the new key. The new key must also be available 24 hours a day. The landlord must also be immediately available after they change the locks. Landlords who change locks illegally can be held liable for one months rent by the tenant.

Notice and Entry Rules

Rules about notice and entry are covered under Chapter 91. Tenants generally have to give one month’s notice to terminate their lease, but landlords can agree to a shorter term in the lease if they choose to. There are no statutes governing advance notice of a move-out inspection.

Landlords have to give tenants three days written notice if they are evicting for non-payment. The tenant has the right to bring payment current during that time to restore the lease, however. There are no statutes governing termination for a lease violation, but landlords have the right to evict a tenant immediately if they are convicted of public indecency.

State statute does require the landlord to give some amount of advance notice before entering the premises, but it does not specify an amount of time. 24 hours is a general industry standard. There are no statutes about entry during an extended absence by the tenant or about emergency entry.

Required Disclosures and Notes

Required disclosures are covered under Chapter 92.014.

Landlords are required to identify their own name and address in the lease, as well as that of any property manager that might be appointed. If a tenant notifies the landlord of needed repairs and they cannot or will not make them, the landlord is required to provide tenant with written notice of their right to repair and deduct from the rent (as described in the Lease, Rent and Fee Rules section above).

Texas does offer some protection for domestic violence victims under Chapter 92.016. A residential lease can be terminated early if the landlord is provided with a copy of a protective order or a temporary injunction that is part of a divorce proceeding. If the perpetrator of the domestic abuse lives with the victim, the victim can terminate the lease immediately with no penalty. If the perpetrator lives elsewhere, the victim must give 30 days notice to terminate the lease without penalty. They can request that the landlord change the locks immediately at their expense, however. Landlords are also required to inform their tenants of these rights in writing.

If a tenant passes away, the landlord has the right to remove their personal property after 30 days if no one has claimed the items. They are required to send notice by certified mail to the point of contact that they have on record.

Small Claims Court

The small claims court limit in Texas is $10,000. Evictions are heard in small claims court in the state, but may not be filed by companies that primarily make their income by lending money at interest or by collections agencies or agents.

Realtor Associations in Texas

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Washington Landlord Tenant Laws

Welcome to Washington

You’ve found the perfect apartment or house to rent in a new town – congratulations!  Getting moved in and unpacked will keep you occupied for a while.  Before you get too settled, though, understand how the laws of Washington State affect tenants.  What are your rights and responsibilities as a renter?  Regardless of whether your new digs are in Seattle, Spokane, or Wenatchee, the same rules apply.  Review the information and links below to better understand your obligations – and welcome to Washington!

Other Renters

Please note, much of the information below applies specifically to apartment and home renters.  If you are renting a mobile home, or are in a subsidized home program, consult WashingtonLawHelp.org.

Security Deposit Rules

Before moving into your new rental home, it’s likely that you will need to place a security deposit with your landlord.  Terms of the security deposit should be outlined in your lease, however, there are some things you should know before turning those funds over.  Security deposits typically cover:

  • Damage to the property
  • Cleaning fees
  • Last month’s rent
  • Pet deposit

How Much is Security Deposit?

There is no maximum amount of deposit.  However, if you are having trouble coming up with the funds you need, you may qualify for assistance.

Protect Your Security Deposit

One can hope that a landlord will be honest and deal fairly with you, but even under the best of circumstances, there can be differences of opinion.  Before you fork your deposit over, follow these guidelines.

  • Make sure you receive, examine, and agree with a checklist description of the condition of your new rental home.  Is everything in working order? Is anything broken before you move in?  Make sure there is a record of these types of things before you hand over your security deposit.
  • Obtain a receipt for your deposit.  Without a receipt, you may find it difficult to get your deposit returned after you move out.
  • Provide your landlord a written notice at least 30 days before moving out.
  • Clean.  Leave the place in the best possible condition.  You are not legally responsible for normal wear and tear on your rental, but if there has been damage done, you likely will not get all of your security deposit back.
  • Request your deposit, and leave a forwarding address for your landlord to send the funds.  The law requires your deposit be returned within 14 days.

For more information about receiving your security deposit, read RCW 59.18.260.

Types of Leases

For any type of lease or agreement you enter, try to get a copy in writing from the landlord.  The lease will spell out the details of the rental contract, as well as any rules and expectations between the renter and landlord.  Generally, this will provide you information about the kind of agreement you are signing up for.

  • Month-to-month agreements are not uncommon.  These rental arrangements have no end date, and are not required to be in writing.  Your potential landlord may be willing to provide you with a written lease, if you ask, however.  Generally, you are able to continue renting as long as you fulfill your obligations as a renter.
  • Yearly leases must be in writing.   Some renters find these contracts preferable to month-to-month renting because there are some protections.  The law restricts changes to the rent without your agreement.  In other words, your landlord cannot easily change the terms of your tenure.

Rent Rules – Landlord Obligations

The Residential Landlord-Tenant Act of 1973 outlines rent and fee rules between renters and landlords.  For example, here are some of the obligations the landlord must fulfill while you rent from her/him:

  • Maintain a safe dwelling that does not endanger your health.
  • Repair items that break.
  • Keep the locks in good repair, and provide you with keys.
  • Make reasonable efforts to keep your apartment or rental house pest free.
  • Keep you protected from the weather by making structural repairs (roof, leaks, windows, etc.).
  • Provide you with a receipt – especially if you pay with cash.

Landlords can evict you, but only with just cause.  They must give you 20 days written notice, and cannot simply lock you out of the place.

 

Rent Rules – Tenant Obligations

As a tenant, you have obligations as well.  Some of the more significant of these responsibilities are to:

  • Pay your rent on time.
  • Keep the property reasonably clean and in order.  Do not let garbage or trash accumulate so that it causes a nuisance to others.
  • Do not engage in any illegal or hazardous activities on the premises.  No drugs or gang-related activity.
  • Refrain from intentionally damaging or improperly using gas, electrical, and plumbing fixtures.

Being a responsible tenant will go a long way toward ensuring you get your deposit back, and establish a good rental record for the future.

Additional Fees

It’s possible that there will be costs associated with your rental apartment or home beyond rent and your security deposit.  A cleaning fee, for example, may be a refundable fee that you will have to pay before moving elsewhere – regardless of how well you try to clean the place.

Some renters are obligated to pay an “application fee” – that pays for keeping the apartment or house available to you while you are going through the process of signing papers, and putting up your rent and security deposit.

