Approved in 1974, the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA) is designed to make the rights of both tenants and landlords fair. In this way, it also provides a set of guidelines for how the relationship should function. This act has been adopted by many states to help protect both tenants and landlords. What are five ways that the URLTA helps protect you as a landlord or property manager?
It Requires You to Keep the Premises Safe
Anything that affects the health and safety of the tenants needs to be addressed. While this aspect of the landlord tenant act may seem like it protects the tenants more than you, the truth is that it protects both of you. By requiring you to keep the property safe, states that adopt this law demand that the property be inspected and help you check things that you may not have normally thought of. Keeping the premises safe goes a long way in case something should happen and you get sued. Cover all your ends and ensure the property is safe and anything hazardous has either been taken care of or disclosed to the tenants.
It Motivates Tenants to Follow Restrictions
The tenants have duties just as much as you do when it comes to a landlord tenant act. If you have restrictions in place such as no pets or painting the walls without approval, your tenant will be required to abide by these restrictions under a landlord tenant act or else face penalties. For instance, in Virginia, a landlord has the right to give the tenant a 30-day move out notice if the tenant has broken restrictions repeatedly, but only if the previous violations were addressed and corrected. However, in Tennessee, these violations must have happened twice over a period of six months with a given notice for the initial violation, and then the tenant is given a 14-day move out notice.
Requires Tenants to Keep the Property Clean
Under the landlord tenant act, tenants are required to properly dispose of waste in a manner that is considered sanitary and safe. Tenants are also required to keep the indoor and outdoor space clean of debris and and to use all appliances properly. This protects you because if a tenant is abusing certain appliances or utilities such as the heating, plumbing, or electricity, you won’t be responsible for the damage incurred by this misuse. Tenants also must not damage the property in any way or allow another person to negligently damage the property. These are things that will not be your responsibility, but rather the tenant’s, and they’ll protect you in case any issues arise.
Helps Define Obligations of Both You and the Tenants
The landlord tenant act helps define the relationship and obligations for landlords and tenants. While the landlord is responsible for keeping the property safe and fully disclosing any hazards or known issues such as mold in the basement, the tenant also has an obligation to keep the property safe and clean while they are there. The tenant also has certain rights under the landlord tenant act: for instance, in most states, the landlord tenant act dictates that the tenant has the right to withhold rent from the property manager or landlord if maintenance issues are not addressed or improper heat or water has been provided.
Lets You Enter the Property Legally Under Certain Conditions
The landlord tenant act allows the landlord or property manager to enter the property legally under certain conditions. While states such as California and Ohio require a 24-hour notice before you can enter the property, Rhode Island requires two days’ notice. Only about half of the United States has restrictions on when you can enter the property, so this is something that protects you in case of an emergency and you need to enter the property. To do maintenance repairs, show the property, or if you have reason to believe your tenant has simply moved out, it’s expected that you’ll provide at least 24 hours’ notice before entering the property, except for the latter instance, of course.
The Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act is there to protect both you and your tenant. While some states are stricter than others when it comes to a landlord tenant act, you can be sure that if you adhere to all the guidelines outlined within the act and exercise your rights, you’ll have happy tenants and a great rental property.