Real Estate Law

Real Estate Law Protects Tenants

There is a plethora of specific real estate laws established to maintain equality between owners, tenants, buyers, and sellers. The main real estate law that attempts to ensure tenants are treated fairly is called the Warranty of Habitability. This real estate law basically strives to ensure that all tenants are allowed to live in a safe and healthy environment, and that landlords aren’t able to rent out unsuitable dwellings, and the tenant is treated fairly across all mediums. Generally, a landlord is expected to ensure the dwelling:

·       Has drinkable water

·       Is able to be heated during cold seasons and weather

·       Has a working sewer system installed

·       Uses a safe, working electrical system installed

·       Is equipped with a working smoke detector

·       Has a lock for your doors

·       Is not infested with bugs

·       Is overall a safe and sanitary dwelling both inside and out

Renting with Current Problems

If you’re thinking about moving into a home that has problems, specifically any of them mentioned above, be sure to cover your bases. Have the landlord put it in writing that they promise to have it fixed, how they’ll have it fixed, and when they will have it fixed.  If there’s a problem with the home after you’ve moved in there are several avenues you can take. You can choose to do them in combination with each other as well. What can you do? First, bring the problem to your landlord’s attention and ask to have it fixed. Most landlords will be more than happy to oblige. If not, some of your options under real estate law are:

·       Fix the problem yourself and subtract the amount it costs from your rent

·       Move out

·       Obtain a court order demanding that your landlord fix the problem

·       Withhold rent payment until the problem is resolved

·       Sue to recover some of your rent money and costs

As mentioned above, always give your landlord the opportunity to fix the problem. Write them a letter explaining the problem in detail and how it affects your living conditions. If they fix it, great! They should. If they don’t do so in a reasonable amount of time, you’re legally allowed to terminate the lease by moving out. Before you actually do so, write them again and tell them of your plans. Let them know they’ve violated the real estate law of Warranty of Habitability.

Of course, if you can’t or don’t want to move, there are other avenues mentioned above. The most important thing to remember is that you are protected from unfair treatment by your landlord under real estate law. You should consult an attorney or your county’s website to see what options are available.