Both Tenants and Landlords Unaware Of Laws

Although it is recommended that everyone own their home, there is still a very high demand for rental housing. This can be due to financial restrictions or personal preference. With the demand so high, it is surprising that so many people on either side of the rental process do not really understand the laws that apply to rental agreements.

To test this, renters and landlords were given a survey that asked questions about their respective rights and responsibilities throughout the rental process. The results were shocking. On average, renters and landlords both answered incorrectly on about half of the questions.

The Results

Across the board, there seemed to be a huge misunderstanding when it came to most of the topics in the survey. Renters and landlords both had little knowledge about privacy and access rights, security deposits, credit/background checks, and laws on early termination. They showed a greater understanding of laws that involved discriminatory advertising and who should be responsible for repairs and maintenance.

Since rental laws vary by state, Zillow’s director of rentals suggested every landlord and renter take the time to research and understand their rights. The easiest way to go about this is to seek the help of a residential real estate lawyer in your area. They can help you get a better understanding of some of the common misconceptions regarding rental laws.

Common Misconceptions

1. Security Deposit Laws

It turns out, most people don’t know the truth about the window of time surrounding the refund of a security deposit once a tenant moves out. Approximately 80 percent of both renters and landlords thought the landlord had 60 days to return a deposit. The truth is, in most states the maximum allotted time is 30 days.

2. Early Lease Termination

There is an idea that the landlord has the right to end a lease to free space and allow a family member to rent a home. 62 percent of renters and half of the landlords surveyed believed this was true. Again, that is wrong. It is illegal for a landlord to evict a current tenant during the terms of their lease just because they want to rent the unit to friends or family. Even if someone is offering to pay higher rent, this still cannot be done. The landlord must wait until the lease has expired.

3. Credit and Background Checks

Drug use is also an area where the laws are misunderstood. Most tenants and landlords believe that a landlord is allowed to deny a rental application that contains a conviction for illegal drug use in the past. Surprisingly, this is not the truth. The rejection cannot be based on prior drug use. A landlord is only allowed to reject an application if an applicant has been convicted of making or distributing illegal drugs. A person can also be denied if the landlord finds proof of current drug use.

Whether you’re a renter or a landlord, you should have someone on your side who understands how rental agreements work. With over 30 years of experience, the residential real estate lawyers at Marc Simon can handle virtually any real estate legal matter. For more information about this Las Vegas lawyer contact 702.451.7077 or