2

Florida Landlord Tenant Laws

On the whole, Florida has a fair balance of protections in its law for both landlords and tenants. However, there are some unique factors in the state that tenants should be aware of. For example, in the case of month-to-month or week-to-week leases, certain types of properties can see dramatic spikes in rent in the winter months due to the influx of “snowbirds” who come down temporarily to escape the cold climates of the northern states.

Local city and county ordinances are very important to keep up with in Florida, especially in regard to required business licenses. While there is no state-level requirement for such a license for any rental property, a number of cities and counties require one. In addition, cities sometimes have unique wrinkles in their landlord-tenant code, such as the requirement in Miami that landlords pay for a real estate sign permit for each sign that they place outside advertising one of their properties. Each sign must have a sticker indicating a permit has been purchased for it, or the landlord can be fined.

What Laws Cover Landlord-Tenant Relationships in Florida?

Rental law in Florida is covered almost entirely by Florida Statutes Title VI Chapter 83. There are only a very small handful of other statutes that landlords and tenants may need to refer to, for example section 715, which covers required notice and instructions for handling abandoned property.

Security Deposit Rules

There is no statute establishing a maximum security deposit amount in Florida, or on anything pertaining to pet deposits. The rest of the terms that govern the handling of security deposits are listed under Chapter 83.49.

Florida landlords are not required to pay interest on security deposits, but they may do so as a promotional measure if they so desire. If they do choose to pay interest, however, there are some regulations. The deposit must be kept in a Florida bank, and the tenant must receive at least 75% of the interest. If the lease is terminated early due to some fault of the tenant, the landlord is under no obligation to pay the interest. Landlords are not allowed to commingle the deposits of different tenants, nor may they post a surety bond.

Landlords must return a security deposit within 15 days of lease termination, unless they are withholding a portion of it, in which case this deadline is extended to 30 days. If a landlord withholds money from the deposit, they must provide the tenant with an itemized list of damages and charges that follows a specific formula laid out in Chapter 83.49. If interest is being paid to the tenant, the landlord must provide the tenant with information about the interest rate while their deposit was held.

Lease, Rent and Fee Rules

There is no statute on notice prior to an increase in rent, application fees, late fees and prepaid rent.
According to Chapter 83.46 if a rental due date is not specified in the lease, it is regarded by the law as due on the first day of each rental period. It can also be uniformly apportioned by each day.

Chapter 68.065 covers returned check fees. Landlords can charge varying amounts depending on the face value of the check. The permitted amount is $25 for checks under $50, and an added $5 if the check exceeds $50 and $10 if the check exceeds $300. The landlord can opt to take 5% of the face value of the check instead if that amount is greater.

There is no statute allowing tenants to make repairs on their own and deduct the cost from the rent. Under Chapter 83.60, however, tenants are allowed to withhold rent for failure to provide essential utilities. Landlords may recover attorney and court fees in the event of a legal dispute, and Chapter 83.595 states that landlords do not have an obligation to minimize damages or find a new tenant if the lease is abandoned.

Notice and Entry Rules

Tenants may terminate a yearly lease with 60 days notice, a quarterly lease with 30 days notice, a monthly lease with 15 days notice and a weekly lease with a week’s notice under Chapter 83.57. There is no statute on advance notice for a move-out inspection by the landlord.

Landlords can terminate a lease for nonpayment with only three business days notice. If the notice falls across a weekend, the days of the weekend don’t count as part of the time limit. Leases are required to notify tenants of this time limit, however. If a landlord wants to evict for a lease violation, they have to give seven days notice, but the tenant may remedy the issue during that time to restore the lease to good standing. Landlords generally only have to give 12 hours notice to enter a dwelling, but this can be changed in the lease by mutual consent.

Lockouts and utility shutoffs are not allowed under Florida law. Self-help evictions make the landlord liable to the tenant either for actual damages or the equivalent of three months rent, whichever amount is greater, under Chapter 83.67. Greater damages can be awarded for repeated violations. Landlords are also subject to special requirements when handling abandoned property, and they must notify tenants at their last known address with pre-paid postage.

Required Disclosures and Notes

At the outset of each tenancy, landlords are required to provide either their name and address, or the name and address of a person authorized to receive communications from tenants. At move-in, landlords are also required to provide a specific warning about the potential dangers of radon gas, which can be found in Chapter 404.506. If the building is three stories tall or higher, landlords are also required to give tenants details on the availability of fire protection.

Landlords are required to include a specific clause (found in Chapter 83.67) to indemnify themselves from responsibility for the personal property left on the premises after the death of a tenant. If this clause is not in the lease, the landlord becomes responsible for the removal of the property. Landlords may not include any clause in the lease that would cause the tenant to waive any of their legal rights.

Retaliation is illegal under Florida law. Retaliation is presumed if the landlord takes adverse action in response to a tenant complaining to a government authority, becoming active with a tenants organization, making a valid complaint to the landlord or exercises their right to terminate a lease due to their active duty military service. Adverse actions include increasing the rent, threatening legal action or decreasing services.

Small Claims Court

The limit for small claims in Florida is $5,000, but this excludes attorney and court fees as well as interest. Eviction cases are heard in small claims court in the state. The statute of limitations for written contracts is five years and oral contracts is four years.

Florida Realtor Associations

6

Georgia Landlord Tenant Laws

Georgia has extensive laws that cover landlord-tenant relationships, so it is very important for both parties to be familiar with the state statutes on rental housing. Georgia is one of the few states that allows landlords to immediately terminate a lease for nonpayment or violation, and a state statute specifically forbids any city or county from implementing rent control. While Georgia law does tend to heavily favor landlords, tenants do have some significant protections under state statutes that all involved parties should be aware of.

What Laws Cover Landlord-Tenant Relationships in Georgia?

Georgia rental law is covered almost entirely by Georgia Code Ann. 44-7. For disputes that escalate to a court hearing, the Georgia court system publishes a benchbook for landlords and tenants that helps to collect and summarize the various laws both parties need to be aware of.

Security Deposit Rules

There is no statute regarding the maximum that can be charged for a security deposit. However, OCGA 44-7-34 specifies that landlords must return any security deposits within 30 days of the end of the lease.

This statute also allows landlords to deduct from the security deposit for a number of different reasons. Landlords may deduct from the deposit to cover missed rent payments, fees for late rent payments and pets, damages caused by the tenant, repair work that the tenant ordered and then billed to the premises, and nonpayment of the utilities. If the tenant abandons the lease, however, the landlord does have a legal obligation to mitigate the damages.

According to OCGA 44-7-31 to 44-7-36, landlords are not required to place security deposits in an interest-bearing bank account or pay any kind of interest to tenants. However, if the landlord and their family collectively own and directly manage more than 10 rental units, or own less than ten units that are managed by a third party in return for a fee, there are some special rules about the handling of the deposit. In these circumstances, the deposits of all tenants must be placed in an escrow account and the tenants must be informed of the location of this account.

Pet deposits, application fees and other fees, including non-refundable fees, are allowed under OCGA 44-7-30 with no specific maximums. However, no portion of the security deposit can be designated as non-refundable for any reason. Landlords who wish to retain a portion of the deposit for cleaning up after pets will instead need to charge a separate non-refundable pet deposit.

