Renting a room in a house comes with several advantages. In most cases, they’re easier to qualify even with bad credit and won’t tie you to year-long leases. Also, your live-in landlord may not require a security deposit.
Even so, such arrangements may not have direct protection by State Landlord-Tenant Laws and will mainly fall under the municipality’s protection. Therefore, you must know your tenancy rights to enjoy your stay and protect yourself against unfair landlords. This article looks at your tenancy rights when renting a room in a house. So, what are your rights when you’re renting a room in a house?
The right to a safe and habitable rental space
It’s your right to have a safe and habitable room for yourself and your property. Your landlord has to follow the set health and building codes and always make all the repairs required. Therefore, you’re within your rights to report and demand attention to inadequate sanitation, faulty locks, repairs to heating and electricity installations, and to report the room to the health department for warranting problems.
Right of access
A tenant has the right to access at least the rented room, the bathroom, and in some cases, the kitchen. However, the areas you can access legally should be outlined within the lease or a verbal agreement you’ll have with the landlord.
Right to privacy
Though your live-in landlord has a right to access any room within the house, you have an overriding right to privacy. The landlord must give you a timely notice before they can access your room unless in emergencies.
Unless you don’t meet the minimum tenancy time or forfeited the right by breaking set stipulations, you have a right to a reasonable eviction notice.
Right to security deposit refund
You have a right to a full security deposit refund or reasons for withholding within a specified time since tenancy termination.
Right to a notice to changes of a lease agreement
The landlord can change the lease agreement terms, but you have a right to reasonable notice before they make such changes. Depending on the occupation period, many states cap the notice to minimums of 30 or 60 days, or the terms listed in the lease are followed.
Renters’ Rights in California
Under California Landlord-Tenant Laws, the renters have a right to:
- A safe and habitable house
- Receive their security deposit in full 21 days after vacating the premises. If not, get an explanation for withholding within the 21 days and receipts for repairs charged within 14 days of completion of repairs.
- A reasonable fee for late payment of rent, generally between 5% and 10% of the rent payable
- A 3-day rent or quit notice before being served with an eviction notice in case of rent default and lease agreement violations.
- A 3-day unconditional quit notice for uncorrectable lease violations
- Withhold rent when the landlord fails to meet their obligations and can move out without notice if the house becomes inhabitable. Also, the renter can repair and deduct charges from the rent.
- Fair housing rights
- Sue the landlord for lease agreement violations
- Get a 24-hour written notice before the landlord can access their house unless it’s a true emergency.
- Protection against retaliation from the landlord for the tenant exercising their legal rights
- Mandatory disclosures by the landlord on safety conditions of the house, possible health hazards like lead-based paints, pest infestation, and use of utilities
California Renters Rights Moving Out
A renter in California who wants to move out has a right to:
- Written 24-hour access notice if the landlord wants to show the house to potential renters
- A reasonable vacation notice depending on your duration of stay
- A 48-hour notice for a move-out inspection
- Continue enjoying all the utilities until you move out
Senior Citizen Tenant Rights California
Senior citizen tenants in California share similar rights as other tenants, but the law has emphasized some rights to specifically cover them. For instance, senior citizens have a right to fair housing rights that don’t discriminate against age, familial status, disability, or religion, among other bases. Also, the seniors’ right to a safe and habitable rental unit requires extra effort on the landlord’s side to cater to the seniors’ needs.
For example, the landlord must add extra safety like ramps and handrails on staircases. In addition, the law requires landlords to be gentle when dealing with senior citizens. The law envisions the landlords to be more considerate to the elderly and even help them get new housing in case of evictions.
