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Landlords and various lease types are addressed in tenancy law. It could be a short- or long-term deal. Tenants typically pay rent for the time before moving in. However, some situations call for a brief stay, such as in motels or apartments. In order to supplement the current terms and conditions between landlord and tenants, a tenant may include terms and conditions that vary from those in this act. These terms address matters like rent, the length of the contract, and other duties pertaining to the two parties' agreement. In this paper is a discussion on legal rights and responsibilities of tenant and landlords and consequences of the breach of contract in a case study involving Larry who is a landlord and Rodgers the tenant.
The government of America provides basic rules and regulations in absence of terms and conditions contract between the landlord and the tenant. The first requirement is for the tenant to pay a fair value for the use of premises based on the value of the property and the average rental price of such property in such a place at that time. Secondly, the rent should be paid without notice from the landlord based on the agreement between the landlord and the tenant. The rent should be paid at the beginning of every period or month depending on the agreement between the landlord and the tenant. The rent should be equally distributed in the days of the period that has been paid.
According to Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenants Act, a landlord is bound by six terms and conditions with respect to maintenance of the rental property. First, the landlord must comply with the requirements of the housing and building code that affect health and safety. The landlord must maintain the house in a habitable condition through repairs whenever there is any damage on the premises. In addition, the landlord must provide waste, ash, garbage and rubbish collection and removal. The fifth condition stipulates that the landlord should provide proper maintenance of all systems under his or her own care such as the lift, sewerage system, the electrical facilities and cleanliness of shared or common facilities.
The landlord has an obligation to ensure a steady supply of adequate amounts of hot and cold water. Landlords must supply adequate heat between 1 October and 1 May. The law exempt landlords with buildings that have insulation against the external temperature, a building that receives water supply from external party and whereby the building is put into a use that exclude the need for hot water system from the need to supply adequate hot water. A tenant may undertake some are all of the maintenance duties only if there is good will between the two parties involved. There must be a separate written agreement of the maintenance performed by the tenant. There is a limitation of liability by the manager in cases where the manager has given the tenant a notice of the termination of his or her managerial contract. Limited liability in this act also occurs when a landlord notifies a tenant of a sale of land to the bona fide purchaser.
The tenant has a responsibility to comply with rules and regulations imposed on the tenants by the provisions of housing in relation to minimum health and safety requirements. The tenant should maintain the building clean and hygienic according to recommended standards. In addition, ash, garbage, and rubbish should be disposed of safely. The tenant should maintain sewerage and plumbing system in a clean clear condition. The tenant should ensure optimal and careful use of the facilities provided by the tenant such as lift, electric facilities, plumbing, heating and many other facilities provided and maintained by the landlord.
The tenant should avoid damage to any part of the building intentionally or due to negligence. He or she should discourage the same by a third party. The tenant, as well as his guests should conduct themselves in a manner that has minimal interference on their neighbor as per to the enjoyment of their property. The rule adopted by the landlord for the use of his or her own property by the tenants is limited to the following conditions. It should ensure equitable use of shared facilities, enhance tenant’s safety and health or preserve the use of the landlord’s property.
The rule should be clear on the limitations, directions or prohibition on what the tenant must do or avoid. Moreover, the landlord must ensure the law is applied equally to all the tenants. Moreover, new rules should be consistent with tenancy laws and should ensure that the landlord performs his or her duties as required by law. The rule should be enacted before the tenancy agreement and the tenant must be notified of the same. If it is made after the tenancy agreement, then the landlord must present the tenant with a written document that must bear the signature of the tenant.
A landlord can access the building at any time in order to inspect, perform repairs or perform decorations. The landlord can enter the building during an emergency without tenant’s approval. However, the landlord should avoid harassing the client at any time he or she accesses the property without approval. Unless during an emergency, the landlord should serve the tenant with a two days’ notice of his or her intent to enter the dwelling of the tenant during reasonable hours. In other cases, the landlord may enter the premises only in pursuant to the court order, when the tenant has abandoned the building and as permitted by section 4.202 or 4.203 (b). Tenant must occupy the house as a dwelling unit and notify the landlord of his or her absence in excess of seven days, latest on the first day that he or she is absent.