Notice and Entry Rules

Whether it’s to make repairs, or show the place off to a new potential renter, your landlord has some rights to enter your apartment (or rental house).  But they must first give you notice.  In the state of Washington, unless there is some emergency, landlords must provide two days’ notice before entering the rented premise to take care of repairs or to inspect.  If your place is being shown to a potentially new renter, your landlord is obligated to give you only one day’s notice.

Required Disclosures and Notes

The Revised Code of Washington (RCW 59.18.060) outlines the duties of landlords, including information they are required to disclose to you.  When you rent an apartment or house from someone, you have the right to know:

  • Are there any health hazards such as indoor mold?
  • Are working smoke detectors installed?
  • What are emergency procedures for multi-family residents?

 

Small Claims Court

In the best of all worlds, there wouldn’t be problems between landlords and tenants.  If you have differences with your landlord, first try to settle them yourself or through a mediator.  But if you can’t come to an agreement about a money issue such as your security deposit refund, the amount of rent you owe, you may have to file a complaint in claims court.

Limits of Claims Court

Small Claims Court is designed to settle financial disputes $5000 or less – which fits most landlord-tenant disputes.  There are no lawyers or juries in Small Claims Court, and it cannot help you retrieve belongings from your landlord, or make him/her take any action such as repair the water heater.  If you have a claim, go to the district court where your landlord lives to file.

Links for More Information

If you need more information on renting in Washington State, or are currently searching for a place, these links may be useful.

Finding a Rental

Washington State Tenant Resources

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Tennessee Landlord Tenant Laws

The bulk of Tennessee’s landlord-tenant laws are governed in the state’s code under section 66-28. You can access it on LexisNexis by visiting this link and scrolling down to Title 66, clicking the plus sign, and clicking again on Chapter 28, which is the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. From there, the code branches into specific sections.

As an example, to find the section on security deposits, which is numbered 66-28-301, you’d open up Part 3 in Title 66, Chapter 28 and click on “66-28-301. Security deposits.” In the 301, the 3 means Part 3 and the 01 means the first article. Meanwhile, 302 would mean the second article in Part 3, and so on. That pattern holds for all sections mentioned in this article.

Though most landlord-tenant laws are in 66-28, some are in other parts of the code. To find information in other titles or chapters, simply substitute the right numbers: Title 47, Chapter 29, Part 1, Article 3 would correspond to 47-29-103.

This article aims to summarize Tennessee’s landlord-tenant laws, but you should always do further research and consider seeking legal or professional advice before becoming a landlord or tenant. Also double-check any statutes to be sure your information is up to date–laws can change frequently.

Security Deposits

As previously mentioned, security deposit rules are listed under section 66-28-301. Tennessee is a somewhat lenient state when it comes to security deposits, leaving many decisions up to landlords. For instance, there is no maximum on the amount a landlord can require for a security deposit, nor is there a statute regarding nonrefundable deposits. There is also no statute governing pet deposits or additional fees.

The state does require a separate bank account for security deposits. In fact, it’s the very first rule listed: “All landlords of residential property requiring security deposits prior to occupancy are required to deposit all tenants’ security deposits in an account used only for that purpose, in any bank or other lending institution subject to regulation by the state or any agency of the United States government.”

The tenant has a right to a joint move-out inspection, if they so request. However, the tenant waives that right under certain conditions: if the tenant vacated without written notice; if they abandoned the premises; judicial removal of the tenant; or if they never contact the landlord about the inspection or fail to show up for it.

If a tenant moves out and has a refund due, a landlord must make a reasonable attempt to contact them–in the code’s words, by “send notification to the last known or reasonably determinable address.” If the landlord doesn’t receive a response in 60 days, they can keep the refund and do with it what they please.

Lease, Rent, and Fee Rules

Section 66-28-201 covers the bulk of the rules on lease terms, rent, and fees. Tenants and landlords have some flexibility when it comes to rental terms, as long as they agree to it. For instance, rent is typically due at the start of each month, but arrangements can be flexible with the consent of both parties. The landlord can also consent to rent charges pro-rated by the day. One rule isn’t flexible, though: There is a five-day grace period on late rent. Sundays and legal holidays do not count toward the grace period. Late fees can’t exceed 10 percent of the amount of rent due.

The fee for a returned check is up to $30, per Tennessee’s section 47-29-102.

If a dwelling is uninhabitable, the tenant might face a lengthy process. For instance, as per section 68-111-104, if the dwelling is not habitable, the tenant can complain to local officials. An inspection occurs; if it confirms the problem, the landlord has 30 days to fix it. If the landlord doesn’t fix the problem, the tenant sends rent to the county clerk of the property’s county for safekeeping. Then, if the landlord hasn’t fixed the problem after six months from the first notice, the landlord loses the rent money to the state.

Section 66-28-502 covers other circumstances. In the absence of essential services, a tenant can withhold rent. They can also recover the cost of substitute housing as well as attorney’s fees. Alternatively, the tenant can procure essential services from elsewhere and deduct the cost from their rent. The full list of essential services is as such: “utility services, including gas, heat, electricity, and any other obligations imposed upon the landlord which materially affect the health and safety of the tenant.”

Notice and Entry Rules

Several different sections cover notice and entry rules in Tennessee. As per 66-28-512, landlords need to give 30 days’ notice when a month-to-month lease is set to expire, and 10 days’ notice for a week-to-week lease. Section 66-28-505 stipulates that if a landlord is going to terminate a lease because of a tenant’s nonpayment, the tenant gets 14 days to fix the situation and 30 days to vacate the property. On the reverse side, if a tenant is going to terminate their lease because of a landlord’s noncompliance with the lease terms, the notice period is 14 days, as per section 66-28-501.

Termination for drug-, violence-, and prostitution-related acts occurs much more quickly. For tenant violations involving controlled substances or prostitution, termination is immediate, as per section 66-7-107. Section 66-7-109, meanwhile, stipulates that a violent tenant, or one involved in drug-related criminal activity, only gets three days’ notice.

Section 66-28-403 covers entry rules. Landlords can always enter during emergencies. If it’s written into the lease, during the final 30 days of the tenancy, the landlord can give 24 hours’ notice and enter the property to show it to perspective future tenants. Additionally, the “shall not unreasonably withhold consent to the landlord to enter” for routine maintenance and inspections.

