LANDLORD / TENANT
Renting With a Written Lease
When two parties enter into a landlord-tenant relationship with a written lease, the tenancy is governed by the terms of the lease. This lease must be written in clear, plain language and divided into captioned sections. Upon termination of the lease period, the landlord has the option of increasing the rental price (unless the property is subject to rent stabilization or rent control). Furthermore, if the tenant remains on the property upon the termination of the lease (known as a “holdover tenant”), the landlord can either (a) evict the tenant or (b) maintain the relationship as a “month-to-month” tenancy.
Renting Without a Written Lease
When two parties enter into a landlord-tenant relationship without a written lease, this arrangement is known as a “month-to-month tenancy.” In this type of tenancy, the tenant continues to maintain possession of the property for monthly periods, beginning on a specific calendar day. To terminate, either the Landlord or Tenant must give notice at least 1 month’s notice to the other. A Landlord must give stop accepting rent, after he/she gives such notice.
Condition of the Apartment (Warranty of Habitability)
A landlord must maintain all apartments and areas in a condition fit for living and not dangerous to the life, health, or safety of the tenant. The landlord will be held liable, even if the landlord is not at fault, unless the violation is the result of the conduct of the tenant, or the tenant’s guest. If the warranty is violated, the tenant may withhold payment of rent until the condition is repaired or may force the landlord to make repairs.
Once the lease period has expired, if the tenant fails to vacate the premises, the landlord may bring an action for eviction. If the tenant is a “month-to-month” tenant, the landlord must give one calendar month’s written notice to the tenant – a Notice to Vacate.
A tenant who fails to pay rent, or violates the lease, may be evicted, but only after the landlord obtains a court order. The process of eviction begins with personal service on the tenant of a Petition and Notice of Petition. There are possible defenses that a tenant may raise that will give the tenant protection from eviction, or payment of damages. If the tenant does not respond to the Petition, or the court finds in favor of the landlord, the tenant will be served with a warrant signed by the judge, giving the tenant 3 days to vacate the premises. If the tenant fails or refuses to vacate the premises, the sheriff may remove the tenants’ property and lock him or her out of the apartment.