Local Landlord Laws

Landlords across the country often have many similar experiences when it comes to renting their property to tenants. No matter where the property is and what type of housing it might be, all landlords are responsible for some level of property maintenance, tenant communication, and rent collection. However, there are many ways in which the experience of landlords differs based on where they own their property. There are many different types of local landlord laws that pertain to the activities of landlords and renters, and the specific stipulations around them will vary from state to state and in some cases, county to county or city to city.

How Local Landlord Laws Vary from State to State

States can be considered more landlord-friendly or tenant-friendly based on which party they tend to favor in their local landlord laws. Let’s take a look at a few of the most important local landlord laws and how they can change depending on where your property is located.

Rent Increases

Landlords are responsible for determining and setting a rent price for their property that they deem fair to them as well as their tenants, and this rate is usually based on the property’s features as well as rates for similar properties nearby. 

However, there are legal limits on how much landlords can increase their rent prices from year to year. These limits generally set a maximum percentage of the rent increase per year, with local inflation rates added to that percentage.

Security Deposits

Security deposits are an important safeguard for landlords to ensure the continuing safety and quality of their property. However, landlords aren’t allowed free choice in the amount they set for their security deposits. There are a few rules in place.

The type of property affects a security deposit. The legal limit on security deposits can change based on whether the property is an unfurnished residential property, a furnished property, or a commercial property. 

Most states allow landlords to charge up to two or three times the rent in a security deposit for a standard home rental. Additionally, each state will stipulate the time period in which landlords must return the security deposit amount to their tenants upon moveout.

Landlord Access

Though a landlord may be the legal owner of a property, they aren’t allowed to come and go as they please if a tenant is currently living there.

State laws will outline under what circumstances landlords are allowed to enter the property, and in many states, landlords are required to give 24-hour notice before they arrive on the premises. Local landlord laws around notice of entry will generally be waived in the case of an emergency.

Late Fees

In most places, landlords are allowed to charge late fees when tenants fail to pay rent on time. While some states leave it up to the landlord to allow a grace period for late rent, it’s generally not a requirement, and landlords can choose not to allow a grace period. 

Generally, late fees must approximately equal the landlord’s projected sunk costs due to the late rent payment.

Where Can I Learn More About My Local Landlord Laws?

There are many incredible online sources that provide a wealth of information surrounding the local landlord laws in a variety of states, counties, and cities. You could also contact a lawyer in your area specializing in landlord and tenant rights to receive a more detailed explanation of local property rental regulations.

Do Any Local Landlord Laws Apply at the Federal Level?

Most laws that are designed to cover landlord-tenant relationships are written on a state-to-state basis based on local needs and customs. However, some stipulations extend to every state, including the Fair Housing Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. 

The Fair Housing Act is a law that was designed to protect renters in all 50 states from discrimination at the hands of landlords. According to the Fair Housing Act, landlords cannot let their tenant decisions be affected by gender, disability, race, or heritage. 

The Fair Credit Reporting Act, or the FCRA, regulates the collection, use, and sharing of consumer credit data by credit reporting agencies. This helps to ensure that credit information is as accurate and fair as possible, which is a crucial detail in the property rental process.

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PayRent is on a mission to build a rent collection app that fosters a positive and productive relationship between renters and landlords. We focus less on transactions and more on the people behind them.

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