A Guide To Understanding The Laws For Landlords And Property Managers

In America, you have the right to own a house or apartment. If you want to rent out your property, it’s important that you understand as much as possible about rental laws and tenant rights in your state. This article is here to help with those questions. It will give you a basic understanding of what to expect when you’re a landlord or property manager for tenants’ rights and landlords’ rights across the United States, from renting procedure and security deposits to eviction processes.


A landlord can charge any amount for rent. However, there are city ordinances that might affect how much you can charge your tenants. For example, San Francisco has rent control ordinances; New York City has rent stabilization codes, and Chicago has a special eviction ordinance called the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance (CRLTO).

You must provide tenants with written notice about changes in fees and reasons why it’s changing (due to increased costs). However, you cannot create non-refundable fees, like application fees.


Each state has its own laws and regulations for eviction. The landlord may be the one who has to file a claim and pay for eviction. With the steps of eviction in California, for example, the landlord must first file forms with the court, then serve the notice of eviction to the tenant. Then there’s a final hearing; if the tenant responds or not.

Rental Agreements

A rental agreement is the most important part of being a landlord or property manager. It’s here that you state what your tenant must and must not do, very explicitly. Any requirements that aren’t covered in this document (or which can’t be assumed from common sense) are not allowed by law.

The reason for such explicitness is to protect both you and your tenants: it states what they can expect from each other, and also contains agreements on behavior and payments; if either party breaks these rules, there will be consequences (if it wasn’t already made clear). If any aspect is unclear at the time of signing, make sure to add a line like “Any questions regarding this agreement should be brought up before signing.”


Subletting is when a tenant wants to sublease their place to another person or subtenants for a certain amount of time. This type of tenancy agreement needs the landlord’s written consent and an addendum put into the lease. If you agree, tenants need to pay for the rent they normally owe plus the cost that their subtenant is paying them, minus what they’re required to pay you each month.

Or, tenants can use their security deposit to pay for their subtenant’s rent. If the amount of the security deposit isn’t equal to the number of months’ worth of rent that you’re charging, then they need to pay you in addition to what they are already paying for. How much they’ll have to pay depends on how many months are covered by your rental agreement with them. You can require them to pay this directly to you each month, instead of having them hold onto it until after they leave.

Security Deposit

Landlords are allowed to ask for a security deposit before tenants move in or after they move out. Usually, landlords will charge 1-2 months’ rent as a security deposit. The maximum amount that you can charge is decided by state law and code. Normally it ranges from $1,000-$3,000 depending on the size of the rental property and location. Landlords are not allowed to take the cost of any repairs needed during the tenant’s stay unless tenants don’t pay rent or damage rental property beyond normal wear and tear. When tenants leave, landlords must return their money within 30-45 days. They are allowed to deduct for normal wear and tear of the rental unit, damage beyond normal wear and tear (beyond reasonable use), unpaid rent (if not paid on time) or late charges, cleaning expenses that go beyond what’s considered usual clean up.

For example, if the landlord requires new carpeting because of the tenant’s smoking habits; landlords can’t charge tenant’s repainting walls due to cigarettes smoke after moving out; however, you can charge a tenant for the carpet cleaning (due to their smoking), replacing dirty blinds, and the cost of trash disposal.

Access To The Property By You or Tenant

Landlords are allowed to enter the place when they want; tenants must give at least 24-hour notice before entering the property if it’s necessary. A landlord also has a right to show property multiple times per year, with enough time given so that tenants can clean up or accept guests. But tenants must have access if landlords need to do repairs. If you need to enter your property due to an emergency, you don’t have to provide written notice to them first!

You also have the right as landlord/property manager that any law enforcement officer acting under proper authority may enter the property without notice if he or she has reasonable cause to believe that there is a violation of the law on the premises.

Landlords and tenants need to know how they should act around each other, as well as knowing what will happen if they break their agreements. Although it might seem like a lot of rules and laws to follow, it’ll be worth it in the end.

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button