Required Disclosures and Notes

Section 66-28-302 stipulates that a landlord must give the tenant their name and address in writing, along with that of anyone who manages the property for the landlord. Landlords must also provide information on any lead paint hazards, including full disclosure of the danger and provision of the EPA’s pamphlet on hazards from lead-based paint.

Landlords and tenants both have certain general duties. For landlords, those general duties are found in section 66-28-304. The landlord must comply with building and housing healthy and safety codes; make repairs and do other things necessary to “keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition”; maintain the common areas; and deal with trash removal in complexes of four or more units.

The general obligations of tenants are in section 66-28-401, and are similar to that of the landlord. They have to comply with housing and building codes that deal with safety; keep the area they use clean and safe; dispose of their trash in “designated receptacles”; avoid damaging or illegal activities; and avoid disturbing the “neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises.”

Court and Realtor Information

The limit in Tennessee small claims court is $25,000, but no limit exists for eviction suits, as per 16-15-501. You can find a list of county clerks here, and information on general sessions court here. The Tennessee State Courts’ website is here.

Section 28-3-109 sets the statute of limitations for rent at six years, while 29-3-105 sets the statute of limitations for damage to real property at three years.

To find an attorney, you can contact the Tennessee Bar Association, the Memphis Bar Association, the Nashville Bar Association, the Chattanooga Bar Association, or the Knoxville Bar Association.

Several realtor associations exist in Tennessee, including the Tennessee Association of Realtors, the Tennessee Valley Association of Realtors, and the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors. Other regional associations exist as well, and should appear in an Internet search.

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South Dakota Landlord Tenant Laws

Residential Landlord Tenant Laws in South Dakota

When considering tenancy in South Dakota, there are a number of regulations that are contained within a few different laws; the Lease of Real Property §§ 43-32-1 to 43-32-30, Limitation of Actions §§ 15-2-1 to 15-2-36, and Forcible Entry and Detainer §§ 21-16-1 to 21-16-12. Your local realtor may be very familiar with these, as the South Dakota Realtors Association often helps clients find and lease the perfect rental property. Getting familiar with these regulations will help your landlord tenant relationship, as you will understand your responsibilities as a tenant as well as your landlord’s responsibilities.

Why Should I Sign a Lease?

While it is possible to rent without a lease, it is much better to have a lease. Your lease not only outlines what is expected of both landlord and tenant regarding your rental experience, but it also functions as a written record to protect both parties. There are many ambiguous details that are not regulated by South Dakota, so including these in the lease removes any doubt or concern. A lease will contain a move in date, the date rent is due and how much it is. It will list the amount of the deposit and provide a record of receipt. It will include whether or not pets are allowed, and if they are, a physical description and number of pets, and any pet deposit. A lease may include a move in walk through checklist, which can be invaluable when moving out, proving damages that may have existed when you moved in, like small stains on the carpet.

South Dakota doesn’t provide statutes governing rental grace periods, prepaid rent, and late fees, but each of these items may be included in the lease. There are no statutes regarding abandonment or early termination fees, or requiring the landlord to mitigate the tenant’s damages by re-renting as soon as possible or allowing landlords to recover court and attorney costs. That said, these may be part of your lease, so make sure you read it thoroughly and understand what you are agreeing to. If you are seeking remedy in the South Dakota Small Claims Courts, you will be limited to $12,000

In South Dakota, statute §§ 43-32-12 requires rent be paid at month’s end. Statute §§ 43-32-13 requires a 30 day notice before rent is increased. Returned check fees are allowed up to $40, but a sign indicating such must be placed in an area that is easily seen, or tenants must be notified in writing.

South Dakota allows tenants to affect repairs that make the property, “fit for habitation,” and to withhold rent to make them. However, the tenant must provide the landlord with a written notice of intent. If the landlord fails to make the repairs, the tenant may make them and deduct it from the rent and must give the landlord a written accounting of the repairs. If the repairs exceed one month’s rent, the tenant may place the rent in its own account. The tenant will provide the landlord with proof and a record of the deposits. If repairs aren’tmade by the time the repair cost is reached in the account, the tenant may make the repairs and then supply the landlord with an accounting of the repairs. If there is rent remaining, the tenant must pay the landlord §§ 43-32-9).

Although there is no statute governing the right of the tenant to withhold rent if the landlord fails to provide essential services such as water, heat and trash removal the tenant may argue that these are needed to make the property habitable under the prior statute.

Security Deposits

South Dakota requires return of security deposits to be made within two weeks of the tenant’s vacancy. If there are any withholdings, the landlord must notify the tenant within this two week period and then supply the tenant with an itemization within 45 days, but the tenant must request the deposit be returned §§ 43-32-24. Security Deposits may only be used to cover the cost of unpaid rent or to affect repairs to damages that are outside of normal wear and tear §§ 43-32-24.

There are no statutes governing the receipt of the security deposit, or regarding record keeping of monies withheld from the deposit. If the landlord fails to comply with the statutes governing the return of the deposit, any failure to comply will allow the tenant to seek damages in the amount of $200 and must return the entire deposit §§ 43-32-24.

Take Notice

In South Dakota there are a number of regulations that govern required notices as well as the landlord’s right to entry. This ensures a tenant’s privacy, but still allows the landlord to care for the property. Statute §§ 43-32-32 allows landlords the right to enter without notice in the event of an emergency. It also allows landlords to enter the property for showings after giving the tenant a 24 hour notice in writing and only during reasonable hours. This statute allows landlords to enter with 24 hours written notice to affect repairs and perform maintenance during reasonable hours.

Tenants on a predetermined end date lease are not required to give notice as stated in statute (§§ 43-32-22(1). A tenant giving notice of the end of tenancy on yearly leases must give notice of intent to remain, and it is required to be agreed upon by both parties (§§ 43-32-5. Notice of lease termination by the tenant on a month to month lease must supply a 30 day written notice §§ 43-32-13 & §§ 43-8-8. When a tenant rents weekly and the lease is open ended, a seven day notice is required §§ 43-32-15.

Landlords may give a tenant a 24 hour notice to vacate when the tenant violates their tenant duties, or other action that can be remedied with eviction or doesn’t act to remedy issues to prevent eviction §§ 21-16-1(7). In weekly tenancies, rent’s due and owing after the week passes. If the tenant fails to pay rent, the landlord may serve a written notice to vacate §§ 43-32-12 & §§ 21-16-1(4). The landlord may give a three day written notice for non-payment of rent for any other rental period §§ 21-16-1-(4). Landlords may serve a written notice to evict tenants for violating the lease. The may also send notice if repairs have not been made that are to be performed by the tenant §§ 43-32-18.

