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Tenant Rights

Tenant Rights

Karina Arabolaza (Director of Education and Outreach, Housing Rights Center, Los Angeles) gives expert video advice on: Can a landlord make any rule they want regarding pets?; Can a landlord force me to get rid of my pet?; Can a landlord limit how many guests I can have to my unit? and more...

Does the landlord have to deliver the apartment in a certain condition?

Landlords do have to deliver the apartment or the home in habitable condition. For example, in the state of California, landlords are required to meet the condition of the implied minimum warranty of habitability which only refers to the structural soundness of the home or the apartment.

Should I move in if the landlord did not make promised repairs?

Tenants should not move in or sign the rental agreement if the landlord has not made promised repairs. However if they have already signed the rental agreement and want to move in, that's OK as long as they try to reach another agreement and if they can, a written agreement on how those promised repairs will be carried out.

Do I have to give my landlord a key to my apartment?

Yes, tenants are required to give their landlord a key to their apartment.

Can a landlord enter my apartment at any time?

Landlords can enter a tenant's unit in a certain number of circumstances, for example in an emergency, to conduct agreed-upon repairs, to show the unit to prospective tenants; however, only in two instances can a landlord enter the tenant's unit without any type of notification, and that would be in an emergency, or if the tenant has abandoned or left the unit.

Can a landlord make any rule they want regarding pets?

Landlords can make any rules they want regarding pets for example the types of pets that they allowed, the size of the animal or how many pets that they will allowed for tenant the only exception would be for a tenant who has a disability and requires of the service animal in which case landlords cannot make any restrictions about the service animal for that tenant who has a disability.

Can a landlord force me to get rid of my pet?

If a tenant's pet is causing property damages, or is causing a nuisance - even posing a threat to other tenants and their guests - a landlord may be able to force the tenant to get rid of their pet.

Can my landlord force my inoperable vehicle to be moved?

A landlord can ask a tenant to move an inoperable vehicle from their parking space. Each tenant should check with their landlord concerning the use of parking spaces.

Can a landlord stop me from installing a satellite dish on my porch?

Landlords can stop tenants from installing either a satellite dish or cable in apartments, because satellite dishes and cables require drilling and minor repairs in order to install that service. Under these circumstances, the recommendation is for tenants to ask the landlord's permission to install a satellite dish or cable. So once they have the permission, they can go ahead and make the installation.

Can a landlord stop me from putting up Christmas lights?

Landlords will have their own rules and regulations concerning decorative displays in common areas, therefore each tenant should check with the landlord if they can put up Christmas lights in common areas or hallways. If they want to put Christmas lights up in their own apartment, that's perfectly fine.

Can a landlord stop me from putting a grill on my balcony?

Landlords may have special rules and regulations concerning grills, and that possibly includes prohibiting having one in a balcony simply because it could potentially pose a health and safety hazard.

Can a landlord limit how many guests I can have to my unit?

Landlords can limit the number of guests that tenants have in their unit and for how many nights they can have guests.

Can a landlord deny certain guests?

Landlords can not deny a guest access to the property simply because of one of their characteristics such as their race, religion or gender. Landlords cannot deny access to that guest based on their protected characteristics under the Fair Housing Laws. However if that guest on a prior occasion caused a nuisance, destroyed property or distubed other tenants quiet enjoyment then that guest can be denied access.

Is there a limit on how long a guest can stay in my place?

Tenants should check with their landlords concerning their rules and regulations about having overnight guests. Each landlord will stipulate how many days or nights they allow guests at the property.

What can I do if I suspect my landlord is discriminating against my guests?

If tenants believe that the landlord is discriminating against their guests, they should contact the local fair housing council in their area or the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Can a landlord make new rules and policies that are not on the lease?

Landlords can make new rules or policies and add them to the existing rental agreement. If the tenant has a lease -- a term lease, which is locked in for a six or twelve month period -- then they would have to wait until that lease has expired. However, if a tenant has a month-to-month rental agreement, then the landlord only has to provide them with three days notice before changing the terms of the tenancy, in order to change a rule or to add a new rule or regulation.

Can a landlord increase my rent during the lease?

Landlords can increase a tenant's rent. Again, this will vary depending on if it's a term lease or a month-to-month rental agreement. For a term lease, usually the rent is locked for a certain period of time, so they wouldn't be able to increase the rent during those six months or twelve months, unless the lease indicates otherwise. If a tenant has a month-to-month rental agreement, the landlord only has to provide the required notification, in writing, that they are increasing the rent.

Am I covered by my landlord's insurance policy?

If tenants want to protect their personal belongings, they should obtain their own insurance.