Tenant Law


The lease of the dwellings tends to be the one of the most widely spread contracts. Almost everyone had the opportunity to rent an apartment or bungalow. However, definitely not everyone is aware of the basic rights and responsibilities of the tenants and the landlords as well as of the mechanisms that are launched in case the terms of the contract are breached. Of course, the rules that regulate these matters range a lot depending on the country and state. Yet, the presented paper aims to focus of the general requirements that are applicable within the territory of the USA with the specific reference to the case study in question.


Rights and Responsibilities of the Landlord

Before reflecting on the damages and mitigation in this case, first it is important to discuss the basic rights and obligations of the landlord and tenant.

As to the responsibilities, they are quite clear and exhaustive. The landlord is obliged to maintain the premises in good condition. If the house or apartment is rented, the landlord has to ensure that it has all the necessary living conditions and that all the requirements regarding the safety and hygiene are met. More than that, the tenant is financially obliged to comply with the health, safety and housing rules as well as maintained standards. It should be stressed, nevertheless, that the parties to the contracts enjoy the freedom of contract, which provides that they are empowered to create the rules they are willing to. Therefore, in this case the parties could agree to impose this duty on the landlord or tenant. Nevertheless, due to the lack of the information in regard to this particular issue, it will be presumed that the maintenance of the safety, health, housing and other standards was the responsibility of the landlord.

The landlord is also obliged to not withhold the reasonable supply of the cold or hot water, electricity, fuels etc unless the tenant actually has agreed to pay for these services. The landlord should also avoid the intrusion into tenants private life as well as seizure of the tenants property for the rent default. The landlord also should not interfere with the permissible use of the house or apartment. This duty is believed to be implied covenant of quiet enjoyment.

The landlord also enjoys quite a widespread set of rights. In particular, he is the one who sets the rent; receives the specified amount of money for the use of the rented items; terminate the agreement in case the tenant does not perform the duties specified by the contract. The landlord also receives the charges that might be associated with the property and to be informed of any impairs needed. The landlord is also the one who allows or bans the alteration of the rented property.

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The Rights and Responsibilities of the Tenant

The rights of the tenant are also quite extended. First of all, the tenant enjoys all the rights, except the right to the ownership that the tenant has. Therefore, he might claim the same scope of legal protection as the landlord. Additionally, the tenant has a right to deny the landlord an access to the apartment in case the latter has not informed him in advance about the future visit. The tenants are also allowed to sublet the apartment if it is provided by the agreement.

Secondly, the tenant has the right to habituate home, which means that the landlord should provide the tenant with the dwelling that is suitable for living. The landlord should cover all the expenses that are needed to make to reach that condition. In case the latter, refuses to ensure such conditions, the tenant has the right to terminate the agreement or to suspend the time of rent payment. The tenant also has a right to ask the landlord to make the necessary repair ofthe dwelling. In case of denial, the same consequences as in case of the housing conditions are applicable.

Along with the rights, the tenant also carries a set of the obligations under the lease contract. First of all, he is obliged to pay a rent in a timely manner. The failure to pay the rent might substitute the reason for the termination of the rent agreement. Secondly, the tenant should avoid damaging or wasting of the landlords property. However, the tenant bears no responsibility for the normal wear or tear of the landlords property that is caused due to the habitual use of it. The tenant should also avoid violating the rights of other tenants or neighbors. Additionally, the tenant should follow the reasonable notions coming from the landlord. Otherwise, the latter will have the legal grounds for asking the court to order the eviction of the tenant from the rented property. At the same moment, it should be stressed that the scope of the rights and responsibilities is a matter for debate for the parties to the contract and may be changed by them at the moment of the contract conclusion or any time later under the condition of the mutual agreement of both parties to the alteration of the terms of the contract.

The Rights of the Landlord in the Presented Case

In the presented case the landlord might as well require the termination of the lease agreement and eviction of the tenant. The thing is that the tenant is obliged to avoid the damaging or wasting of the leased property. The damage, yet, has to be differentiated from the normal wear. The latter provides for the damage made to the property due to the ordinary use of it. More than that, the landlord has to prove that the damages were caused intentionally or by the gross negligence of the tenant. In the presented case, the damage that has been incurred as a result of the actions of the tenant cannot substitute the ordinary wear. Therefore, the tenant should compensate the damages. More than that, considering the breach of the contract and tenants failure to perform the duties specified by the contract the landlord has the right to evict the tenant.

The Rights of the Tenant in the Presented Case

As to the options available for Roger, one should stress that they are few. First of all, it should be stressed that there is the common law doctrine named caveat emptor, which provides that once a tenant has signed the lease agreement, he is presumed to agree to accept the apartment as it is. The rule suggest that the tenant has had enough time to see the apartment before and, thus, concluding the contract he agrees to all the conditions of the apartment and not to complain in the future. More than that, the hidden defects have been supposed to be fixed by the tenant. Yet, this doctrine is no longer applicable and nowadays the landlord is directly implied the warranty of habitability which means that the landlord is in breach with the contract in case the conditions of the dwellings are not suitable for living. Most of the states nowadays impose the duty of maintenance and the duty to repair the dwellings on the landlord.

Considering the presented situation and the refusal of the landlord to fix the roof as well as the deceiving of the tenant regarding the state of the roof, Roger might assert on the breach of the contract and the duties of the landlord. In such a situation he has three options to choose: the termination of the agreement, the rent or damages adjustment. Under the circumstances the tenant has every right to breach the lease agreement. At the same time, the tenant might consider the compensation of the damages that have been caused due to the roof leak. The costs for the repair together with the compensation for the direct damages could be awarded for the tenant. In case the lease will be terminated, Roger might also claim the compensation for the relocation, expenses related to the finding of the new premises etc. However, it should be stressed that the damages might be compensated in case the tenant has taken the steps to mitigate the loss. In tis case, the tenant has informed the landlord of the need to repair the roof. In the recent times, the legal experts have considered the rent adjustments as the tools for the influencing the landlords. It is considered that the tenant and the landlords have mutual obligations. Thus, the tenant might temporarily suspend the fulfillment of his duties until the landlord will perform his duties.

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In conclusion, it should be stressed that both tenant and the landlord are subjects to the variety of the rights and duties under the lease agreement. In this case, however, both parties have violated the contract as both of them failed to perform their duties specified by the lease agreement. Considering this, the landlord and tenant can seek the compensation in the court: the landlord can claim the compensation for the damaged property while the tenant can claim the compensation for the damage f his belongings by the leak in the roof that was not removed by the landlord in a timely manner. More than that, both parties can demand the termination of the agreement. The landlord can ask the court to award the decision legalizing the eviction of the tenant due to the breach of the contract.

Jan 18, 2021 in Law
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