Landlords are not allowed to use tactics such as lockouts and utility shut off to force a tenant out §§ 43-32-6.

Details and Other Notes

Consumers are encouraged to read pdfs: South Dakota Consumer Handbook Office of the Attorney General Jerry Long (pgs 44-55) Landlord Tenant Issues and Landlord Tenant Disputes. Tenants and landlords should also be familiar with both the Landlord Duties §§ 43-32-6 and Tenant Duties §§ 43-32-6. These statutes provide a basic level of reasonable responsibilities and rights for both.

Landlord’s Duties include keeping the dwelling habitable and in a livable condition, keeping up with maintenance and repairs. Landlords must disclose lead to prospective tenants, supplying them with a pamphlet regarding the hazards of lead-based paint. If the property has been used to make methamphetamine, this information must also be disclosed if the landlord has knowledge of such behavior §§ 43-32-30.

Tenant Duties include keeping the dwelling habitable, preserving and repairing any damages caused from negligent behavior. If in this endeavor, the tenant contacts a governmental agency regarding a safety or health concern, the landlord may not serve a retaliatory eviction or deny the tenant a lease renewal §§ 43-32-27 & §§ 43-32-28.

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South Carolina Landlord Tenant Laws

A Look at South Carolina Landlord Tenant Laws

If you are in or entering into a landlord tenant relationship, there are a number of regulations the state of South Carolina has in place that are designed to protect the interests of both parties in a fair and equitable fashion. In South Carolina, these regulations are found in the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, S.C. Code Ann. §§ 27-40.  This statute covers most issues that arise between landlord and tenant, but not all issues are governed by a statue, which is why it is important to sign a lease. A lease is a legal document that contains most details that are important to know, such as whether or not pets are allowed, the amount of the security deposit paid, the amount of rent and the due, to name a few.

What’s in a Lease?

Although many landlord/ tenant relationships are very successful with a written lease, it is wise to have one. Because there are a number items not governed by South Carolina legislation, having these covered in the lease turns this ambiguous terms into a legal contract. If you need help negotiating a lease, the friendly folks at the South Carolina Realtors Association are happy to help.

Security Deposit

In South Carolina, several security deposit details are not covered under legislation. These include: security deposit maximums, pet deposits, deposit interest, non-refundable fees, and security deposit bank accounts. There are aspects of the security deposit that are governed. For example, statute § 27-40-410(a) requires the landlord to return the security deposit within 30 days after the lease terminates and the tenant has relinquished possession of the property and sent a demand for return. The tenant must supply a forwarding address for the return of the deposit. If the tenant fails to provide this information, the tenant is not entitled to recover damages related to a non-returned deposit.

The landlord may use the deposit to cover costs for unpaid rent and for purposeful damages not related to normal wear and tear under statutes  §§ 27-40-510 and § 27-40-410(a). Section (a) also requires the landlord to provide a written accounting of damages and costs. Statute § 27-40-410(c) “Disclosure of Deposit Amounts” requires the landlord to provide tenants with methods for calculating deposits when renting more than four adjoining units. If the landlord fails to comply with regulations governing the return of the deposit, the tenant may seek an amount equal to three times the deposit plus attorney’s fees according to statute § 27-40-410(b).

Rent and Fees

In South Carolina, rent is due as agreed upon in the lease and can be paid from the tenant’s home § 27-40-310(c). Late fees are not governed; however, they may be considered rent for the purposes of collection § 27-40-210 (11). No statutes govern application fees prepaid rent, grace periods or rent increase notices. Returned check fees of $30 are allowed § 34-11-70.

Tenants are allowed to withhold rent in the event the landlord fails to provide essential services such as heat and water § 27-40-630(a)(1)§ 27-40-640. Statute § 27-40-630(c) disallows tenants from making repairs and deducting them from the rent § 27-40-630(c). If the landlord attempts to perform a  “Self help” eviction using these tactics, tenants may under statute § 27-40-760 and my recover their possessions and injuries in the amount of twice the amount of actual damages or three times the amount of one month’s rent.

The landlord is allowed to recover court costs and attorney’s fees under statute § 27-40-770(c), § 27-40-750. Landlords are required to reduce the damages to the tenant by re-renting as soon as possible under statute § 27-40-730(c).

In the case of an abandoned property, statute § 27-40-730(a) requires that a continuous period of 15 days where the tenant is absent from the unit or has failed to pay rent, constituting abandonment. If the tenant has discontinued utility services, and has a period of unexplained absence following a failure to pay rent, the property may be assumed to be abandoned § 27-40-730(b). If the tenant has abandoned the property, the landlord may dispose of personal property with a value less than $500 (§ 27-40-730(d)) and will not be held responsible disposals over $500 unless the tenant can prove gross negligence by the landlord § 27-40-730(f).

Entry and Notices

South Carolina statutes § 27-40-530(a), § 27-40-530(b)(1 , § 27-40-530(b)(2) prohibit tenants from preventing entry by the landlord for inspections, repairs, maintenance, showings and several other specific situations as listed in the statute. Entry during emergency and non-emergency situation, for pest control is allowed in these statutes. Statute § 27-40-530(c) requires a 24 hour notice and that said entry will occur during reasonable hours. There is no statute governing entry when a tenant is thought to have abandoned the property.

Notices required to end tenancy vary according to the period of the lease. When the lease is a year long lease with a per-determined end of tenancy, no statute exists, but it is good form to always give at least a 30 day notice. A month to month lease requires a thirty day notice § 27-40-770(b). A weekly lease requires a seven day notice of intent to vacate § 27-40-770(a).

If there is a violation of the lease, the landlord may serve the tenant a 14 day notice to vacate under statute § 27-40-710(a). When a tenant fails to pay rent, the landlord may serve the tenant a 5 day notice of intent to terminate tenancy and may file for eviction on the sixth day unless this is already stipulated in a written lease, in which case no written notice is required § 27-40-710(b). No statute governs move in or out inspection date and time.

Other Concerns and Pertinent Information

There are some things to keep in mind. Although there are guidelines in place for damaged parties to recover their losses, these are sought in small claims courts and in South Carolina the maximum award is $7,500. To help avoid this, the state of South Carolina has created both Landlord Duties § 27-40-440 and Tenant Duties § 27-40-510.

