General Tenants Lease Rights

Basic general tenants' lease rights are guaranteed by most states' landlord tenant laws.

Quiet Enjoyment

Tenants have the right to live without disturbance from the landlord or his agents. Landlords must give reasonable notice before entering for inspection or repair, except in case of emergency, and cannot intrude on or dictate the tenant's lifestyle choices or use of the apartment.

Landlords cannot place cameras or listening devices in tenants' apartments. Tenants can sue for invasion of privacy in civil court.

Landlords must attempt to evict nuisance tenants who are engaging in illegal activities. In addition, landlords must try to abate any noise problems caused by other tenants in the same property.

Warrant of Habitability

Landlords must provide a clean home with working heating, plumbing and electricity in good repair and free from lead paint or radon contamination.

If the landlord is negligent, tenants can pay rent into an escrow account. Tenants must sue for court ordered repairs at the same time to avoid eviction.

Renewing the Lease

Most rent-regulated units require landlords to offer a lease renewal with government-approved rent increases. In market rate apartments, rent increases are not regulated and landlords do not have to renew the lease.

Landlords cannot shut off utilities or block use of the premises to force a tenant to move out. This is called "constructive eviction". Tenants should report the landlord to the local housing department if they are being harassed. 


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