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 plays 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.
A tenant who responds to a summons and complaint has appeared in the eviction action and is entitled to notice. Victory by default is no longer possible and the landlord must set a hearing in order to evict the tenant. Though courts have held phone calls to an attorney constitute an appearance, there has been […]
New Mold Disclosure Requirement A new law went into effect July 24, 2005 that requires Washington landlords to make disclosures to all tenants regarding potential health hazards of mold. The legislature found that “residents of the state face preventable exposures to mold” and that such exposure has “been found to have adverse health effects”. The […]
A recently enacted law requires all plaintiffs, including landlords, to provide evidence that defendants, including tenants, are not in military service before taking a default judgment. This affects virtually all civil actions, including evictions. Alternatively, the landlord may submit a declaration establishing that the landlord has no knowledge as to whether the tenant is […]