Get to know your rights as a tenant
KNOW YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS:
- Landlords don’t get to decide how much to charge you for a security deposit. Deposits are capped at the equivalent of two months rent for an unfurnished apartment, and up to three months rent if the unit comes furnished.
- If your landlord is trying to charge you more, call them on it, but also beware that it could be a sign of shadiness in the future.
- Just because your landlord owns the building doesn’t mean he can traipse into your apartment anytime he wants to. Unless there is an emergency, landlords must provide at least 24 hours notice if they plan to enter your residence.
- Unless it is specified in the original lease, you don’t have to move to another apartment when your original lease runs out. When the term of your original lease is up (most are one-year agreements) your tenancy becomes a month-to-month arrangement with the same terms as stipulated in the original agreement.
- You cannot be evicted for subletting your apartment unless it is specifically prohibited in the original lease. Many landlords do include these prohibitions, so read your lease carefully if you think you might be subletting in the future.
- Your landlord is required to provide adequate heat for the unit, which means your entitled to a balmy 68 degrees in any of the habitable rooms.
- Landlords are required to do routine maintenance to keep the unit habitable. Dire problems, like a sewer backup or heat outage, should be fixed within one or two days. Other problems may take as long as a month to fix. Make sure you record and keep all correspondence between you and your landlord. If the problem persists beyond a month, it’s probably time to call the building inspector.