Landlords who collectively own and directly manage more than ten rental units with their family need to provide new tenants with a complete list of known damages to the premises prior to receiving their security deposit. The tenant also has a right to inspect the premises after receiving this list to confirm that it is accurate. Landlords who own less than ten rental units are exempt from this requirement UNLESS their rental units are managed by a third party for a fee.

Landlords are also required to provide an itemized list of damages and charges within three days after the tenant quits the premises. After the former tenant receives the list, they have five days in which to inspect the premises to verify that the list is accurate. As with the requirement for the initial list of damages, however, this only applies to landlords who own and manage ten or more units within their family, or those with ten or less units who have them  managed by a third party in return for payment. These requirements can be seen in OCGA 44-7-36. There is no statute regarding keeping records of deposit withholdings outside of this requirement.

If landlords violate any terms of handling the security deposit, they are subject to forfeiture of the deposit. If it is determined that the landlord intentionally violated these regulations, the tenant may sue for up to three times the deposit amount and may recover attorney fees and court costs, under OCGA 44-7-35.

Lease, Rent and Fee Rules

Georgia has no statutes on default rental due dates, advance notice of increases in rent, grae periods, prepaid rent or late fees. There are also no state statutes permitting tenants to perform needed repairs on their own and deduct rent,  or to withhold rent for failure to provide needed utilities.

The state has enacted a law (OCGA 44-7-19) that prevents localities from regulating the amount of rent that can be charged for a rental property. This means that no place in the state has any form of rent control, although federally funded subsidy programs such as Section 8 are still available.

Landlords are allowed to collect returned check fees in Georgia. They may ask either $30 or 5% of the check amount, whichever is greater. They may also recoup any fees charged to them by the bank.

Georgia landlords are also allowed to recover court and attorney fees in the event of a dispute. If the tenant abandons the lease, there is language in OCGA 44-7-34 that requires the landlord to make a reasonable attempt to mitigate damages, but that does not include having to search for a new tenant while the lease is still active. Landlords are also allowed to handle and remove the personal property of a tenant if they first obtain a formal writ of possession from the court.

There are some special rules regarding the termination of the lease of an active duty member of the military that landlords must be aware of. If the service member is ordered to leave the area on duty for a period of 90 days or more, there is a special process that the landlord must follow to end the lease, outlined in OCGA 44-7-22. Service members need to provide written notice of the assignment to the landlord, after which time they may terminate the lease immediately and only be held liable for the following 30-day period and any damages to the unit that they may have caused.

Notice and Entry Rules

Termination of tenancy generally requires 60 days notice from the landlord or 30 days notice from the tenant, with the exception of week-to-week rentals, where there is no statute.

There are no statutes for most conditions of entry by the landlord, with the exception of entry for showings and non-emergency maintenance, for which 24 hours notice is required. Landlords are expressly allowed to enter in emergencies without notice under OCGA 44-7-14.

There are no statutes on lease terminations for a violation of terms. Landlords are allowed to immediately terminate a lease for non-payment, but must give the tenant a period of seven days to pay the owed rent and fees to restore the lease to good standing.
Lockouts and utility shutoffs are not allowed in Georgia. Landlords can be fined up to $500 for doing either of these things.

Required Disclosures and Notes

Landlords are required to disclose the name and address of the property owner and any authorized property managers to the tenant at the beginning of each lease. In accordance with federal law, they must also disclose the use of lead-based paint and provide tenants with an informational pamphlet on its potential dangers.

OCGA 44-7-15 requires the tenant to continue honoring the lease if the property is destroyed by fire.

If the property has flooded three times or more within the past five years, the landlord is required to disclose this to the applicant before the lease is signed under OCGA 44-7-20.

Georgia law presently has no statutes on protection for domestic violence victims or on retaliation by landlords.

Small Claims Court

OCGA 15-10-2 sets the upper small claims court limit at $15,000. Eviction cases are heard in small claims court.

Georgia Realtor Associations

Georgia Association of Realtors
Atlanta Board of Realtors
Columbus Board of Realtors
Greater Augusta Association of Realtors
Middle Georgia Association of Realtors
Savannah Board of Realtors

7

Illinois Landlord Tenant Laws

Illinois has passed many different acts at the state level that affect the dealings between landlords and tenants. Given this, and the fact that the state has not adopted the provisions of the Uniform Residential Landlord-Tenant Act, it is important for both landlords and tenants to take the time to carefully understand Illinois rental law as it differs from the laws seen in many other states in a number of key ways.

Keep in mind that cities and counties also have their own local ordinances that may add on to or take precedent over state law. Chicago in particular has a number of added ordinances such as the Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance, which virtually replaces the state laws. The city of DeKalb also has adopted the DeKalb Tenants Bill of Rights, which adds certain stipulations such as added terms of habitability and advance notice before a landlord can enter the premises. In other locations you may wish to consult a law library, public library or the local city or county manager to see what added rental ordinances there are in the area. Generally speaking, if the area of Illinois rental law that you are looking at does not have statutes at the state level, you can expect that the local city or county has stepped in with some sort of provisions of their own.

Please also keep in mind that this what follows is a general overview and is not intended to be legal advice. Always consult a licensed attorney with any legal questions, and check referenced statutes to verify that they are still current.

What Laws Cover Landlord-Tenant Relationships in Illinois?

The best place to start with Illinois rental law is the Landlord and Tenant Act 765 ILCS 705. Landlords and tenants should also be familiar with the Security Deposit Return Act (765 ILCS 710) and the Security Deposit Interest Act (765 ILCS 715) if a deposit is going to be part of the rental agreement. The Rental Property Utility Service Act (765 ILCS 735) and the Tenant Utility Payment Disclosure Act (765 ILCS 740) are also likely going to be relevant to most lease agreements.

There are a number of other acts that are more situational, such as the Retaliatory Eviction Act, the Property Taxes of Alien Landlords Act, the Mobile Home Landlord and Tenants Rights Act and the Residential Tenants Right to Repair Act.

Security Deposit Rules

Illinois has no statutes regarding a security deposit maximum or the type of account in which the deposit needs to be kept. However, interest on the deposit must be paid to the tenant if the landlord owns 25 or more rental units in the state and the deposit is held for more than six months, under 765 ILCS 715. The amount of interest paid must match the rate currently paid by a savings account at the largest commercial bank of the state. This interest must also be paid out at least once every 12 months.

Under 765 ILCS 710, landlords have 45 days to return a security deposit to a tenant after the lease has been terminated. They may withhold monies from the deposit for unpaid rent and damages, but must provide the tenant with an itemized list of each expense. There are no statutes in the state on pet deposits and keeping records of deposit withholdings.

Lease, Rent and Fee Rules

Illinois has no statutes for late fees, returned check fees or advance notice of an increase in rent. These items are usually agreed to in advance by all parties within each individual lease.

Under 765 ILCS 735, tenants are allowed to withhold rent for failure to provide essential services, and for needed repairs that they make themselves. However, the repair amount is limited to no more than one half the monthly rent or $500, whichever number is lower. In turn, landlords are allowed to recover court and attorney fees, and must also make a reasonable attempt to mitigate damages if the lease is abandoned.

If the landlord has been paying utilities as part of the rent, this arrangement cannot be changed without 30 days advance notice before the current lease ends. It can then be changed when a new lease is drafted.