Landlord Duties as described in the legislation require the landlord to comply with housing and building codes that affect health and safety and must deliver the property according South Caroline statute § 27-40-430 under Landlord Duties. The landlord’s responsibilities also include repairs and maintenance, supplying heat and water unless the tenant has exclusive control and is able to purchase utilities directly.

Landlords are required to disclose the presence of lead in the residence and to supply tenants with a pamphlet that outlines the health and safety concerns about lead.

Tenant Duties also require compliance with housing and building codes. Tenants are required to keep the property clean, must dispose of their garbage properly, are required to keep fixtures and appliances clean as their condition allows. No is expected to make an old appliance look new. Tenants are expected to conduct themselves in a lawful manor and conducting themselves in a manner that allows for “quiet enjoyment.” This rule prevents disturbing the peace.

Tenants are protected from retaliatory evictions after the tenant has notified a governmental agency in regard to safety and health issues they are experiencing in the residence  § 27-40-910. This also applies if the resident has complained directly to the landlord as well.

Although we have presented several statutes found in South Carolina Landlord Tenant legislation, this is by no means an complete listing of all the statutes and situations that may arise between landlord and tenant.

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Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Laws

Landlords generally consider Pennsylvania rental law to tilt in favor of the tenant, mostly due to the fact that the eviction process in the state is time-consuming and costly. While statutes allow for eviction with 10 days notice, the tenant has many court options available to them that extend the process and can drag it out for months if they are determined to. It is important to keep up with local ordinances, however, as they can have an impact on this process.

The state does not have a requirement for landlords to have any sort of business licenses. Some localities have their own rules about this, however. For example, Philadelphia requires landlords to obtain a housing rental license. And the city of Pittsburgh requires a license for certain types of rentals, such as bed and breakfasts.

The information provided here is taken from state statutes and is accurate and up to date as of publication. However, it is important to understand that this information should not be considered to be legal advice or to be a substitute for the counsel of a licensed attorney.

What Laws Cover Landlord-Tenant Relationships in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania rental law is largely governed by Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. 250.101-250.602, more commonly known as the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951. Of course, a law from 1951 would be inadequate for modern needs, so there is also an amendment (the Amendment to Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951) that was most recently updated in 2012. One other area of the law that has some bearing on landlord and tenant relationships is Title 68 of the Consolidated Statutes, which addresses real and personal property.

Security Deposit Rules

Statutes 68 P.S. 250.511a and 250.512 address the handling of security deposits. Landlords may ask for a deposit that is equal to as much as two months of rent in the first year of a lease, but must reduce that amount to one month of rent in any subsequent years. In the second year, the tenant also becomes entitled to earn interest on their deposit. The landlord must pay the tenant interest at a rate of 1% per year, with the first payment made at the conclusion of the second year. These funds must be held in a separate bank account if they are to be held for over two years and exceed the amount of $100. Landlords are required to notify tenants of the name and address of the bank where the deposit is being held.

Upon termination of the lease, landlords have 30 days to return the deposit to the tenant along with any interest owed to them. The landlord can withhold money from the deposit for unpaid rent or damages, but if they do they must provide the tenant with an itemized list of charges. If a landlord fails to comply with these requirements, they forfeit any right to any amount of the deposit regardless of damages. They also lose the right to bring a lawsuit against the tenant for recovery of damages. If the landlord withholds the deposit in bad faith, they can be held liable for double the amount of all money owed including interest.

There are no statutes in Pennsylvania law regarding application fees, non-refundable fees, or requirements to keep records of deposit withholdings.

Lease, Rent and Fee Rules

There are no statutes in Pennsylvania law addressing when rent is due, advance notice of an increase in rent, grace periods for paying rent, prepaid rent terms, or late fees.

Returned check fees are allowed by Statute 250, but are limited to no more than $50 unless the actual cost in fees to the landlord exceeds $50, in which case they may collect their actual cost. There is no statute allowing tenants to repair and deduct from the rent, but tenants may withhold rent if utilities are not provided and a government agency deems that the dwelling is not habitable. Landlords cannot recover attorney and court fees, but they also are under no obligation to mitigate damages when a tenant breaks the lease early or is evicted.

Personal property laws in Pennsylvania are somewhat complex and are governed by Statute PL 1091 of the Amendment to the Landlord-Tenant Act. If the tenant quits the property and leaves personal belongings behind after a successful eviction or voluntarily with written notice, the landlord must send notice to the tenant as soon as possible at their last known address. The tenant has ten days from the postmark date to get in touch with the landlord. If the tenant makes contact within this time, they are then given 30 days to pick up the items. After 10 days, however, the landlord may move the items to a storage unit and bill the tenant for it. If the tenant either does not get in touch within the initial 10 days, or does not collect the items within 30 days, the landlord is free to dispose of them.

Members of the military can terminate a lease early if they receive orders to active duty, to change duty stations or to be deployed for three months or more. They can also terminate the lease early if they are discharged from the service. Notice of 30 days is still required and the rent will be pro-rated for that time if necessary.

Notice and Entry Rules

Advance notice for a tenant to terminate the lease is governed by Statute 250.501. If the lease is indeterminate, the tenant can end it with 15 days notice. If the lease is longer than a year and open-ended, the tenant can terminate with 30 days notice. 15 days notice are required to end a month to month lease, and no time is specified for week to week arrangements. There is also no statute mentioning advance notice for a move-out inspection.

This same statute also stipulates that landlords must give tenants 10 days  notice to terminate the lease for non-payment of rent. However, as mentioned at the outset of this article, if tenants avail themselves of all of the legal options available this process could potentially take months. There is no statute addressing termination for a lease violation.

There are no statutes on advance notice for entry, but most landlords will provide at least 24 hours in non-emergency circumstances as a courtesy. Pennsylvania is one of the few states that does not have specific statutes preventing lockouts, utility shutoffs or self-help evictions. However, as these practices are widely illegal in the rest of the country and the tenant will likely be able to get an injunction from the Court of Common Pleas restoring their access to the premises if any of these things are done by the landlord.

Required Disclosures and Notes

According to federal law, landlords must disclose any use of lead paint in a dwelling.

Pennsylvania landlord-tenant law does not offer any special legal protections to victims of domestic violence.

Retaliation is forbidden by Statute 250.505. Landlords cannot terminate a lease, refuse to renew a lease or reduce services in response to a tenant making a valid complaint, filing a complaint with a government agency or getting involved with a tenants organization.

