Both tenants and landlords must follow certain state and federal rules. Being a tenant, it is very important to know what your rights and responsibilities are. Knowing the law ensures more safety in your life. Have a look at the following tenant rights and responsibilities. Keep in mind that by signing the lease you agree to the terms and conditions mentioned there, so read it carefully every time you’re renting a new apartment. If you don’t understand something, ask your landlord for explanations.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provides the necessary information about tenant rights. When talking about tenant rights and responsibilities, we should mention the following basic rights:
- Tenants have the right to a safe rental unit that doesn’t endanger their life or health.
- Tenants have a right to withhold rent if a landlord does not take care of important repairs.
- Tenants can install their own locks in addition to the locks provided by the landlord.
- A tenant has the right to know where the security deposit is held.
- Tenants have the right to get a receipt in case they pay rent by cash.
- Tenants have the right to get back the security deposit in case they have not violated the terms of the lease and kept the apartment clean and undamaged.
- Tenants have right for privacy. Thus, the landlord can enter the apartment only if there’s a reason for it (for instance, water or gas leak, fire, etc.).
- According to state and federal laws, tenants have the right not to be discriminated because of their race, color, religion, sex orientation, etc.
- A tenant can not be evicted by a landlord. The latter should have a court order for the eviction.
Let’s go on considering tenants’ rights and responsibilities:
- Tenants must pay rent on time.
- Tenants must keep the apartment undamaged and clean.
- A tenant must pay the utility bills in case this has been mentioned in the lease agreement.
- A tenant must let the landlord into the rental unit in case there’s an emergency or the landlord needs to show the apartment to potentially new tenants.
- Tenants must repair any damage caused to the apartment by the tenants or their guests during the rental period.
- In case a tenant intends to move out of the apartment earlier than the rental term ends, he or she should provide a 30-day notice to the landlord.
New York State Office of Rent Administration
New York Homeowners & Tenants Insurance: What Consumers Need to Know (pdf)
The main thing in tenants’ rights and responsibilities is knowing the law. Both the landlord and tenant should read the laws carefully.