Notice and Entry Rules

Advance notice is required for a tenant to terminate a lease in Illinois, and these terms are spelled out under 735 ILCS 5/9-205-207. 60 days notice is required for a yearly lease, 30 days for a month-to-month lease and seven days for a weekly lease.

If a landlord wants to evict a tenant for nonpayment, they have to give them five days notice to pay or quit. An eviction for a lease violation requires 10 days of advance notice. The specifics can be found in 735 ILCS 5/9-209-210.

The state has no statutes regarding advance notice for entry by a landlord. Landlords are not allowed to lock tenants out or shut off their utilities to make them move out under any circumstances, however.

Required Disclosures and Notes

Illinois law has some stipulations that are not seen in the rental laws of many other states. For example, according to 765 ILCS 740, the landlord is required to get involved and provide a formal arrangement for dividing the cost of utilities when multiple tenants are sharing a dwelling (such as roommates sharing a house or an apartment with multiple bedrooms). And if a property with growing crops is abandoned by the tenant, the landlord is allowed to harvest the crops to offset the costs of remaining unpaid rent on the lease (as stipulated by 735 ILCS 5/9-318).

Landlords in Illinois are also required to change out the locks and keys each time there is a change in tenants, and to disclose any existence of radon gas if the unit is on the second floor or lower (though there is no requirement that they test for radon). Landlords also cannot retaliate against a tenant by terminating their lease if they make a complaint to a government agency, as stipulated by 765 ILCS 720.

Illinois offers some of the strongest tenancy protections for domestic violence victims among all the states. Most of these rights are covered under 765 ILCS 750. Tenants are allowed to terminate their lease early under certain circumstances involving domestic violence, sexual assault or sexual abuse. Landlords are allowed to ask for proof of domestic violence victim status, but they are not allowed to disclose this information to anyone once it is provided. Once the existence of domestic violence has been established, landlords are required to change the locks out anytime the tenant requests it.

Rent concessions must be described in the lease and must be accompanied by an itemized list of the  nature of each concession and the specific amount. The words “Concession Granted” must also be printed on the lease in letters no less than a half of an inch in size. Failure to do this is considered a misdemeanor on the part of the landlord.

Small Claims Courts

The small claims court limit in Illinois is $10,000. Unlike many other states, eviction cases are allowed in small claims court.

Illinois Realtor Associations

3

Indiana Landlord Tenant Laws

Indiana Landlord Tenant Laws

The Indiana landlord tenant laws exist to govern the relationship between a landlord and a tenant in a residential setting. These laws usually regulate several issues concerning rental property, including the obligations of a tenant and also those of a landlord, the issuing of notices, and matters concerning security deposits, among others.  It is important for both the tenant and the landlord to be aware of these laws so that they can deal with any dispute or issues that might arise, regarding rental property. This article summarizes some of the important Indiana laws that govern the relationship between a landlord and his/her tenant.

Indiana law on security deposit

Indiana landlord tenant laws do not limit the amount of security deposit a landlord may charge a tenant. However, most landlords will charge at least a one month’s rent as deposit (this is usually agreed upon in the rental agreement). The security deposit is intended to replace any damages a tenant may impose on the rental premises or cushion the landlord from incurring a loss in the event a tenant “bails out” without paying their rent.

The law in Indiana specifies the period that a landlord is required to return the security deposit of a tenant who has moved out; this period is set at 45 days. The law (IC 32-31-3-12) allows landlord to make deductions from the security deposit under the following conditions:

•    For accrued unpaid rent;

•    For compensation of actual damages on the property that has been caused by the tenant, and not the usual wear and tear of property;

•    To cover unpaid utility bills or other charges the tenant was obligated to pay for as agreed upon in the rental agreement

•    To cover any cost in damages, the landlord has incurred or will incur as a result of the tenant’s noncompliance with the rental agreement or the law.

The Required Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes

Under Indiana’s landlord and tenant laws(IC 32-31-3-18), a landlord is required to disclose in writing an agent or manager residing in the state who is responsible for managing the residential property.  The Indiana law also requires the landlord to disclose the name of an individual or agent who has been given authority to act on behalf of the property’s owner for service purposes, and also for receiving demands and notices from the tenant.  Other required disclosures:

•    Smoke detectors: the landlord must ensure that the tenant signs a written confirmation that the residential unit is equipped with fully functioning smoke detectors, before the commencement of tenancy (IC 32-31-5-7)

•    Lead Disclosure: the landlord is required to let the tenant know of all lead paint hazards.

•    Flooding Disclosure: if a lease has been renewed after June 30, 2009, and if the residential unit is within a 100-year flood plain, then the landlord is required to disclose this information to his/her tenant (IC 32-31-1-21).

The state’s laws also define the responsibilities of landlord and tenants. Those of a landlord under IC 32-31-8-5 include:

•    Deliver safe, habitable and clean premises to a tenant. The rental property should also meet the standards stipulated in the lease agreement.

•    Keep the joint areas of the residential property in proper and clean condition.

•    Comply with all the housing and health codes stipulated under law concerning rental premises.

The obligations of a tenant under IC 32-31-7-5 include:

•    Keep the rental unit in proper and clean condition.

•    Comply with the stipulated housing and health codes.

•    Comply with the landlord-tenant agreement or the lease agreement.

•    The tenant is required to refrain from damaging, impairing, defacing, destroying or removing any part of the residential rental unit.

Lease, Rent and Fee Rules

The Indiana landlord tenant laws do not specify when the tenant should pay rent to the landlord. Also, these rules do not give guidance on the grace period a resident should be allowed to come up with accrued rent. These rules also, neglect to state the late fee penalties a landlord should issue a tenant for late rent payment. However, these laws dictate the notice period (30 days) an owner should issue a resident before increasing rent (IC 32-31-5-4).

The rules are clear on the abandonment of a tenant’s personal property in a landlord’s premises; they allow the landlord to remove this property and relocate it to an approved facility, but only after a judge has issued a court order allowing this action to be taken(IC 32-31-4-2).

Notice and Entry Rules

The laws in Indiana protect a tenant’s right to privacy and the right to live free from worry of an unsanctioned eviction. For instance, if the tenant and landlord agreement stipulates a year-to-year lease then the landlord must issue a three months notice to terminate tenancy (IC 32-31-1-3). On the other hand, if the lease is Month-to-Month, then a one month’s notice is required to end a resident’s tenure (IC 32-31-1-1).

According to the Indiana landlord tenant laws, a tenant can be issued with a ten-day notice which specifies the reason for the termination of the lease agreement (IC 32-31-1-6). However, the tenant is allowed to pay rent before this period ends.

A landlord is also authorized to quit a rental agreement without notice in the following conditions:

•    When a tenant commits waste knowingly

•    When a tenant continues to occupy a rental unit after a lease has expired

•    When the tenant does not pay rent his/her rent in advance, yet this condition is stipulated in the rental agreement

•    When the landlord-tenant relationship is non-existent

Under Indiana laws (IC 32-31-5-6(g)) the landlord is only allowed entry into his/her tenant’s rental unit when such an act is “reasonable” and even then, the landlord must issue an oral or written notice to his/her resident. The notice period for entry is not specified in these rules, but a 24-hour notice is recommended.  Entry is also allowed for maintenance purposes and also for showing (IC 32-31-5-6(e)). A landlord is also allowed entry when there is an emergency.