Small Claims Court

The state sets a limit of $12,000 in small claims court, but some localities have different limits. The biggest exception is Philadelphia, which does not set any limit for cases involving landlord and tenant disputes. Eviction cases are allowed in small claims court throughout the state.

Realtor Associations in Pennsylvania

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Oklahoma Landlord Tenant Laws

Oklahoma Landlord Tenant Laws

In Oklahoma, residential landlord tenant laws are contained in these documents, Okla. Stat. Ann. Tit. 41, § 101 to 136 – Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (Scroll Down to § 101), and Oklahoma Non-Residential/Residential Landlord and Tenant Acts (pdf). When renting in Oklahoma, it is wise to read and understand the statutes so your rental period will go smoothly and both landlord and tenant will understand their responsibilities under the law. Although we have provided a thorough revue of these statutes in the following article, it is always best to do your own research when solving your specific tenancy issue.

To Lease or Not to Lease

Although it is possible to rent in Oklahoma without a lease, it isn’t wise. Having a lease protects both the landlord and the tenant. A lease contains all the information the parties have agreed to before, during and after the rental period. A standard lease will contain information about security deposits, fees, rental amounts, rental period, including date of occupancy to date. There may be a termination date as well, depending on the parties and their agreement. A lease will either grant or disallow pets and may contain specifics regarding the tenant’s pets in the lease. The Oklahoma Realtors Association can provide useful information for both tenants and landlords when it comes to how to construct a lease that keeps both parties satisfied.

Security Deposits

Certain aspects of tenancy are governed and others are not. For example, several aspects of security deposits are not regulated such as:

  • Security deposit maximums
  • Pet deposits
  • Non-refundable fees
  • Record keeping of deposit
  • Receipt of deposit

Because these aspects aren’t covered under any statute, it is up to the landlord and tenant to hammer out these details and come to an agreement.

Oklahoma governs security deposits as follows:

  • Oklahoma statute § 115(B) states that interest on the deposit is not required.
  • Security deposits must be kept in escrow in a separate account held within the state in a federally insured banking institution. § 115(A)
  • Oklahoma statute § 115(B) requires security deposits to be returned 30 days from the date the tenant vacates the property and terminates the lease. If the tenant fails to request in writing the return of the deposit, it is returned to the landlord.
  • Deposits may be used for rent owed and damages caused by the tenant as a result of not following the terms of the lease of the tenant rental statutes. § 115(B)
  • Oklahoma requires a written description or list of damages and charges. This is to include an itemized statement of deposit with holdings which can be delivered in person to the tenant or via the US mail. § 115(B)
  • Landlords who fail to comply with these statutes governing security deposits are subject to fines up to twice the amount of the security deposit that was misappropriated from escrow and up to 6 months in jail. § 115(A)

Fees, Rent and Lease Regulations

The state of Oklahoma governs several aspects of rent, fees and leases, but there are several aspects that they have not created a statute for. In relation to leases, fees and rents, Oklahoma makes no statute for the following:

  • Rent grace period and increase notices
  • Prepaid rent
  • Early termination of lease and abandonment of property fees
  • Returned check fees are not governed under landlord tenant law but under the criminal statute for check fraud (Title 21, Chapter 61, § 1541.1).
  • Late fees–however, late fees are allowed according to case law precedent and with some restrictions. Sun Ridge Investors v. Parker

The state regulates the due date of rent via statute § 109(B), which requires the due date to be determined and stated in the lease. If the landlord fails to supply essential or basic services such as water or heat, the tenant may acquire these services and then withhold rent after notifying the landlord as one method of resolution as outlined in statute § 121. The tenant must notify the landlord of the breach in Statutory Landlord Duties and may only recover the amount equal to that used to acquire services.

Oklahoma allows tenants to make repairs up to $100 and then recoup their money provided they notify the landlord in writing of the issue and their intent to repair. The issue must adversely affect health and the landlord must be given a 14 day time period to complete the repairs, unless the repairs needed constitute and emergency situation. If no action has been taken by the landlord to have the problem repaired, the tenant may perform the repair, itemize the costs and submit with the reduced rent. § 121(B)

When landlord and tenant cannot resolve and issue, courts may become involved. In Oklahoma, court costs and attorney’s fees can be recouped by the winning party, however, attorney fees must be reasonable. Rental agreements cannot include a stipulation for obtaining these fees. § 105(B)

Finally, Oklahoma statutes § 105(A) and § 129(B) require landlords to do what is reasonable in reducing damages to tenant, such as re-renting the property as soon as possible among other actions.

You Shall Not Pass

Even thought the landlord owns the property and has certain legal entry rights, tenants also have rights and can deny entry if the landlord has not followed protocol. In Oklahoma, the landlord must give 24 hour notice of intent to enter under statute § 128(C). Tenants are not required to allow the property owner in if they simply appear or call and ask for entry without giving notice first. If the landlord simply appears and asks for entry, the tenant is under no obligation to allow the landlord to enter. § 128(A) and (C)

The same 24 hour notice applies to entering to make repairs, to show the property to prospective tenants. In the event of an emergency, no notice is required. § 128(B)

Notices

When a landlord determines his tenant is involved in criminal activity, including drug related activity or any behavior that violates the Statutory Tenant Duties, such damage to the property, the landlord is required to serve notice that if the tenant continues the violations or criminal behavior, they will be evicted and their tenancy will be terminated immediately. If the tenant does not remedy the behavior, the landlord can move for an immediate eviction. § 132(C) and (D)

Landlords may serve a 15 day notice to terminate tenancy for lease violations, however the tenant has ten days to correct the violation and remain in the home. § 132(B)

End of tenancy notice is not required on leases that are ending or have a predetermined end date according to statute § 111(C). Month to month leases require a thirty notice to vacate § 111(A) and weekly tenancy requires a written weekly notice. § 111(B)

When a tenant fails to pay rent, landlords are required to send a written demand for payment of rent before terminating tenancy. IF the tenant has not paid the rent by the time allotted, the landlord may then give notice of termination of rent for non-payment. Oklahoma provides for a five day grace period in order for tenants to pay their rent. Once a termination notice has been given, the landlord may also seek remedy for obtaining the unpaid rent. § 131

Landlords may not lockout tenants § 123 or shut off utilities to force tenants out. § 121(C) There are no statutes governing notice to tenants for spraying pesticides or for notice for the date and time of the move inspection.

