What does a Landlord Cannot Do?

Renting your space is the best way to generate some passive income; nonetheless, some things need your attention. Since you are allowing someone into your personal space, you must know the rights and obligations of the landlord and tenant.

Generally, landlords are careful about their tenant’s rights, and things go smoothly for landlords and tenants. But sometimes, landlords may become problematic for the tenant or may not know that there are some forbidden actions.

Signing a lease does not allow the landlord to do whatever they want or force the tenants to bear with their illegal actions. 

Therefore, as a landlord, some actions are illegal for you, and your tenant has the right to take legal action against you. You must put some effort into researching and learning state and local laws regarding property management and protect yourself from unexpected liabilities. 

Forbidden actions for a landlord

Entering the rental property without notice

The landlord cannot enter the property just because he is the owner of the house. As a general rule of thumb, landlords need to provide a 24-48 hours’ notice before entering the rental property.

You may find variations in the time span from state to state, but entering the rental property without notice is always considered a tenant’s rights violation.

The notice must cover the reason for entrance and should be given in writing. With an acceptable reason, the tenant cannot deny the landlord’s request.

There are certain emergencies when landlords can enter the property without consent, including fires, gas leaks, or a natural disaster.

Illegally evicting the tenant

There may come a situation when a tenant is not following the rules mentioned in the lease agreement or might be delaying the rent. In such a case, the landlord can evict the tenant provided that he is following a proper legal channel. 

However, if the landlord is not following the proper channel and evicts the tenant without any legal reason, he can confront a serious legal battle. He might have to face trespassing or burglary charges on evicting the tenant without any warning/notice.

So, the landlord must abide by the rules and must give a tenant a 30-day notice before evicting.

Increasing the tenant’s rent without proper notice

Landlords cannot raise the rent without notice. At least 1-3 months’ prior notice must be given to enable the tenant to adjust his budget accordingly. Moreover, the landlord has to follow the specifics outlined in the lease agreement that might limit the rent raise after the lease renewal.

➡LEARN MORE: What does a Landlord should Ask from a Previous Owner?

Withholding the security deposit

Landlords cannot withhold the security deposit if they are unable to provide a genuine reason for it. They can keep the security deposit only if they have a legal reason and follow the lease specifics. They should also be prepared to provide the tenants all the necessary documents that describe the reasons for the deposit’s withholding.

A scenario such as being late on rent is not a case where a landlord can withhold the security deposit. So, you must be aware of when to withhold the security deposit.

Refusing to do essential repairs

Refusing the tenant to do essential repairs is an irrational behavior on behalf of the landlord. He must ensure that the rental property is entirely safe and livable. Structures such as drains, external pipes, installations for water, gas, and electricity should be in working position. 

Landlord’s refusal to make repairs can force the tenant to take legal action against him. Therefore, you must be prepared to address the valid concerns of your tenant and do the essential repairs.

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