The Landlord and Tenant Act is a uniform code that has been adopted by states to regulate the landlord and tenant relationship and provide legal remedies for non compliance. The Act enumerates and clarifies the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords.
The Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act was approved and recommended for enactment in all 50 states in 1972 with further amendments in 1974. The Act is not in and of itself a law but it is recommended for enactment in each state and each state may modify it according to the needs of that state if necessary.
There are three underlying policies to the Landlord Tenant Act.
1. Enumerate and clarify the rights of both tenants and landlords
2. Encourage both landlords and tenants to maintain and improve the quality of housing
3. Make law uniform across the country regarding landlords and tenants
Article I are general provisions regarding the construction of the Act, who is covered, who has jurisdiction, who is not covered. This article generally speaks to administrative and enforcement, remedies and settlements in case of violations.
Article I makes clear that the Act is only intended for residential rentals and does not cover residents in establishments, buildings or homes when the occupant is there for some transient purpose or is an employee. This would include prisons, dormitories, hotels, sororities or fraternities, domestic employee quarters, nursing homes and the like. It does however apply to boarders.
Article I defines the terms clearly so that when reading the Landlord Tenant Act one knows what is meant by specific and certain terms such as “landlord”, “tenant”, “good faith” and “rent” and what “notice” means specifically in terms of your rental agreement.
Terms and Conditions of a Rental Agreement are also spelled out in Article I. This is where you will find information regarding things like signatures and what constitutes a lease agreement in the absence of signatures and other details.
Article II of the Landlord Tenant Act sets forth the Landlord Obligations and includes all the laws and rules that the landlord must follow. Covered items are rules regarding security deposit, eviction, damages that may be paid or required and contact information.
Duties and obligations also covered are the requirement to repair and maintain the premises and common areas and comply with all building and municipal codes. A landlord is obligated to make sure plumbing, heating, water, and all health and safety issues are attended to regarding the dwelling and property.
Article III of the Landlord Tenant Act sets forth the Tenant Obligations and includes the laws and rules that a tenant must follow. Covered items include the obligation of the tenant to care for the property and dwelling in a manner that complies with safety and health standards, keep the dwelling clean and free of garbage, not being negligent or destructive and so on. Tenant rights are also enumerated regarding access, use and occupancy.
Article IV sets forth remedies for both landlords and tenants that may be imposed by the courts in case of non compliance of the Landlord Tenant Act.
Article V of the Landlord Tenant Act prohibits a landlord from retaliating against a tenant, by raising the rent or withholding services, who has complained to a governmental agency. It is similar to the “whistle blowers” law where employees are protected if they “blow the whistle” on an employer’s violation.
You will find in general that most leases are the same from state to state and property to property. This is because of the Uniform Landlord and Tenant Act. If you are unsure if an action is lawful or not you may want to consult this Act to determine if further legal action should be taken. It can be used as a guide when entering into a lease agreement and a tool for conducting business between tenants and landlords.