Landlord-tenant law is a portion of the common law obligations and that details the rights of landlords and tenants. It includes components of both real property law (especially conveyances) and contract law.
Residential and commercial leases
Landlord-tenant law generally understands differences between residential and commercial leases on the assumption that residential leases present considerably more of a risk of unequal bargaining power.
The modern theory of landlord-tenant law comprises duties beyond easy conveyancing of the lease:
Obligation to deliver possession
In England and as stated by the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act the landlord has a responsibility to deliver possession to the tenant at the beginning of a lease. The reason for putting this burden is the notion that the landlord has more resources than the new tenants to pursue legal remedies (former tenants that will not give up possession).
By virtue of the contractual aspects of a lease, modern leases comprise an implied covenant of quiet enjoyment. It follows the landlord won’t interfere to the lease with the tenant’s possessory rights.
Landlord-tenant law additionally contains protections for tenants:
In an action for outstanding rent a tenant can offer constructive eviction as an affirmative defense. A constructive eviction means that the renter isn’t any longer capable to inhabit the lease, but that the tenant wasn’t evicted by the landlord.
Breach of covenant
Leases include dependent covenants – if the landlord fails to perform their duties, the tenant will be relieved of paying rent. The infraction of these covenants can serve as an affirmative defense by the renter in an action for eviction or outstanding rent. These covenants include the warrant of habitability (keeping the premises habitable) and the covenant to repair (requiring the landlord to repair damage to the premises). In American law, the warrant of habitability was established by the D.C. Circuit case Javins v. First National Realty Corp.
A landlord cannot evict a tenant in retaliation for reporting safety and health code violations. A tenant can use retaliatory eviction as a cause of action against a landlord so when both an affirmative defense against an eviction.
Renters even have duties attached for their possessory interests:
Obligation to maintain the premises
Leases usually contain a small covenant to repair for the renters, and this basically equates to refraining from committing waste.
Duty to manage
In commercial leases, an obligation to run may be composed into the lease. This indicates a commercial renter cannot leave a rented property empty without managing the business that the lease was made. A duty to operate will not exist unless written into the lease or obviously in line with the objective of the lease.
Duty to pay rent
A tenant’s duty to pay rent was traditionally thought of as an independent covenant, meaning the tenant was required to pay rent irrespective of whether the landlord executed their obligations of performance. Now the duty of a tenant to pay rent is regarded as a reliant covenant, and the renter can be freed from the duty to pay lease if the landlord breaches the covenant of habitability of repair or warranty.
Landlords also provide a variety of remedies that are accessible to recover claim or possession unpaid rent:
Before statutory eviction processes, landlords could use the common-law remedy of forfeiture to reclaim possession of a lease. Adding a condition subsequent to the lease’s details usually achieved forfeiture.
Landlord self help remedies contain forcible entry and physical removal of the tenant, and demand no governmental intervention or legal procedure. Self help remedies are restricted by forcible entry and detainer (FED) statutes.
Landlords may also recover pecuniary damages for unpaid rent, state statutes dictate and the processes of getting the amount that can be obtained and the rent.