Know Your Rights as a Tenant
Many people in Nashville are renters, but far too many of them don’t understand their rights in housing situations. Much of the time, the market leans in favor of landlords, but it’s important to remember that no matter how competitive housing may become, renters have legal protections too. Landlord-tenant disputes are common these days, and can arise over anything from pets to property damage, so it’s a good idea to know your rights ahead of time.
Both parties have their own responsibilities, which are typically outlined in the lease agreement. However, many of these legal documents are lengthy and complicated, and may be designed to confuse renters. This is one reason why consulting a tenant’s rights attorney in Nashville may be a smart move, before you ever sign on the dotted line. While some renters may have to settle for what they can afford in today’s marketplace, there are certain things that should never be up for negotiation.
Here are some of the basic rights that tenants have:
- Nondiscrimination: Under Federal housing laws, and many state laws as well, landlords are not allowed to deny housing based upon things like race, gender, religion, national origin, or ethnicity. There are several protected classes under the Fair Housing Act, so if you suspect that you are being discriminated against, reach out to an attorney.
- Habitable home: As a renter, you have the right to a home that is safe and reasonably fit to live in. This typically includes freedom from things like major rodent or insect infestation, environmental toxins, bad wiring, lack of running water/basic hygiene, and other essentials. Some landlords may try to include lease language to “waive” this right, so beware.
- Reasonable privacy: No matter your unique living situation, your landlord should not have the right to barge into your space whenever they wish. You should expect a reasonable level of privacy, even if they need to enter your home at times for maintenance, which should come with advanced notice. You also have the right to reasonable privacy when applying for housing, with only the basic background check being run by the landlord.
- Legal counsel: All renters have the right to consult with an attorney, and to hire legal representation if needed. To best protect yourself, you may want to speak with a lawyer before signing a lease. And if you find yourself involved in a dispute over your housing situation, you have legal options for mediation, negotiation, or litigation, depending on your circumstances.
Want to learn more about your rights as a renter in Nashville? Reach out to us at Lackey | McDonald, PLLC today, and ask for your free consultation.