When tenants and landlords disagree, often neither one knows their legal rights. Housing counselor Karen Lockman says the law clarifies what each must do, and what happens when a rental ends.Once a tenant gives 30-days notice in writing that they’re leaving, the landlord has another 30 days to get back the deposit, and must tell in writing if there’s a reason they keep part or all of that money. Lockman’s a counselor with “Home Incorporated,” a private nonprofit agency that offers help to both landlords and tenants with rental housing disputes. It doesn’t give legal advice, but can answer the most common questions. Those main ones are deposits, repairs, access, “clear and present danger,” and eviction for not paying rent. Lockman explains there are few reasons a property owner can throw out a renter with no notice, but under some circumstances they’re entitled to. Clear and present danger is a 3-day notice to leave, if a tenant’s responsible for assault, drugs or any weapon. Lockman says while landlords can check on a renter’s history, the would-be tenant can also check up on the condition of a rental unit. Any city over 15,000 people has a rental code, and will have a renter’s certificate on file. Lockman says you should always do a walk-through with the landlord before renting, because if something breaks, you cannot quit paying rent to get the landlord to fix it. Their website is www.homeincdsm.org.
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