This is a summary of Montana Landlord-Tenant laws that apply to residential (non-commercial) rentals. These references were compiled from the Montana Code Annotated and various online sources to serve as a reference and for people wanting to learn about Montana landlord-tenant laws, Montana eviction laws, and Montana renters’ rights. 

However, this guide is not comprehensive and PayRent does not warrant the accuracy of this information. Statutes can change any time the state legislature passes a new law. Additionally, counties and cities may have different regulations. Given its limitations, this guide is not an adequate substitute for legal advice from a knowledgeable lawyer.  If you are dealing with a landlord-tenant issue, you seek guidance from a qualified attorney. If you need help finding an attorney, we’ve included a list of attorney referral services in this guide.

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Rules and Regulations Governing Montana Landlord-Tenant Laws

Montana Lease Terms Provisions

Security Deposits

  • What is the maximum allowable security deposit?
    There is no Montana law limiting security deposits.
  • Are security deposits required to earn interest?

No. There is no Montana law requiring security deposits to earn interest.

  • Do landlords need to store security deposits in a separate bank account? 

No. There is no Montana law requiring security deposits to be stored in a separate bank account.

  • Are non-refundable fees, such as pet fees, prohibited?

Yes A fee or charge for cleaning and damages, no matter how designated, is presumed to be a security deposit. (Mont. Ann. Code §70-25-101(4))

  • How long do landlords have to return security deposits?

10 days, if there are no deductions. (Mont. Ann. Code §70-25-202(2))

  • Can landlords withhold security deposits?

Yes. Landlords can use the deposit to cover damages to the premises, cleaning, unpaid rent, and unpaid utilities.  (Mont. Ann. Code §70-25-202(1))

  • Are landlords required to itemize damages and fees deducted from security deposits?

Yes. The landlord must provide the departing tenant with a written list of any rent due and any damage and cleaning charges within 30 days, along with the remainder of the deposit. (Mont. Ann. Code §70-25-202(1))

  • Do landlords have to issue receipts upon receiving security deposits?

No. There is no Montana law requiring landlords to issue receipts for security deposits.

  • Are there any specific requirements for record-keeping for deposit withholdings?

No. There is no Montana law specifying record-keeping requirements.

  • What happens when a landlord does not return a security deposit within the required timeframe?

If a landlord does not provide the departing tenant with a written list of damage and cleaning charges, the landlord forfeits all rights to withhold any portion of the security deposit for the damages or cleaning charges. (Mont. Ann. Code §70-25-203)

Rent

  • Is there a cap on how much landlords can charge for rent? (rent control) 

No. There are no rent control laws in Montana.

  • When is rent due?

Rent is due at the time and place agreed upon by the landlord and tenant. Unless they agree to a different arrangement, rent is due at the beginning of the month and will be paid in equal monthly installments. (Mont. Ann. Code §70-24-201(2))

  • Does rent need to be paid using a certain method of payment?

Rent is payable at the landlord’s address or using electronic funds transfer to an account designated for the payment of rent by the landlord.  (Mont. Ann. Code §70-24-201(2)(b))

Fees

  • Can landlords charge late fees when rent is late?

Yes. There is no Montana law forbidding late fees or limiting the amount that landlords can charge.

  • Do landlords have to allow for a grace period for paying rent before charging late fees?

No. There is no Montana law requiring a grace period before assessing late fees. 

  • Can landlords charge application fees?

Yes. There is no Montana law forbidding application fees or limiting the amount that landlords can charge.

  • Can landlords charge returned check fees?

Yes. Landlords can charge a late fee up to $30. (Mont. Ann. Code §27-1-717)

Montana Landlord-Tenant Relations

Notices

  • Are landlords required to provide tenants with notice of rent increases between lease terms?

No. There is no Montana law requiring landlords to provide tenants with notice of rent increases between lease terms. However, landlords cannot raise your rent in the middle of your lease.

  • Are landlords required to provide tenants with notice of pesticide use on the property?

No. There is no Montana law requiring landlords to provide tenants with notice of pesticide use on the rental property.

  • What notice is required to terminate a fixed-end lease?

No notice is required — the lease ends on the date stated in the lease.

  • What notice is required to terminate a week-to-week periodic tenancy?

Either the landlord or the tenant can terminate the tenancy with 7 days written notice. (Mont. Ann. Code §70-24-441(1))

  • What notice is required to terminate a month-to-month periodic tenancy?

Either the landlord or the tenant can terminate the tenancy with 30 days written notice.  (Mont. Ann. Code §70-24-441(2))

  • Is notice of the date and time of the move out inspection required?

The premises may be inspected within 1 week before termination of the tenancy at the request of either party, (Mont. Ann. Code §70-25-201(2))

Entry Provisions

  • When can landlords enter the rental premises with notice?
    • To inspect the premises. 
    • To make necessary or agreed to repairs, decorations, alterations, or improvements.
    • To supply necessary or agreed services. 
    • To show the unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workers, or contractors. (Mont. Ann. Code §70-24-312(1))
  • What notice must a landlord give a tenant before entering the rental unit?

