Landlord tenant laws govern the relationship, rights and responsibilities of the parties to a residential rental agreement. Each of the 50 states has their own landlord tenant laws, with many statutes being very similar. However, there are also very significant differences in the statutes from one state to the next. Tenants, as well as landlords, both end up on the losing end of court cases regarding the landlord tenant laws in their state from time to time. The statutes actually protect all the parties, making sure that everyone who is party to a residential rental agreement complies with the landlord tenant laws in their state.

It is imperative that landlords have a copy of the landlord tenant laws in their state on hand at all times. Landlords should also familiarize themselves with the most important laws relevant to every tenancy. Every state has statues regarding what is and is not permitted in a residential lease agreement. If you write or have someone else draw up a residential lease that violates the laws in your state, the courts could declare a particular clause or portion of your lease unenforceable or the entire lease unenforceable. Additionally, the courts could potentially award money damages to tenants as a result of your unenforceable or unconscionable rental agreement.

Click the Map for Landlord Tenant Laws in Your State

Landlords must also know the landlord tenant laws in their state regarding when landlords can enter their occupied rental property and the required notice that landlords must give tenants in advance of planning to enter the premises. One of the most important aspects of landlord tenant laws in any state is the statutes governing violation of the lease. If tenants fail to pay rent on time or damage the property, you cannot just throw them out, set their belongings outside, change locks or take other illegal actions. You must also supply tenants with proper notices, in accordance with landlord tenant laws. If you fail to word notices as designated in the statutes, you could possibly lose your case in court.

Landlords must also comply with all federal laws in addition to landlord tenant laws in their state.

In addition to complying with all state landlord tenant laws, you must also adhere to all federal laws regarding housing and discrimination. Unless a particular apartment building or other type of housing is specifically designated for a particular group, such as an elderly housing complex, you may not discriminate against any applicant in any manner that violates federal laws. You cannot forbid families with children unless your apartment is for elderly or disabled adults. You cannot forbid a person or family of another race or culture from renting your property. Just as you stress the importance to your tenant that you expect compliance with the terms of your lease and landlord tenant laws, you also have the same responsibilities.

To learn more about the landlord tenant statutes in your state, the American Apartment Owners Association provides details of landlord tenant laws, to help guide you. Although the information does not substitute for the advice of an attorney, you may find information that greatly helps you when you need to select your tenant screening background checks packages that best suits your needs or the landlord forms that you need to always have available. It is important that landlords recognize that landlord tenant laws apply to the state where your rental properties are located, not where you live. If you have rental properties in more than one state, knowing the applicable statutes in each of the states is crucial. Click on the state where you have rental properties to learn more.