explores the law on tenant owners: knowing your rights and obligations



While owning a home is still considered the American dream, at least one in three homes is rented out rather than owner-owned. Whether these rental properties are part of large apartment complexes or single-family units, landlords and tenants have rights and responsibilities. Leases should always describe the obligations of both parties, but local, state, and federal regulations usually take precedence over rental agreements. While it’s always a good idea to consult with a legal expert when questions arise, you can also continue reading for some background information or click here to learn more.

Grasp the basics

Landlord / tenant laws in most jurisdictions contain a few basic rules that everyone should understand. Generally, both parties involved in a rental agreement should understand where, when and to whom rental payments are to be made. Homeowners should specify how these payments are to be made. For example, if a check is to be given to the owner at a specific address, that address should be clear. If online payments are accepted, the renter should be instructed on how to access the payment portal and understand the steps required to make the payments. Since many rental agreements include specific property clauses, everyone should be clear about the contents of the rental agreement. Organizations like the AAOA work with homeowners to minimize potential issues and to provide advice on how to resolve issues if they arise.

What is included in a rental agreement?

Virtually all agreements must include specific information to comply with relevant information standards. Unless all of the required information is included, according to, the courts are not likely to support an owner in a dispute. Of course, tenants may also find it difficult to resolve grievances if nothing pertains to an issue is stated in the lease and government regulations do not clearly apply to the situation. Here are some of the things that should always be included in a rental agreement.

  • The names of all parties involved. The landlord must be clearly identified and the names of all tenants must be included.

  • Rental amounts should be clear and the agreement should specify when and where payment is to be made. If late penalties are included, they should be clearly defined.

  • A description of the rental property and its exact address are always required.

  • The amount of any security deposit must be included, and the agreement must specify how and when that deposit will be returned.

  • All agreements must include special agreements, including whether pets are allowed, where tenants can park, and whether additional storage space is included.

Most jurisdictions also have tenant rights and guidance sites or offices that tenants and landlords can contact when questions arise. However, it is still important that parties involved in rental property disputes contact organizations that focus on either tenants or lessors to ensure they are receiving proper advice.

Planning eliminates many problems

In most cases, it is much easier to prevent problems than to resolve them once a problem arises. Landlords who work with legal experts and landlord associations regularly find that they have fewer problems when everyone involved understands the relevant regulations affecting rental properties. Tenants also benefit from understanding all regulations, as they are better informed and able to understand their rights and duties.

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