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A tenant is held responsible for the actions of his or her guests that violate the rental agreement or rules and regulations of the landlord if the tenant could reasonably be expected to be aware that such actions might occur and did not attempt to prevent those actions to the best of his or her ability.

If no time frame is established in the rental agreement, the agreement becomes a month-to-month agreement.

Rights and Responsibilities

To terminate a month-to-month rental agreement, a landlord or a tenant must give 30 days notice in writing before the next rent payment would normally be due. Landlords can refuse to rent as long as the refusal is not based on an improper reason. For example, landlords cannot refuse to rent to families with children unless the rental dwelling is in a subdivision or area which is restricted to adults only by formal deed restrictions or which qualifies as housing for older persons under the Fair Housing Act.

Federal and state laws also prohibit the refusal to rent to someone because of his or her race, color, religion, sex, familial status, handicap, or national origin.

See 42 U. If a landlord materially fails to comply with the rental agreement , the tenant may deliver a written notice to the landlord specifying what the landlord did or didn't do and that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than ten days after receipt of the notice if the breach is not remedied in ten days. If the material breach affects the health and safety of the tenant , he or she may deliver a written notice to the landlord specifying the acts and omissions constituting the breach and that the rental agreement will terminate upon a date not less than five days after receipt of the notice if the breach is not remedied within five days.

A tenant cannot withhold rent unless it is authorized by the act. Generally, the only time rent can be withheld is when the landlord has deliberately or negligently failed to:.


This includes such things such as: Complying with applicable provisions of building codes; Keeping his or her part of the unit clean; Using appliances reasonably; and Not deliberately or negligently destroying, damaging, or removing part of the premises. Security deposits do not include charges for cleaning or redecorating the unit.

Your Rights as a Tenant

In addition to cleaning and repairs, the landlord may deduct any unpaid rent from the deposit as well. However, the landlord may not deduct for what may be considered normal wear and tear.

Many states require landlords to provide a detailed list of damages and repairs, as well as detailed list of the cost of repairs or cleaning. Tenants have certain rights, including the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, familiar status although this is waived for some retirement communities , and disability.

Some states also offer anti-discrimination protections on the basis of LGBT identity and marital status. And if you have a helper animal, such as a seeing-eye dog, a landlord may not refuse to rent to you solely because of a "no pets" policy.


Other rights include the right to a habitable home, the right to a home free of lead poisoning, and a certain level of privacy. For instance, a landlord may not enter your home unannounced. Landlords also have certain rights, mainly related to the protection of their income investment.

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For example, a landlord may require monthly payment of rent and the payment of other items specified in the lease agreement, such as utility bills. Landlords also have the right to evict tenants, but it must be for cause such as nonpayment of rent.

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Tenant-Landlord Rights and Responsibilities - Arlington County

Lease Agreements The basic legal parameters of the landlord-tenant relationship are outlined in the lease agreement, which protects the interests of both parties. Provisions found in a typical lease agreement include the following: The names of the two parties involved tenant and landlord Address and description of rental unit Amount of rent and date by which it must be paid each month Amount of security deposit Whether pets are allowed' Some lease provisions are illegal, though.

You should check your state's specific laws if in doubt, but generally landlords may not include any of the following terms: Discriminatory exclusion of tenants gender, religion, race, etc. Waiver of right to sue landlord Waiver of right to receive a refund of the security deposit minus repairs and cleaning costs A short-term lease agreement is often referred to as "rental agreement," typically for day similarly short-term rentals. Security Deposits Most landlords require the payment of a security deposit prior to moving in, which is limited under most state laws.

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