A Final Note

Regarding disclosures, Oklahoma requires landlords to provide tenants with the name and address of the property owners, managers or any agent that may act on their behalf and must do so before the tenant begins residing in the property. § 116(A) There are no statutes governing providing a copy of the lease. Oklahoma statute § 118(A) covers landlord duties and responsibilities such as repairs, common areas, maintenance, garbage, water and heat.

Tenant’s duties are outlined in Oklahoma statute § 127 and include responsibilities such as keeping the unit clean, treating appliances appropriately, quiet enjoyment and lawful activity notes. Tenants can also find information and requirements of disclosure of prior methamphetamine manufacturing § 118(C), prior flooding within the past five years and information regarding denial of lease because of blindness and the use of service dogs. § 113.1

In Oklahoma, the maximum amount allowed in small claims court is $7,500 (Title 12, Chapter 36, § 1751) and small claims handles evictions. Small claims are filed in the county in which the issue has occurred. For example, Oklahoma County small claims begin by filing with the clerk of courts, as do all small claims in Oklahoma. For more information about filing or appearing in small claims court contact Legal Aid OK.org.

North Dakota Landlord Tenant Laws

In general, North Dakota has a balance of laws that protect the interest of both landlords and tenants. One unique wrinkle to the state is the existence of “man camps,”  or temporary housing for oil workers that exists during boom times and is not necessarily in compliance with state and local codes. The legality of these rental arrangements is largely up to local jurisdictions, who usually only grant them permits on a temporary basis. Those residing in these camps (or those looking to establish one) will need to check with the locality in question to find out what the current laws and regulations are.

It is important to note that while the information presented here comes directly from state statutes and is accurate as of publication, nothing here should be considered to be legal advice or a substitute for the advice of a qualified lawyer. Individual counties, cities, towns and villages can also establish their own ordinances that may take precedence over state law.

What Laws Cover Landlord-Tenant Relationships in North Dakota?

Rental laws are covered by N.D. Cent. Code 47-16-01 to 47-16-41. Eviction proceedings are covered under N.D. Cent. Code 47-32-01 to 47-32-04. Limitations of actions are described in N.D. Cent. Code 28-01-01 to 28-01-47. Tenants can get a quick summary of their rights and responsibilities from a free pamphlet published by the Attorney General’s office.

Security Deposit Rules

The handling of security deposits is regulated by N.D. Cent. Code 47-16-01.1. Landlords may charge up to the equivalent of one month’s rent as a security deposit. The deposit must be held in a separate bank account, and interest must be paid on it if the tenant stays in the dwelling for nine months or more. Landlords are required to return the deposit within 30 days of termination of the lease. They can withhold money from the deposit for unpaid rent, cleaning that the tenant was responsible for and did not accomplish, or any damage to the unit caused by the tenant or their pets or guests. An itemized statement of damages and charges must be sent to the tenant at their last known address. There are no statutes on deposit withholding records or providing written receipts for a security deposit.

Pet deposits are allowed under this same statute, but limitations are placed on them. The pet deposit cannot exceed $2500 or the equivalent of two months’ rent, whichever amount is greater. A deposit cannot be charged for the service or companion animals of disabled tenants, however. There is no statute on non-refundable fees.

Landlords who withhold a security deposit in bad faith are liable for three times the amount, including any interest that may be due.

Lease, Rent and Fee Rules

According to N.D. Cent. Code 47-16-20, if a specific date for rent payments is not included in the lease, then the rent will be due at the beginning of each weekly or monthly term. There are no statutes on a grace period for unpaid rent or on the handling of prepaid rent.

If a landlord wishes to increase the rent, they must provide written notice at least 30 days in advance according to N.D. Cent. Code 47-16-07. Late fees are not allowed unless the specific terms and amount were included in the lease and agreed to by the tenant. Landlords may only charge a flat fee of $40 for returned checks.

There are no statutes addressing a tenant’s ability to withhold rent for failure to provide essential utilities. However, N.D. Cent. Code 47-16-13 allows tenants to make needed repairs and deduct from the rent if the tenant gives the landlord notice of the needed repair and the landlord does not address it in a reasonable amount of time.

Landlords are permitted to recover court and attorney fees in the case of an eviction or lease abandonment, but they must also make an attempt to mitigate damages including a good faith attempt to rent the dwelling out to someone else. There are no statutes regarding fees for abandonment or early lease termination.

Notice and Entry Rules

Termination of the lease by the tenant is covered under N.D. Cent. Codes 47-16-14 and 47-16-15. Open-ended yearly leases and monthly agreements require one month’s notice. Tenants can agree in writing to a longer period if they should choose to, however. A week’s notice is required in the case of weekly rentals. There is no statute requiring advance notice for a move-out inspection by the landlord.

Early termination of a lease by the landlord is covered by N.D. Cent. Codes 47-32-01 and 47-32-02. Termination for non-payment or a lease violation requires three days notice. Lockouts and utility shutoffs are illegal, and landlords can be held liable for three times the tenant’s actual damages if they occur.

N.D. Cent. Code 47-16-07 states that landlords can only enter the premises during reasonable hours and in a reasonable manner. No specific time frame is set for advance notice, but landlords are required to give some amount of advance notice to the tenant that specifies the date and time they plan to enter, and the tenant must first give their consent. Tenants cannot legally withhold consent for reasonable requests, however, such as needed repairs and showing the unit. If the tenant does not respond to the request, consent is presumed.

There are no statutes regarding the use of pesticides on the premises or required notice before entering to do so.

Required Disclosures and Notes

There are no statutes requiring the landlord to provide the tenant with a copy of the lease, their name and address or any contact information for their appointed agents. They do, however, have to provide a statement detailing the condition of the premises and all items within, according to N.D. Cent. Code 47-16-07. The tenant has a right to inspect the premises and verify the accuracy of this list before signing off on it.

The duties of both landlords and tenants are spelled out in N.D. Cent. Code 47-16-13. Landlords are required to comply with building and housing codes, make repairs to keep the premises habitable, keep common areas clean and safe, provide receptacles for trash removal and ensure that hot water is available between the first of October and the first of May. Hot water must also be under exclusive control of the tenant and provided by a public utility. Tenants must also comply with building and housing codes, keep their area clean, dispose of garbage properly, not engage in illegal activity and respect the quiet enjoyment of other tenants on the property.

