Tenants: Know Your Rights and Duties

· So you can deal with your landlord

· So you will know as much as your landlord

· So you can protect your own rights

· So you will know when to see a lawyer


Landlords often act as if they know all the laws.  If you have a lease, the landlord probably wrote it. If something goes wrong with your rental unit, the landlord might not fix it.  If you do not pay your rent on time, the landlord may try to evict you. You might think your landlord has all the rights and you have none.

YOU HAVE RIGHTS, TOO.  If you know what they are, you can protect yourself and your family.

Read this handbook to learn about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. Knowing your rights will help you in dealing with your landlord or if you go to court.

The law has limits.  It protects you from unfair treatment by your landlord and requires the landlord to meet all health and safety codes, but it does not force your landlord to improve every housing condition.  If you and your landlord tell a court different stories about a dispute, the court may believe your landlord. It’s important to make photocopies, take pictures and have witnesses.

This booklet is meant to give you general information and not to give you specific legal advice. If you have specific questions, talk to someone who can give you legal advice specific to your situation. Contact a private lawyer, social service agencies (see Section 10) or Legal Aid.