Know your renter’s rights -

Real Estate Broker/Owner with 4 Malibu Real Estate Lic# 01457517

 Malibu Real Estate



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Know your renter's rights

Renting can be a wonderful thing for those not in a position to buy. Renters may be able to experience housing quality they couldn't necessarily afford to own. There's no personal responsibility for the storm drain or leaky faucet and - depending on your lease - no serious long-term commitment. All cogent arguments to rent, but before you dive into tenancy, make sure you know your renter's rights.

The key for tenants is knowing what's in the lease and what you are agreeing to. Many suggest researching local and state statutes so you can understand your rights if your landlord violates the law. Check out your local government website and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which has information on local and state tenant laws and rights broken down by state.

While federal laws generally only pertain to discrimination and lead disclosure, state statutes vary widely. In nearly every state, renters have rights to a so-called "fit and livable home," but laws may define this entitlement differently. In general it requires a landlord to address major repairs or circumstances such as a broken furnace or a rat infestation. Minor repairs, such as a noisy furnace, are a matter of negotiation.

Only about half the states have laws regarding privacy and how and when a landlord may enter your rental. If there is no law regarding renters' privacy rights in your state, she recommends getting a sense of the policy and your landlord when choosing your rental. A landlord may expect to enter your home without advance notice or may agree to call first or give 24 hours' notice.

It always helps to get the landlord's word in writing regarding topics not covered in your lease.

Though you may try your best to prevent disagreements with your landlord, conflict isn't uncommon. One of the biggest areas of dispute between landlords and tenants is in the area of deposits. State laws vary on what landlords can deduct and when, as well as how they must return the security deposit. Lederer suggests taking video or photos to document the condition of the property when you move in. Tangible evidence of what wear and tear you are responsible for can help protect your rights and limit the possibility of unduly losing your deposit, which is typically set at one or two months' rent.

Lastly, don't forget the importance of learning about your landlord before you agree to your lease. Don't be afraid to talk to previous tenants. Find out why a tenant is leaving and his or her overall experience renting from the landlord. The landlord will check your background, just as you should do your own homework on the landlord and the rights your states gives to renters.


Bobby Lehmkuhl ׀ ׀ 310.365.7696 ׀ Broker Lic. #01457517

Danielle Dutcher ׀ ׀ 805.341.8769 ׀ Broker Lic. #01463653


Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, or investment advice. Although information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary, therefore, please consult a professional for specific advice.


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Bobby LehmKuhl

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