Small Claims Court

Indiana landlord tenant laws allow residents to sue an owner who fails to refund their deposits. The small claims court is responsible for arbitrating security deposit disputes, and only disputes with a maximum of $6,000 claims can be heard by this court (IC 33-28-3-4(b)(1)).  This court also arbitrates eviction cases but only when the disputed amount of unpaid rent is $6,000 and below (IC 33-28-3-4(b)(2)).

It is important to note that Indiana landlord tenant laws are constantly changing and being updated. You should also note that there are local ordinances that are passed by counties and cities, which also influence these laws. For instance, most nuisance, noise, and anti-discrimination regulations are set at the local level, as opposed to the state level.

The relationship between landlords and tenants is not always smooth, as there are times when there might be conflicting interests. However, when you arm yourself with the knowledge of Indiana landlord tenant laws, then you may be capable of handling any rental unit situation that may arise.  Above, are some of the most important rules concerning residential rental property in Indiana, however, if you find yourself faced with a challenging legal situation, it is best to consult a lawyer.

5

Louisiana Landlord Tenant Laws

Louisiana has individual sets of both statutes and civil codes that landlords and tenants in the state need to be aware of. There is no requirement at the state level that a landlord have a business license, but it is important to check the statutes of individual cities and counties as they may have their own rules that supersede state law.

Louisiana has long been seen as one of the states that most heavily favors landlords in terms of state law. However, a bill is pending in the state legislature that could greatly change the terms of rental agreements in the near future. Bill SCR131 has passed the House and has been signed by the Speaker of the House. It authorizes the Louisiana State Law Institute to look over current state rental law and make recommendations for making it more equitable to tenants in line with the laws of many other states. Some proposals that have been mentioned in the legislature include increasing eviction notices to 30 days and giving tenants greater flexibility in making needed repairs and deducting the cost from the rent. The information below still represents the current state of the law as of this writing, but be aware that major changes could come in the near future.

What Laws Cover Landlord-Tenant Relationships in Louisiana?

There are two main sections of Louisiana law that landlords and renters should be familiar with. The first is sections 3251-3261 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes. The second is sections 2668 to 2679 of the Louisiana Civil Code. Eviction proceedings are covered separately under Civil Code 4701-4735. Additionally, the Attorney General’s office publishes a simplified summary guide to basic landlord and tenant laws.

Security Deposit Rules

Louisiana has no statutes governing many aspects of how security deposits are handled at the state level. This includes for maximum amounts charged, paying interest to tenants, where the deposit is to be held, and providing a receipt for the deposit and a record of withholdings. There are also no statutes on the amount of pet deposits.

Louisiana landlords are required to return a security deposit within one month of the termination of the lease, however, under Part IV – 3251. Landlords are also limited in their use of the deposit to covering unpaid rent and repairing unreasonable wear and tear to the dwelling. If money is withheld for damages, an itemized list that includes individual charges must be provided to the tenant within a month. If the landlord violates any of the terms of the return of the security deposit, the tenant may sue them to recover either the actual damages or the sum of $200, whichever amount is greater.

Lease, Rent and Fee Rules

Civil Code 2703 stipulates that rent is due at the start of each interval in the rental arrangement, which is usually each month or each week. The date can be changed by mutual consent between landlord and tenant in the lease, however.

There are no state statutes on notification of an increase in rent, a grace period for rent payments, prepaid rent or fees for early termination of the lease. Landlords cannot charge a late fee for rent payments unless it has been specified in the lease.

There is no statute addressing tenant ability to withhold or deduct rent for failure by the landlord to provide essential utilities. Tenants do have some ability to make needed repairs and deduct the cost from the rent, however, if they notify the landlord and the landlord does not remedy the situation in a reasonable amount of time. The specific terms are laid out in CC 2694. Landlords may recover court and attorney fees if they win a lawsuit against the tenant, if the court chooses to award them. However, they must also make a reasonable attempt to mitigate damages in the case of a tenant eviction. There is no specific requirement for a landlord to make an attempt to re-rent the unit if the tenant abandons the lease, however.

Notice and Entry Rules

Written notice for a tenant to terminate a lease early is covered under CC 2720-CC 2728. Open-ended yearly leases require 30 days notice, month-to-month agreements require 10 days notice and weely rentals require five days notice. While a yearly lease with a fixed end date cannot be terminated early, if the tenant chooses to remain in the unit and the landlord does not move to evict, then the lease automatically converts to a month-to-month agreement.

Termination of a lease by the landlord for nonpayment or a violation is covered under CC 4701. Both of these conditions simply require five days written notice, and there is no required grace period for the tenant to remedy the problem. There are no statutes on the termination of week-to-week leases, or situations where a lease can be terminated with 24 hours notice.

There are no state statutes on many aspects of notice prior to landlord entry, including for non-emergency repairs and for showings. Lockouts and utility shutoffs are forbidden, and the landlord can be sued for wrongful eviction if they do these things or if they move the property of the tenant out to the street or any other location.

Required Disclosures and Notes

State law does not require landlords to provide a copy of the lease or a contact name and address, though it is standard practice to do so voluntarily. CC 2682 spells out the duties and responsibilities the landlord is subject to. Landlords must deliver possession of the premises to the tenant by the agreed-upon date, maintain the premises in a habitable condition, protect the tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment of the premises, and make repairs necessary to keep the dwelling in a habitable state. They must also disclose any use of lead paint and must provide the tenant with an informational pamphlet on its potential health dangers.

The duties of the tenant are spelled out in CC 2683. Tenants are required to return the premises to the landlord in the condition that they received them, with some provision for normal wear and tear. Tenants are not allowed to make alterations to the premises, and must notify the landlord as soon as possible if there is damage or if there is some intrusion by a third party.

Unlike most states, Louisiana has no statutes regarding landlord retaliation, but some cities and counties may have their own ordinances. The state does not allow domestic violence victims to quit their lease or have their locks changed, but the perpetrators of domestic violence can have their tenancy terminated for it along with any public assistance they may be receiving under Revised Statutes 40:506.

Small Claims Court

Louisiana is a bit unusual in that there is no state statute on limits in small claims court. The state leaves it up to each city and county to determine limits for itself, so you will have to check with your locality to learn the amount.

Evictions are not allowed in small claims court. The statute of limitations on both oral and written contracts is 10 years.

Baton Rouge City Court
Lafayette County Justice Court
Orleans Parish Civil District Court
Shreveport Small Claims Court

Louisiana Realtor Associations

Louisiana Realtors
New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Realtors
The Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors
Central Louisiana Realtors Association
Northeast Louisiana Association of Realtors
Northwest Louisiana Association of Realtors
Southwest Louisiana Association of Realtors

8

Kentucky Landlord Tenant Laws

Kentucky Landlord Tenant Laws

A landlord and tenant relationship is formed when two parties come to an agreement where one party (the tenant) agrees to occupy another party’s (the landlord) property with permission and with the condition of remitting yearly monthly or weekly rent payments.  In some instances, the agreement between a landlord and his/her tenant may be adhered to without any issues, but this is not always the case, hence the need for landlord-tenant laws.