Renters’ Rights in Florida
Renters in Florida have a right to:
- Private and peaceful possession of the rental unit
- A safe, livable, and healthy house
- be informed in writing of specific violations done to the lease agreement
- be present and defend themselves if sued by their landlord
- A refund of the security deposit 15 days after vacating the house or a written withholding explanation within 30 days
- A reasonable eviction notice
- break the lease under various conditions like harassment by the landlord or personal reasons
Renters’ Rights in Florida for Repairs
A renter in Florida has the following rights when it comes to repairs:
- A right to report damages or causes of discomfort to the landlord for attention
- If the issues aren’t resolved after a 7-day written notice, the renter has a right to withhold rent until the repairs are done
- A right to seek authorization from the court to use the withheld rent to pay for repairs
Renters’ Rights in Texas
Renters in Texas have the right to:
- Peaceful and quiet enjoyment of their tenancy without unwarranted disturbance
- A rental unit that meets the health and safety standards
- Demand repairs and maintenance on the rental unit
- End the lease on various bases like a failure by the landlord to repair or harassment by the landlord
- To fix the house and deduct costs from the rent
- Withhold rent when the landlords don’t meet their obligations after a written notice
- A refund of their security deposit within 30 days of moving out
- A written explanation from the landlord for withholding the security deposit within 30 days of vacation.
- To sue the landlord for violations of the lease agreement
Renters’ Rights in NC (North Carolina)
According to the landlord-tenant laws in NC, a renter has the right to:
- A 10-day notice to either quit or pay the rent before being legally evicted
- A reasonable notice time to leave after the lease period expires
- A refund of the security deposit within 30 days of quitting a rental unit
- Legally end a lease for specific reasons like active military duty calls, landlord harassment, and lease agreement violations
- Fair housing rights
- A safe and livable rental unit
- Privacy and a written 24-hour notice if the landlord wants to access the house for non-urgent reasons
- Have the locks changed if under domestic violence
- Sue the landlord for lease agreement violation and failure to refund the security deposit
Renters’ Rights in GA (Georgia)
A renter in Georgia has the following rights:
- Right to fair housing rights
- A right to a safe, reasonable, non-discriminatory, and habitable rental unit
- A right to reasonable changes to the house to improve security and usability
- A right to agree or disagree to a background check by the landlord
- A right to security deposit refund within a month of moving out
- Right to sue the landlord for lease agreement violations
- A right to privacy and a 24-hour access notice by the landlord unless in emergencies
- A right to reasonable notice to quit under different end-of-tenancy circumstances
Renters’ Rights in PA (Pennsylvania)
Renter’s rights in PA include:
- A right to crucial information disclosure by the landlord
- A right to a rental unit that meets the state’s health and safety standards
- A right to security deposit refund within a month of vacating the house
- If the tenant stays in the same unit for more than two years without violating the lease agreement, they have a right to claim interest on their security deposit from the 25th month of occupancy.
- A right to sue the landlord for lease agreement violation
- A right to 10-day notice of pay or quit for rent default before the landlord can go to court for eviction orders
- A right to withhold rent and “repair and deduct” strategy if the landlord fails in his obligations after written notice time expires.
- A right to privacy and need for notice before the landlord can access the house for non-emergency reasons
- A right to fair housing rights
- In case of uncorrectable lease violations, the renter has a right to 15-day quit notice if their tenancy is less than a year old and 30-day notice for residence older than a year.
Renters’ Rights in Tennessee
And as a renter in Tennessee, you have a right to:
- A clean, peaceful, secure, and livable house
- Disclosure of crucial information by the landlord
- A reasonable eviction notice
- A written warning in case of violation of lease agreement
- Unconditional quit notice of 14 days before being served with an eviction
- Complain about unmet landlord obligations and protection against the landlord retaliation for such complaints
- Fair housing rights as stipulated in the federal laws
- Withhold rent when a landlord fails to meet their responsibilities and repair and deduct the expenses from the rent
- Sue your landlord for violation of your rights
- Get a refund of your security deposit within 30 days of vacating the premises
- Be allowed late rent payment for up to 14 days and 16 days to vacate the premises before you can be served with an eviction
The State Landlord-Tenant Laws protect the renter’s rights even without lease agreements. However, the renter needs to know their rights to be able to enjoy them. This article is a great place to learn about your renter’s rights in different states.