The landlord must provide at least 24 hours’ notice and may enter only at reasonable times. (Mont. Ann. Code §70-24-312(3))

  • When can landlords enter the rental premises without providing notice to their tenants?
    • In case of an emergency.
    • Under court order.
    • When the tenant has abandoned or surrendered the premises.
  • When the tenant has been absent from the property for more than 7 days without notice.
  • To make repairs to conditions materially affecting health and safety and caused by the tenants’ failure to comply with their duties (see Tenant’s Duties). (Mont. Ann. Code §70-24-312(4))

Landlord’s Duties (Mont. Ann. Code §70-24-303(1))

  • Landlords must comply with applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety.
  • Landlords must not knowingly allow any tenant or other person to engage in any activity on the premises that creates a reasonable potential that the premises may be damaged or destroyed or that neighboring tenants may be injured.
  • Landlords must make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a habitable condition.
  • Landlords must keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition.
  • Landlords must maintain in good and safe working order all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or required to be supplied by the landlord.
  • Landlords must provide and maintain appropriate receptacles for the removal of garbage and arrange for their removal unless otherwise provided in the rental agreement.
  • Landlords must supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times and reasonable heat between October 1 and May 1.
  • Landlords provide and maintain locks and furnish keys reasonably adequate to ensure safety to the tenant’s person and property if requested by the tenant.
  • Landlords must provide and maintain smoke detection devices and carbon monoxide detection devices. 

Tenant’s Duties (Mont. Ann. Code §70-24-321)

  • Tenants must comply with all obligations imposed upon tenants by building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety.
  • Tenants must keep that part of the premises that the tenant occupies and uses as clean and safe as the condition of the premises permits.
  • Tenants must dispose of all ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other waste cleanly and safely.
  • Tenants must keep all plumbing fixtures as clean as their condition permits.
  • Tenants must use all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other facilities and appliances including elevators in the premises in a reasonable manner;
  • Tenants must not destroy, deface, damage, impair, or remove any part of the premises or permit any person to do so.
  • Tenants and their guests must conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb the neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises.
  • Tenants must use the parts of the premises, including the living room, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and dining room, reasonably, considering the purposes for which they were designed and intended. 
  • Tenants must not engage or knowingly allow any person to engage in any activity on the premises that creates a reasonable potential that the premises may be damaged or destroyed or that neighboring tenants may be injured.

Required Landlord Disclosures

  • Landlords are required to disclose in writing the names and business addresses of: 
    • the person authorized to manage the premises.
    • the owner of the premises or a person authorized to act for and on behalf of the owner for service of process and receiving notices.  (Mont. Ann. Code §70-24-301(1))
  • Landlords must disclose all known lead paint hazards. Landlords must also provide tenants, as an attachment to a written lease, with an information pamphlet on lead-based paint hazards.

Montana Renters’ Rights

  • What are Montana renters’ rights if landlords breach their duties? (See Landlord’s Duties)

If a landlord’s failure to comply with the rental agreement or their legal duties materially affects health and safety, the renter may deliver a written notice to the landlord identifying the issue(s). If the landlord does not remedy the breach within 14 days of receiving notice, the tenant may terminate the rental agreement after 30 days.  (Mont. Ann. Code §70-24-406(1)(a))

  • Are tenants allowed to withhold rent for needed repairs or other breaches of their landlords’ duties?

Yes. If a landlord’s failure to comply with the rental agreement or their legal duties materially affects health and safety, the tenant may make repairs that do not cost more than 1 month’s rent and deduct the cost from the rent if the tenant has given the landlord notice and the landlord has not made the repairs within a reasonable time.  (Mont. Ann. Code §70-24-406(1)(b))

  • What are the protections for tenants against retaliation from their landlords for exercising their Montana renter’s rights?

Montana law prohibits landlords from increasing rent, decreasing services, or bringing or threatening to bring an action for possession if the tenant has complained to a governmental agency, complained to the landlord about a breach of landlord’s duties, or if the tenant becomes a member of a tenant’s union or similar organization.  (Mont. Ann. Code §70-24-431(1))

Montana Eviction Laws

  • What notice do Montana eviction laws require that landlords provide tenants before starting the eviction process?
    • For evictions based on non-payment of rent, unauthorized pets or people, and excessive property damage, the landlord must give a 3-day notice to remedy the breach before starting the eviction process. (Mont. Ann. Code §70-24-422)
  • For evictions based on other lease violations or a breach in the tenant’s duties, the landlord must give a 3-day notice to remedy the breach before starting the eviction process. (Mont. Ann. Code §70-24-422(1)(d))
  • For evictions based on illegal activity, landlords must give a 73day notice of termination of the lease before starting the eviction process. Landlords do not have to permit the tenant to cure these types of breaches. (Mont. Ann. Code §70-24-422(4))
  • For evictions based on a holdover tenancy, landlords must provide the notice required to end the tenancy. If the tenant remains on the rental property after the termination date, the landlord can begin the eviction process without providing additional notice.  (Mont. Ann. Code §70-24-429(1))
  • Do Montana eviction laws allow landlords to use “self-help eviction” methods, such as locking a tenant out of the rental unit or shutting off the utilities? 

No. Montana law prohibits self-help evictions. (Mont. Ann. Code §70-24-428)

COVID-19 Changes to Montana Landlord-Tenant Laws

  • The CDC has passed a national eviction ban through December 31, 2020, that prohibits landlords from evicting tenants  who meet the following criteria for nonpayment:
    • Have used their best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent.
    • Expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return).
    • Are unable to pay their full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of income or employment, or extraordinary medical bills.
    • If evicted, will have no other housing options.
  • The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act requires landlords to provide a 30-day notice to tenants before eviction. However, the CARES Act only applies to properties that are supported by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), or the United States Treasury (Low Income Housing Tax Credit), and properties with federally-backed mortgages, such as FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.
  • Montana issued temporary protections for renters in an executive order that protects renters from eviction if they fulfill three conditions: having suffered a significant financial hardship, have remained sheltered in the dwelling, and if they or someone in the dwelling have at least one of a list of medical conditions.

Related Links

Government 

Legal Aid

Attorney Referral Services

Realtor and Landlord-Tenant Associations

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