Every state has its set of laws that govern residential units and the relationship between landlords and their tenants. This article will cover some of the vital Kentucky Landlord Tenant Laws:

Kentucky laws on Security Deposit

The amount of money a tenant should pay as the security deposit is not stipulated by the Kentucky landlord tenant laws. However, Landlords usually ask for at least a one month’s deposit before the commencement of tenancy; this is intended to cover any damages a tenant might cause at the premises and to prevent the landlord from incurring any rental loss if the tenant moves out with a debt. The amount a tenant should pay for security deposit is usually stated in the lease or tenant-landlord agreement.

In the event a tenant moves out, the landlord is required by law to refund the security deposit within 30 to 60 days. However, this will depend on whether or not a tenant has filed a dispute regarding the deductions made on the deposit by the landlord (§ 383.580(6) and (KRS § 383.580(7)).

The law in this state also requires landlords to disclose (give notice) in writing or orally the deductions they intend to make on their tenants’ security deposits and for what purposes, such as repairing damage to the walls caused by the tenant.

Landlord Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes

Kentucky law dictates the disclosures a landlord must make known to a tenant prior to the commencement of tenancy, these include:

•    Landlords are required by this state’s to disclose to their tenants where their deposits are being held, such as the bank and the account number; and this must be a separate account from the one rent is deposited in(KRS § 383.580(1)). If the security deposit was not deposited in a separate account, the landlord might not keep any part of the deposit for whatever reason.

•    Before the commencement of the tenancy, a landlord is required to present the tenant with a comprehensive list of any pre-existing damage to the residential unit (KRS § 383.580(2)). A move-out checklist should also be presented to the tenant, and it should disclose a list of damages, which will be deducted from the security deposit (KRS § 383.580(3)).

•    Under KRS. § 383.585, a landlord is required to disclose (in writing) to the tenant the identity of the agent or individual that is tasked with the responsibility of managing the premises. The landlord must also make known the identity of the person who will represent the owner of the premises; for instance, the person who will issue and receive notices to and from the tenant on behalf of the premises’ owner.

The law also describes the responsibilities of both a tenant and a landlord. Those of a landlord under (KRS § 383.595) include:

•    Repairs: the landlord should make the necessary repairs keep the premise in a habitable and fit condition always.

•    Compliance: the landlord is required to adhere to the stipulated housing and building codes such as those affecting health and safety.

•    Maintenance: the owner is required to maintain and keep the following in proper working condition, plumbing, heating, electrical, ventilating, sanitary and other appliances and facilities.

•    Common Areas:  all common spaces within the premises should be kept in safe and clean conditions.

The Duties of a Tenant under KRS § 383.605 include:

  • Compliance:  tenant shall comply with all the stipulated provisions of the building and housing codes.

•    Cleanliness: the tenant is required to observe cleanliness in the area he/she occupies; this area should also be kept safe.

•    Plumbing and appliances: the tenant shall keep all plumbing units in a clean and safe condition. All appliances must also be utilized in a reasonable and safe manner.

•    Lawful Activity: the tenant shall not knowingly damage, destroy, deface or impair any part of the premises; neither shall the tenant allow someone else to do so.

•    Quiet Enjoyment: The tenant’s behavior shall take into consideration the needs of other people residing in the premises such as neighbors. The Tenant shall not disturb his/her neighbor’s peaceful enjoyment of the premises.

Kentucky Small Claims Court

The law in this state allows tenants to sue their landlord when he/she has failed to return their security deposit, up to $2,500(KRS § 24A.230). The small claims court which handles deposit disputes in Kentucky, also handles eviction disputes.

The right of a Kentucky tenant to withhold rent

In Kentucky, a tenant is allowed to withhold rent from the landlord for purposes of making necessary repairs, this is referred to as “repair and deduct’. In “repair and deduct”, the tenant hires a professional to make the repairs such as replace a leaking roof, and then the tenant deducts these costs from the rent.  The other option a tenant has is to withhold rent until the landlord agrees to make the repairs himself.

Kentucky Notices and Entry

Kentucky law recognizes a tenant’s right to privacy in their home, and hence, restricts the entry of a landlord. Here are some of the entry rules and notices an owner should make before entry or termination of a lease agreement:

•    Notice to Terminate Tenancy:  a tenancy is automatically terminated (without notice) once a lease agreement expires.  A landlord is required to give a 30-day notice (KRS § 383.695(2)) for the termination of a Month-to-Month Lease and a seven days’ notice of the termination of a Week-to-Week Lease (KRS § 383.695(1)).

•    Termination for Nonpayment: a tenant has seven days from the date a termination notice was issued to quit or remedy a non-payment of rent issue, as stated under KRS § 383.660(2).

  • Lease Violation: once a notice has been issued for lease violation a tenant has 15 days under law to remedy and quit.  However, tenants repeating the same offense within six months can be issued with an unconditional quit notice, as specified under KRS § 383.660(1).
  • Entry Notice: A landlord is required to issue the tenant with a two days’ notice for entry into the rental unit, and he/she may only enter the premises at reasonable times (KRS § 383.615). Entry with notice for maintenance and repairs purposes is allowed under KRS § 383.615. A landlord is also allowed entry for showing purposes but with notice under the same laws. In the case of a reasonable emergency, a landlord is allowed entry into his/her tenant’s rental unit.
  • Notice of Extended Absence: A tenant is required to give notice of an extended absence that goes beyond seven days, but only if this is specified in the rental agreement.  During such an absence the landlord is allowed entry into the tenant’s rental unit (KRS § 383.670).

Kentucky landlord tenant laws stipulate the rights of landlords and their tenants. These laws also seek to offer guidance in the event a dispute may arise, and they also ensure that there is no violation of these substantial rights of landlords and tenants, hence the need to familiarize yourself with some of these laws.

1

Alaska Landlord Tenant Laws

Alaska is one of the states that has wholly adopted the provisions of the Uniform Residential Landlord-Tenant Act as the cornerstone of its rental law. A major update to this act was approved in July 2015, and Alaska state law is in the process of updating to reflect these changes. Be sure to check the cited statutes to ensure that the law is still current.

What Laws Cover Landlord-Tenant Relationships in Alaska?

Title 34, Chapter 34.03 covers residential rental relationships in Alaska. The state refers to this chapter as the “Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act,” reflecting the source of most of its provisions. The one significant difference from the national suggested URLTA laws in Alaska is that the laws regarding enforcement of housing and building codes are not quite as stringent. The Alaska Court System publishes a pamphlet entitled “The Alaska Landlord and Tenant Act” to quickly familiarize both landlords and renters with the basic provisions of Chapter 34.03.

The one other state statute that Alaska landlords and tenants will want to be familiar with is Stat. 09.10.010, which covers limitations on civil actions.

Security Deposit Rules

Under Chapter 34.03.70, Alaska limits security deposits to a maximum of the equivalent of two months rent, with the exception of units that rent for $2,000 and over, for which no limit is specified. Security deposits are required to promptly be placed in a bank account or with an escrow agent, but there are no specific terms about what type of account. If it is placed in an interest-bearing account, however, the tenant is entitled to the interest it generates. There is no statute on pet deposits and non-refundable fees.

