Understanding Your Rights as a Tenant with Six Tenants Rights Examples

Learn about tenants rights and tenancy laws landlords and property managers must not violate in this renter's guide.

Do you understand your rights as a tenant? Rental property owners and property management companies must follow a set of laws that protect your rights as a tenant. Understanding tenants’ rights are necessary if you plan to rent a home in North Carolina or any other state. Let’s take a look at six of the rights you are entitled to as a tenant.

Keep in mind that the tenants rights mentioned below are only general overviews. Each state has its own landlord-tenant laws. To learn more about the rights renters have in your state, please take the time to review the information specific to the state where you will be renting. In most instances, you can find this information online. If you have questions about the landlord and tenant relationship in North Carolina, do not hesitate to contact us.

Privacy Rights for Renters

When it comes to your right to privacy, your property manager or landlord may not enter the rental property at will without giving notice. The same holds true for vendors, such as exterminator, plumber, contractors, etc. Emergencies are one exception to this stipulation concerning a tenant’s privacy. State laws determine the amount of notice a tenant must be given, and your lease should offer an explanation on this subject.

Right to a Fit and Habitable Home

As a tenant, you have a right to a fit and habitable home. In general terms, this means that your landlord must make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition. In many cases, this is a “catch-all” requirement that covers repair and maintenance duties not specifically described elsewhere in your lease.

In some states, including North Carolina, rental property owners have an obligation to comply with all applicable local building and housing codes. Also, most states do not let a landlord put language in the lease stating that you “waive” this right.

Tenant’s Right to Peace and Quiet

In some states, when you rent a home, you are guaranteed the right to a peaceful, quiet and enjoyable environment. This right to live in a quiet environment, at least during certain times of the day, is important for tenants renting an apartment, duplex, condominium, or another rental unit which is attached to other rental spaces. Also, tenants have a right to be notified in advance of any major disruptions such as construction or having the utilities turned off for repairs.

Rental Application Rejection Disclosure

In another renter’s guide article, we discuss the rental application and tenant screening process. One of the rights you have as a rental applicant is full disclosure of any negative information that may have caused you to have your rental application rejected. Under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, a landlord has to tell you if the rejection was based on negative credit information that came from a source other than your credit report. This could include information from an employer, previous landlords, your bank or other third parties.

Tenant’s Rights Regarding Security Deposits

There are numerous requirements governing security deposits which are designed to protect both the tenant and the landlord. For example, your landlord cannot require a deposit that exceeds a limit set by your state’s law. Also, tenants are protected by requirements which state how a landlord can use the security deposit and set time limits for how long a landlord can keep your security deposit after your lease is terminated. Take a look at this renter’s guide article which is devoted entirely to the subject of security deposits.

Legal Eviction Process

One tenant right that hopefully won’t come into play is the right to a legal eviction process. Your lease should have language in it which spells out under what circumstances an eviction will occur. If you find yourself facing eviction, then you have the right to remain in your rental property during the eviction legal proceedings. As mentioned previously, eviction law varies state by state. If you find yourself facing eviction, know your rights and review your state’s laws.

Have any questions about renting in North Carolina and the landlord-tenant relationship? Contact one of our Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill property management experts.