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Real Estate Leases


11. Establishing Rights & Obligations

Maintenance: As a landlord, it is your legal responsibility to keep the rental unit in good repair. This means the premises must be safe, sanitary and habitable. Habitability includes livable conditions, such as working doors, faucets, toilets and heaters. In other words, the rental unit must remain comfortable to live in. As a landlord, it is also your responsibility to care for common areas, including stairwells, hallways, laundry rooms and walkways.

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Entry into the Unit: Depending on your state, a landlord may enter a leased unit under certain situations. For example, some states allow you to enter in emergency circumstances for necessary repairs or to show the unit to prospective renters. Some states may also require you to provide 24 to 48 hours notice before entering the unit. Other states allow same-day notice or no notice at all. Check your specific state laws to learn the notification procedure required to enter a rental unit.

Abandonment: Legally, the term abandonment refers to a tenant moving out of a rental unit, although it is often specifically used to describe situations in which the tenant leaves before the lease officially ends. In other words, the tenant has abandoned his or her obligations under the lease agreement. As a landlord, you should always prepare for tenant abandonment by clearly stating the rules up front in the lease agreement.

Generally, if a tenant abandons a rental unit before the lease expires, you are entitled to enter the property and re-lease it. Abandonment laws also determine when you can dispose of any property left in the unit.

 
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