Security deposits must be returned by mail within 14 days, unless the tenant did not give proper notice when they quit the lease, in which case they must be returned within 30 days if applicable. Deposits can be withheld for rent owed and damages caused by the tenant’s noncompliance with the obligations laid out in Chapter 34.03.070. An itemized list of expenses must be mailed to the tenant’s last known address, however.

If landlords fail to comply in their obligation to return the security deposit (and any interest it may have accrued), the tenant has the right to recover up to twice the amount that was wrongfully withheld under Chapter 34.03.70.

Lease, Rent and Fee Rules

The exact due dates of the rent and any late fees that the landlord wishes to charge must be spelled out in the lease, according to Chapter 34.03.020. Alaska law does not permit a default late fee or returned check fee, so if the landlord does not establish one in the lease they will not be able to charge one. There is also no statute on a rent payment grace period, however, so it is up to the landlord if they want to provide one.

Since the landlord may not ask for an amount that totals more than two months of rent at move-in, it is difficult for landlords to ask for the “first, last and security deposit” that is standard in many other states. Landlords may either choose between asking for the last month’s rent in advance or a security deposit, or they may offer a promotion where the first month of rent is given for free with the signing of a year’s lease and the security deposit and/or last month’s rent is paid in lieu of the first month’s rent when moving in. This limitation does not apply if the rental cost of the unit is over $2,000 per month, however.

Tenants are allowed to withhold rent if essential services are not provided. This is covered by Chapter 34.03.108, which stipulates that the tenant must give the landlord written notice of the service issue before procuring the needed services on their own and deducting the cost from the rent. Tenants can only legally do this if the landlord is at fault, however. Tenants may also deduct rent for needed repairs under the same process. Landlords have a duty to mitigate damages and to make an attempt to rent the unit at fair market value if the tenant abandons it.

Landlords are allowed to recover court and attorney fees if legal proceedings are initiated to collect owed rent or damages, under Chapter 34.03.350.

Notice and Entry Rules

Chapter 34.03.290 covers advance notice needed to terminate a lease. 30 days is required for month-to-month leases, and 14 days is required for week-to-week leases. The landlord can terminate the lease with 24 hours notice if it can be demonstrated that the tenant has caused at least $400 worth of damage to the premises.

If the lease is terminated by the landlord for nonpayment, notice of at least seven days is required. A termination due to a lease violation requires 10 days notice, during which time the tenant may remedy the issue to avoid ending their lease.

There are some special rules regarding lease termination due to nonpayment of utilities by a tenant. Upon initial violation, the landlord must serve five days notice, but the tenant has only three days to remedy the situation to continue under the lease. If a similar breach occurs again within six months, the tenant may only be given three days to quit the unit.

Notice of 24 hours is required for any entry to the unit, and this entry can only be done during a reasonable time. The landlord is allowed to enter without notice during emergencies. If a tenant is going to be absent from the unit for more than seven days, they are required to notify the landlord. The landlord is allowed to enter the unit if they have not been notified and notice the tenant has been gone for more than a week.

Lockouts and utility shutoffs are not allowed in Alaska under any circumstances, and the tenant can legally terminate the rental agreement and collect damages of up to 1.5 times the actual cost to them if the landlord does this. This is covered under Chapter 34.03.210.

Required Disclosures and Notes

Chapter 34.03.100 spells out the required duties of the landlord. These are fairly standard duties such as keeping the premises clean and in good repair. One stipulation for Alaska is that heat must be made available from October 1 to May 1 unless the dwelling is a type that is not required by law to be heated.

Tenant duties are covered in Chapter 34.03.120. Tenants must keep the dwelling as clean and safe as is reasonably possible, not deliberately damage the unit and respect the quiet enjoyment rights of others nearby. Tenants may not change the locks on a unit unless there is an emergency and the landlord cannot be contacted for some reason. They are also not allowed to sublet without express written permission from the landlord.

Landlords must disclose to tenants any use of lead-based paints in their unit. The state has no statutes on disclosing a name and address, providing a copy of the lease or any specific duties of the landlord in a domestic violence situation.

Small Claims Court

The small claims court limit set by the state is $10,000. Eviction cases are not allowed in small claims court in Alaska. There is a statute of limitation of three years for contract violations and six years for real damages to property.

Realtor Associations in Alaska

11

Colorado Landlord Tenant Laws

Colorado has some very detailed and specific laws regarding maintenance of premises and the rights of victims of domestic violence that go beyond what is required in many other states. Colorado landlords need to ensure that they are familiar with these special provisions, especially if they are moving in from other states where there are not as many requirements in these areas.

Though some areas of Colorado rental law are very detailed, others are almost entirely without statutes. In these cases, disputes are sometimes settled by prior precedent in court cases. For example, the “benefit of the bargain” rule that establishes the extent of damages that a landlord can collect stems from a state Supreme Court ruling (Schneiker vs. Gordon) rather than existing in the state statutes.

What Laws Cover Landlord-Tenant Relationships in Colorado?

Colorado rental laws are covered under the Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 38 – Property – Real and Personal – Tenants and Landlords. It is important to note, however, that individual cities in Colorado very often have their own codes and ordinances that also have to be followed. For example, the cities of Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins all have unique local ordinances that landlords need to be familiar with. Some good places to brush up on local statutes and ordinances include the official city website, the local law library or public library, or the offices of the city or county manager.

Security Deposit Rules

Though Colorado does have some complicated rules governing rental arrangements, the state is fairly hands-off in the area of security deposits. There are no statutes on maximum amounts, landlords are not required to pay interest to tenants or place the funds in a specific type of account, and there are no limitations on pet deposits. However, Colorado does not allow non-refundable security deposits. The landlord is required to return the deposit to the tenant in full provided they are not owed back rent or damages.

CRS 38-12-30 outlines the terms of whether or not the security deposit needs to be returned. The default amount of time to return a deposit is within 30 days, unless another arrangement was agreed to in the lease, but that arrangement is not valid if it is greater than 60 days. If the tenant is forced to vacate due to hazardous conditions, the landlord must return the deposit within 72 hours spanning only business days. The landlord does not have to provide an itemized list in the case of damages, but they do have to provide the tenant with written notice of the amount they intend to withhold during the period before the deposit is to be returned. If the landlord fails to provide written notice during this time, they waive their right to the deposit regardless of damages. If the landlord wrongfully withholds a deposit, the tenant may recover up to three times the amount of the deposit along with any attorney and court costs.

Lease, Rent and Fee Rules

Colorado is also fairly hands-off about fees, at least at the state level. There are no statutes regarding late fee amounts, advance notice of a rent increase, return check fees, application fees or prepaid rent. There is also no statute that provides for a tenant to withhold rent for repairs, and landlords are under no obligation to minimize damages in the case of an abandoned lease (though they are also restricted to only collecting what they would have been paid originally had the lease been honored).

Colorado landlords do need to be aware that there are restrictions on handling abandoned property, however, which are spelled out in CRS 38-20-116. Tenants are also allowed to withhold rent due to problems with the habitability of the unit, under certain circumstances that are listed in CRS 38-12-507.

If a yearly lease runs over without a new lease being signed, the law automatically regards the tenant as being on a monthly lease (a “holdover tenant”), with all the rules and protections that govern such a lease. However, once the tenant pays rent for one full month, the lease is automatically presumed by the law to be renewed for an additional year.

