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Landlord-Tenant Law

The modern law of landlord and tenant has historical roots dating to medieval England.  Today in the U.S. landlord-tenant law is governed primarily by state law.  The law differs widely from one jurisdiction to another.

Federal law also may play a role.  Federal fair housing laws apply nation-wide.  Usually there are state and local fair housing laws that may amend the federal law with additional protections and requirements.  Also, federal law concerning lead based paint applies to residential tenancies.  Some tenants may receive Section 8 voucher benefits which are regulated by federal law.

Different laws usually apply to commercial tenancies as opposed to residential tenancies.  In some jurisdictions there are laws specific to other types of tenancies, such as mobile home lots.

Though there is a great variation in landlord-tenant law there have been some attempts at more uniformity, most notably the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.  Even so, the various states that have adopted the URLTA have often amended it upon and/or after adoption.  Also, the courts in these states may not interpret the URLTA consistently.