Domestic violence victims are protected under North Dakota law. The tenant must provide a copy of a court order or restraining order and state that they feel threatened by the person named in it. This grants the tenant protection from lease termination and the right to immediately terminate the lease without penalty. Landlords are also required to not disclose any information about the tenant they receive during this process.

North Dakota does not have a statute on landlord retaliation.

Small Claims Court

The small claims court limit in North Dakota is $15,000. Eviction cases are heard in district court rather than in small claims court. Oral and written contracts have a statute of limitation of six years under N.D. Cent. Code 28-01-16.

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North Carolina Landlord Tenant Laws

In general, North Carolina rental law attempts to balance protections for both landlords and tenants, and does not lean strongly in favor of one party or the other. However, there are some unique qualities to it that both parties should be aware of.

Tenants should be aware that North Carolina offers no statutes or legal protections on entry by the landlords and their agents. In other states, prior court case precedent sometimes fills in gaps where there are no statutes, but that is not really the case here. Landlords are not only free to legally enter pretty much whenever they want without notice, they can allow repairmen and other agents of theirs to do the same. It is important to keep the home secured as repairmen have sometimes been caught taking advantage of this policy to steal or invade people’s privacy.

On the landlord side, evictions must be handled by a lawsuit filed in small claims court. The landlord must present evidence that the tenant has failed to stay current on their rent. If the landlord wins the lawsuit, the tenant has 10 days to appeal the judgment in District Court. In general the eviction process usually takes a little over a month in total if everything goes in favor of the landlord.
Keep in mind that while the information listed here is drawn directly from current state statutes, it can change over time and should not be considered a substitute for qualified legal advice. Cities and counties may also have their own ordinances governing rental law that replace the state statutes.

What Laws Cover Landlord-Tenant Relationships in North Carolina?

Landlord and tenant law is covered under N.C. General Statute 42. North Carolina also has a State Fair Housing Act that renters and property owners need to be aware of. Finally, in the case legal action is required, N.C. General Statute 7A-19 covers small claims court procedures and limitations.

Security Deposit Rules

N.C. General Statute 42-51 covers the handling of security deposits. Deposits cannot exceed the equivalent of two months’ rent for a lease of a year or longer, 1.5 months’ rent if the lease is month to month, and two weeks rent if it is on a weekly basis. The landlord must deposit the funds into a trust account with a North Carolina bank or obtain a bond from a state insurance company, and must notify the tenant of the name and address of that institution within 30 days of receiving the deposit. Upon move-out the deposit must be returned within 30 days, unless the tenant has caused damage to the premises, in which case the landlord must send notice within 30 days and can take up to 60 days to evaluate the cost of repairs. There is no statute requiring landlords to pay interest on a security deposit.

Non-refundable pet deposits are allowed, but N.C. General Statute 42-53 specifies that the amount asked must be reasonable.

Lease, Rent and Fee Rules

There are no statutes in North Carolina governing rental due dates, advance notice of an increase in rent, application fees or prepaid rent.

N.C General Statute 42-46 gives tenants a grace period of five days in which to pay their rent. Late fees depend on whether rent is paid weekly or monthly. In both cases, the landlord can charge a fee of 5%, but for monthly arrangements the minimum fee is $15 and for weekly arrangements the minimum fee is $4. Landlords may charge a flat fee of $25 for a returned check.

There is no statute addressing a tenant’s right to repair and deduct rent, or to withhold rent for failure to provide utilities. There is also no statute requiring a landlord to attempt to mitigate damages in the event the tenant abandons the lease. N.C. General Statute 42-25 does specify that landlords cannot recover attorney and court fees, however.

Members of the military are allowed to terminate their lease early with notice of 30 days if they are ordered onto active duty or are deployed at least 90 miles away from their residence. Written notice and a copy of orders or a letter from the service member’s commanding officer are required. There are differences in law depending on whether the person has been in the dwelling for nine months or more, however. Service members should consult the N.C. Military Personnel Residential Lease Termination pamphlet published by the state to determine which conditions apply to their current situation.

Notice and Entry Rules

N.C. General Statute 42-14 covers rules of notice for a tenant to terminate a lease. Ongoing year-to-year leases require a month’s notice. Month-to-month leases require a week’s notice, and weekly rentals require two days of advance notice. If a tenant is renting a lot for a manufactured home, they must give 60 days advance notice to move out in all circumstances.

N.C. General Statutes 42-3 and 42-26 govern termination of a lease by the landlord for nonpayment or violation. Ten days notice must be given in the event of nonpayment, but as mentioned at the top of the article, the eviction must go through small claims court and the process generally takes at least a month. Landlords are allowed to terminate a lease immediately for a lease violation.

As mentioned at the outset, there are no state statutes at all that mention required notice prior to entry. Check with the local state and county to see if they have any regulations, however. Landlords are never allowed to lock a tenant out or perform a utility shutoff to pressure them out of the unit. Self-help evictions are illegal, and if a landlord knowingly engages in one they can be held liable for all actual damages to the tenant. After the landlord lawfully evicts a tenant and gains possession of their property, they must provide the tenant with written notice of any belongings left behind. Seven days after notice is served the belongings can be considered to be abandoned.

Required Disclosures and Notes

Under General Statute 42-42, landlords are required to comply with building and housing codes, keep the premises fit and habitable, keep common areas safe, provide operational smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms, and remedy complaints of unsafe conditions by the tenant. The tenant is required to keep the area they are renting clean and safe, dispose of waste properly, comply with housing and building codes and notify the landlord promptly in writing if there is an issue with the smoke or carbon monoxide detectors that requires their attention.

Domestic violence victims receive special protection under North Carolina law, specifically General Statutes 42.2 – 42.3. Landlords are entitled to verify domestic violence victim status. Once verified, the landlord cannot terminate their tenancy or refuse to extend it. The tenant also gains the right to terminate the tenancy with 30 days notice if they desire. Locks must be changed promptly at the tenant’s request, but also at their expense.

Retaliation is illegal under North Carolina law. It will be considered retaliation if a landlord terminates a lease, refuses to renew a lease or reduces services for 12 months after a tenant files a formal complaint with a government authority, works with a tenant’s organization or exercises a legal right related to their lease. Further details can be found in N.C. General Statute 42-37.1.

Small Claims Court

The small claims court limit in North Carolina is $10,000. Eviction cases are heard in small claims court and can be appealed to the district court.

Realtor Associations in North Carolina