Notice and Entry Rules

CRS 13-40-107-4 makes the rules about notice of lease termination clear. A yearly lease can be terminated with 91 days notice. Leases longer than six months but shorter than a full year require 28 days notice. Month-to-month leases require seven days notice, and week-to-week leases require three days notice.

Eviction for nonpayment can take place with only three days notice. Three days notice are also required for a lease violation, but the tenant has the option of remedying the violation during that time to continue with their lease. Repeat violations can enable an immediate lease termination, however; the exact circumstances are covered in CRS 13-40-104-e.5.

There are no statutes about prior notice for entry by a landlord. Lockouts and utility shutoffs by the landlord are never allowed, and the tenant can sue for damages if they occur. Self-help evictions without the consent of both parties are not allowed, with the exception of incidents involving state cleanup of an illegal drug lab on the premises.

Required Disclosures and Notes

CRS 38-12-505 details all of the specific duties a landlord must fulfill to maintain a habitable premise. Among other utilities the landlord must provide running water, reasonable amounts of hot water, connection to a sewage disposal system, functioning and well-maintained heating facilities, and electrical lighting that is up to code. Landlords are also responsible for exterior waterproofing and weather protection, maintenance of plumbing and gas facilities, cleanliness of common areas and the good working order of locks. Landlords must also handle extermination if a tenant reports infestation of insects, rodents or vermin in the dwelling. Any of these listed deficiencies must be shown to materially and substantially limit the tenant’s use of their unit before the unit can be considered legally uninhabitable.

Provisions for the duties of landlords in regards to domestic violence victims are found in CRS 38-12-402 and CRS 13-40-107.5c. It is not legal for the landlord to make it a lease violation to repeatedly call police officers and emergency assistance in response to a domestic abuse situation. Landlords may request proof of domestic violence status, but they may not terminate the lease of a domestic violence victim. A tenant who experiences sexual assault or domestic violence is allowed to terminate the lease early, but may be required to pay one extra month’s rent.

Landlords are not allowed to retaliate in response to good faith complaints by tenants. Retaliation includes increasing the rent, decreasing services, or threatening to bring action against the tenant directly in response to a complaint. Tenants may make a valid complaint either directly to the landlord or to a government agency, with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) being the central agency that handles such complaints.

Small Claims Courts

CRS 13-6-403 establishes a small claims court limit of $7,500. Eviction cases are not heard in small claims court. Both landlords and tenants who are anticipating a legal dispute would be well advised to consult the Colorado Judicial Branch’s Local Small Claims Practices sheet, which details the individual procedures and locations for each district.

Colorado Realtors Associations

Connecticut Landlord Tenant Laws

Connecticut has adopted many of the provisions of the Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act, but does have some of its own unique requirements. Special care of security deposits is required of Connecticut landlords, as the upper limit for which tenants can sue if the deposit is not properly returned is greater than in most other states, and payment of interest is also required.

What Laws Cover Landlord-Tenant Relationships in Connecticut?

The primary state statute that covers rental agreements in Connecticut is Chapter 830, Sec. 47a-1 to 47a-74. These sections in Chapter 830 cover just about everything that residential landlords and tenants need to know, and the state publishes a Rights and Responsibilities pamphlet that summarizes the basic requirements. The state also publishes separate summary guides for both landlords and tenants regarding their rights and responsibilities in an eviction proceeding.

The one remaining statute that tenants and landlords should be familiar with is Chapter 926, which covers various statutes of limitations pertaining to private property and recovery of damages.

Security Deposit Rules

There are limits on the maximum security deposit that a landlord can ask for, and they vary by age (as established by Sec. 47a-21). If a tenant is age 62 or older, then a landlord may only request the equivalent of one month’s rent as a security deposit. Landlords may ask the equivalent of two months of rent from younger tenants.

Connecticut also requires that security deposits be held in a certain type of interest-bearing bank account, according to Sec. 47a-21. The account must provide interest at a rate that is set annually by the state’s Banking Commissioner. Landlords are not allowed to increase the rent specifically to equal the amount of this interest. Tenants can lose their right to the interest for any month in which their payment is more than 10 days late, unless they had already been charged a late fee. The Banking Commissioner requires that landlords provide the bank name and account number where the security deposits are held within seven days of the start of the lease.

The statute also puts hard limits on what the security deposit can be used for. It can only be used for damage to the unit or to cover unpaid rent or utility payments. An itemized list of charges and a written description is required if the landlord retains any of the security deposit. The deposit must be returned within 30 days, or within 15 days of the landlord receiving the tenant’s forwarding address. The landlord can be held liable for twice the amount of the security deposit, or twice the amount of the owed interest if that was the only money that was not returned. The Banking Commission may also investigate and fine the landlord if unlawful withholding of security deposit monies occurs.

The state has no specific statute for pet deposits or non-refundable fees.

Lease, Rent and Fee Rules

Sec. 47a-3a stipulates that rent is due on the first of the month if no other date has been specified in the lease. There is a nine day grace period from this date in which the tenant can still pay the rent without eviction proceedings being initiated (or four days in the case of week-to-week leases). The landlord is also not allowed to begin charging a late fee until this period of nine days has passed. There is no statute on rent increase notices or terms of prepaid rent.

There is no statute addressing fees for returned checks, or for fees regarding abandonment and early termination of the lease. Penal Code Ch. 925 stipulates that landlords cannot recover civil damages if the tenant pays with a check that bounces.

Under Sec. 47a, tenants are given the right to withhold rent for failure to provide essential services. The tenant is required to give notice of the specific violation in advance, and they may then procure the service on their own and deduct it from the cost of the rent. The tenant may also legally withhold rent until the landlord remedies the situation. Tenants are allowed to go to the local Housing Court for legal recourse if the landlord refuses to provide the service. There is no specific statute that addresses withholding rent for repairs, but this situation may be covered by the previous statute depending on the circumstances.

Landlords may recover attorney and court fees under certain circumstances where damages can be proven in court to be caused by the tenant.  The lease is not allowed to include any stipulation that requires the tenant to pay an excess of more than 15% of the landlord’s actual court and attorney costs, however.

Notice and Entry Rules

Sec. 47a-23 covers the circumstances of required notice to terminate a lease early. Tenants are required to provide three days notice in virtually all cases. Landlords are also required to provide three days notice of termination of the lease after the nine-day rental payment grace period has expired. Terminations for a lease violation require a 15-day written notice that specifies the violation.

Sec. 47a-16 deals with notice before entry, but for the most part the language of the law does not set specific time limits. Landlords are only required to give “reasonable” oral or written notice, and may only enter at “reasonable” times, though no formal definition of what is considered reasonable is given. This includes entry for showings and for needed maintenance and repairs. Emergency entry is also broadly allowed without notice, and the landlord can enter the unit to verify continued habitation and the state of the unit if the tenant is absent for an extended period of time.

Lockouts and utility shutoffs are entirely disallowed under Sec. 47a-13.

Required Disclosures and Notes

Sec. 47a-6 and 47a-7 cover a landlord’s various responsibilities and duties. The name and address of either the landlord or the property manager must be provided to the tenant prior to the start of the lease. The landlord is also required to perform various duties such as providing water and trash receptacles and keeping the property clean and repaired. Landlords may also not require electronic funds transfer as the sole form of payment. Connecticut law also protects tenants from retaliation and requires that landlords disclose if any lead paint has been used on the premises.

