When renting a home, you assume that the property will be safe and sanitary. Landlords do have a duty to their tenants to provide housing that is safe and secure. But what exactly does that entail? While states may have their own requirements when it comes to rental properties, there are some basic things that all landlords are expected to provide.
A Safe Environment
Tenants expect their homes to be safe, and as a landlord, it’s your responsibility to provide tenants with a secure place to live.
All doors and windows should have appropriate working locks and should be properly secured. Front doors should at least have a deadbolt lock. Landlords should also change locks each time a new tenant moves in and ensure that no one else has a key to the tenant’s unit.
Additionally, your landlord should provide working carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
The outdoor area should also be safe. Outdoor areas should be well-lit and free of hazards, such as unstable handrails or broken steps.
Other common-sense safeguards include:
Landlords are also required to take care of pest and rodent infestations.
A Habitable Environment
Along with safety and security, landlords are required to provide a habitable environment. Providing heat is required, but not all states require landlords to provide air conditioning.
Georgia, for example, does not legally require landlords to provide A/C, but they are required to maintain air conditioning units if they provide them. Arizona, on the other hand, does require air conditioning because of the hot climate.
All tenants must also be provided with working:
If a landlord fails to provide you with working heat, electricity or plumbing, you have the right to stop paying rent, or make the repairs yourself and deduct the expenses from future rents.
Peace and Quiet
Tenants have the right to “quiet enjoyment,” which means the landlord cannot simply barge in any time he or she pleases. Unless there is an emergency, landlords must provide notice before entering the premises. The amount of notice will depend on your location. In some areas, landlords are required to provide 48 hours notice.
Additionally, if you live in a multi-unit property, your landlord may impose quiet hours, typically 9am through 9pm. Between these hours, tenants are expected to be quiet, with no loud music, television or noise. If neighbors violate this rule, you may contact your landlord and have him or her speak to the tenant. You are also free to call the police should your neighbors be extra noisy during quiet hours.
Landlords are expected to provide tenants with a reasonably safe, habitable and quiet home. But it’s important to remember that there are things landlords aren’t required to provide. Research your local laws to learn more about renter’s rights in your area.
If your landlord is failing to adhere to local laws, you can refuse to pay rent and get in touch with a lawyer to settle the matter.