Rights & Responsibilities of Landlords & Tenants

When you become a tenant, you owe certain duties to your landlord, such as the duty to pay rent. Your landlord owes you certain obligations too, such as the duty to deliver the apartment to you and to maintain it in safe, clean and livable condition. Your landlord must make sure the apartment has heat and hot water on a regular basis. If the apartment is a dwelling building that has more than three units, there are additional obligations that apply. Your landlord also must keep the common areas of the building clean and safe. Lastly, it is against the law for your landlord to discriminate against you, harass you, repeatedly ask you to move out or retaliate against you for enforcing your rights under the law.

If you have a lease, many of these rights and duties will be covered by the lease. However, even if you do not have a lease, you are protected by local, state, and federal laws.

Legal Editor: David Kaminsky, December 2014 (updated August 2020)

Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service with the help and assistance of volunteer legal editors, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or to substitute for the advice of a lawyer.

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