Sec. 47a-11 outlines various duties of the tenant. The tenant must not engage in unlawful activity, respect the quiet enjoyment of other people on the property, and keep the property as clean and safe as circumstances will permit.

Small Claims

The small claims court limit in Connecticut is $5,000, with the aforementioned exceptions for recovery of unreturned security deposits and interest, which can be double the original amount owed to the tenant. Evictions are not handled by the small claims courts in the state. The directory linked below lists the contact information for all of the different small claims courts in the state.

Connecticut Realtor Associations

California Landlord Tenant Laws

The relationship between landlord and tenants is governed by California landlord tenant laws. Basically, the laws stipulate how landlord and tenants should conduct themselves when they enter into a lease agreement. Below is a summary of the laws.

Security Deposit:

In California, the maximum security deposit allowed by law is equivalent to 2 month’s rent for unfurnished dwellings and 2 months for furnished ones. Tenants are not required to deposit security to bank accounts. No state-wide statute exists on deposit interest but 15 localities have enacted rent control ordinances. Pet deposit or additional non-refundable fee are not permitted. Once a tenant issues a notice to vacate a dwelling, the landlord has 21 days to return the security deposit. However, the landlord can

Landlords can withhold deposit until rent arrears are paid in full, damages repaired, furnishings replaced, and the rental unit cleaned properly.  Also, landlords are supposed to write descriptions or list of damages and charges incurred for repairs. No receipts or itemized list of repairs is required for damages that cost less than $126. Failure to comply means the landlord may be subjected to statutory damages upto twice the security deposit plus the actual damages.

Lease, Rent & Fees:

Like most states, payment for rent is due at the end of each month ( unless there’s a contract otherwise). Most leases indicate expressly that rent is due at the start of the month. Landlords are required to accept payment in other forms but not cash or electronic transfer.  Rent increase notice should be issued 30 days if the amount is less than 10% of lowest amount charged in a year and 60 days if the amount is more than 10% of the least monthly rent charged.

Landlords can charge late fees if specified in the lease but it should be reasonable and in conformity with rent control laws. Application fees are allowed and is adjusted annually based on variation in the Consumer Price Index. Landlords in California are allowed to collect prepaid rent for one month plus two or three months rent as deposit. At any given time, returned check fees is equivalent to the current bank fee. However, the landlord can charge a $25 flat fee for the first occurrence and $35 for any occurrence afterwards.

Whenever a landlord fails to provide essential services, the tenant is allowed to withhold rent as the dwelling is under the implied warranty of habitability. Tenants are also allowed to perform repairs and deduct the cost from the rent. The amount spent on repairs should not be more than one month’s rent and the repairs should not be done more than twice in 1 year. As a landlord, you can recover court and attorney fees from the tenant. However, you must make reasonable effort to lessen damages to lessee.

Notices and Entry:

Landlords are not required to terminate tenancy for fixed end date leases as they simply expire. However, they are required to give  a 60 days notice for a periodic lease of 1 year or more. Tenants are required to issue a 30-day notice if they are planning to vacate a dwelling. For a week-to-week lease, the landlord should give a 30 days notice while the tenant 7 days notice.  Notice to terminate the lease prior to disposing or selling property is 30 days while a notice for move-out inspection should be made within 48 hours. The landlord is expected to have contracted to sell the dwelling unit to a person who intends to occupy the unit for at least 1 year once the current tenancy ends.

Landlords can make an eviction whenever a tenants fails to meet their obligations. Tenants should be issued with an eviction notice for defaulting payment 3 days in advance. For lease violation, the tenant has 3 days to remedy the violation before a landlord can file an eviction. The landlord is allowed to terminate lease where the tenant is involved in illegal activity or subletting without express permission. Before any landlord enters a dwelling unit, he or she has to give a 24 hours notice of entry. Entry for repairs or maintenance tasks require 24 hours notice. however, no notice is required for emergency entry. The landlord cannot make entry when the tenant is away for an extended period of time. The same case applies for lockouts.

Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes

As a tenant, you might be wondering what kind of disclosures are landlords supposed to make? Landlords are supposed to accept the first qualified applicants for vacancies in dwelling units according to the 2012 Fair Housing Handbook of California. While no statute supports this, it’s widely recommended by law. The landlord is required to provide the tenant with a copy of the lease within 15 days of coming into execution. Equally, the tenant is required to disclose whether tenant’s utilities also service other areas as well as how costs will be shared. Where utilities are shared among many tenants, the landlord must provide a formula for splitting the expenses. In San Francisco, landlords are required to provide heating than can sustain a room temperature of 68 degrees for at least 13 hours between 5-11 AM and 3-10 PM.

Landlords are not required by law to provide tenants with Move-in Condition Checklist. However, it is highly recommended, and useful especially when seeking compensation claims for damages to a dwelling unit.  The landlord must also disclose, before signing a lease, presence of mold in the rental units that could potentially harm the tenant. Similarly, the landlord must provide a consumer handbook to the tenant. Landlords are supposed to make pest disclosures when signing a lease. This includes contracts or disclosures made by pest control or eradication companies. In addition, the landlord is required to disclose which pesticides are used to control pests, active ingredients, as well as warnings.

Where a landlord or agent has sought permission to demolish a rental or dwelling unit, the landlord is required to provide written notice to would-be occupants before accepting any payment. Landlords are also required to disclose the presence or location of ordinances in the vicinity. Most importantly, landlords are required to include  information to notify sexual offenders that information about registered sexual offenders (address or zip code) is available on the Department of Justice website at www.meganslaw.ca.gov.

Where smoking is prohibited or limited, the landlord must add a clause which specifies designated areas on or within the premises where smoking is not allowed.  The landlord is allowed to documentation or proof of domestic violence by tenants who claim to be victims. Pursuant to that, the landlords is duty bound to replace the locks when requested by a tenant who has proof of a court order. While a victim can end a lease within 30 days of notice, the landlord cannot terminate a tenant’s lease or deny them renewal on the basis of being a member or victim of stalking, domestic violence, or sexual assault.

Landlords in California are not allowed to terminate a lease, raise rent, or diminish services, or compel a tenant to leave a dwelling involuntarily, or take action to recover possession of a tenant who has filed a suit or complaint to a government body or local authority. Similarly, the landlord must not take action against tenants who are actively involved in tenant’s association or who are exercising their legal rights. The courts will assume the landlord is acting in retaliation of negative action is taken within 180 days after the tenant’s action. Any acts such as deducting remedy for repairs, complaining about the current condition of dwelling units, or issuing a citation could be deemed as retaliatory action as well.

Small Claims court limit in California

In California, the Judicial Branch arbitrates on matters of small claims. Landlords cannot file legal suits  for claims exceeding $2,500 more than twice each year. Currently, the small claims  court limits in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange County stands at $10,000.

Links to relevant courts

California State Courts

California Attorney General

State Bar of California – Small Claims

Links to realtor associations

California Department of Real Estate

California Association of REALTORS®

California Bureau of Real Estate

LawhelpCalifornia: Housing