There are many remedies for noncompliance of both the landlord and the tenant. If there is substantial damage that poses risk to health and safety of the tenant or any material issue addressed in this article, then the tenant is supposed to write a notice to the landlord stating the same. Failure to remedy the problem results in termination of the rental agreement at least thirty days after the landlord receives the written notice. The rental agreement remains valid if the breach is remedied before the day indicated in the notice or the damage was caused by the negligence of the tenant, his or her family or a person within dwellings by tenant’s acceptance. Except for the above cases, a tenant may recover actual damages. This can be done by obtaining injunctive relief for noncompliance by the landlord. The landlord shall return security recoverable and prepaid rent by the tenant once the rental agreement is terminated.
Failure of the landlord to deliver possession of the dwelling unit results in termination of rental contract within five days written notice from the landlord upon whom all prepaid rent is returned. If the tenant recover possession of the dwellings and the process is contrary to an act of good faith, then the aggrieved person may recover 3-month rent or damages, whichever is greater. Rodgers can use remedy in this chapter after forceful eviction from his dwellings by Larry on finding out the damage the bat had caused on the wall.
The tenant can perform a repair at the cost of the property owner if the cost is equal to half the cost of rent or $100, whichever is greater. The tenant can therefore claim for damages or write a notice to the landlord after which the tenant can deduct the equivalent amount from the periodic rent (OECD EPL database, 2013). A tenant has no right to repair at the cost of the landlord if the damage is a result of by negligence or if it was intentional. In the case of Rodger and Larry, Rodger could have opted to do the repairs on the leaking roof and inform Larry of the repairs performed and sought the remedies evident in this paragraph.
In defense to non-compliance whereby the tenant is in possession, the court may order the tenant to pay all the accrued rent then decide how the cost is distributed between the landlord and the tenant. In respect to possession, Larry has no legal advantage since he has reposed the dwelling from Rodgers. Since the building is partially habitable, Rodgers, the tenant can vacate the dwelling immediately and notify the Larry in writing within 14 days or move to habitable part if continued occupancy is lawful. The inhabitable and unsafe conditions of the dwelling result in termination of the rental agreement, then, Larry must return recoverable security. Apportionment of prepaid rent takes place as of date of casualty. Larry has claim for possession on termination of rental agreement. In addition, he can claim for rent and actual damages. The damages are because of breach of rental agreement. Finally, Larry has an opportunity to claim for reasonable amount of the attorney’s fee.
In conclusion, both Larry and Rodgers had opportunities to defend themselves but then they ended up making their conditions worse. Rodgers had a good use of his dwelling and never disturbed his neighbor. Using the bucket to mitigate the effect of initial leaking is equally commendable. However, Rodgers was supposed to send Larry a written notice either on the day of the first leakage or when paying the rent of a particular month. Larry had a second option of doing the repairs and deducting the same from the rent of the following month after informing Larry. In case of a breach of tenancy, agreement then Rodgers could seek legal help whereby the court will charge Larry for damages. Rodgers can press for charges based on Larry’s comment that “when it rains it pours a little”. This is a contrast to Larry’s first statement at the time of making the tenancy agreement whereby Larry insisted on the existence of the good state of the roof. Larry could also have avoided the conflict with Rodgers by writing a contract to delegate minor repairs to Rodgers in order to ensure comfortable stay of Rodgers in the dwellings. Larry could also perform the required maintenance within fourteen days notification by Rodgers. Rodgers breached his duty to use the dwelling by due care and Larry can sue him for negligence of care. On contrary, the forceful eviction of Rodger amounts to harassment and is illegal under tenancy Act.
National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, (1972). Uniform Residential Land and Tenant Act. Retrieved on August, 31, 2017http://www.uniformlaws.org/ shared/doc s/residential%20landlord%20and%20tenant/urlta%201974.pdf
MacMillan, C., & Stone, R.,(2012). Elements of the Law of Contract. University of London
Rasmussen, E., (2001). Agency Law and Contract Formation. Harvard Law School. Discussion Paper No. 323.
OECD EPL database (2013)
Tenancy Law, A Practical guide. Retrieved on August, 31, 2017 from http://www.legislature.mi.gov/publications/tenantlandlord.pdf
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