Tenant Law in Montana
Relationships between landlords and tenants in Bozeman, Montana can get combative. It's difficult to be a tenant or a landlord. If one or both parties are not aware of their legal rights and obligations, conflicts can arise.
Landlords and tenants have various rights and responsibilities. What follows is a partial list of the rights that landlords and tenants have, and the corresponding duties of the other party.
Landlord's Rights in Bozeman, MT
Most obviously, landlords have a right to collect rent from their tenants. When a tenant agrees to pay a landlord a specific amount of money for the right to occupy the landlord's property, a contract is formed. Tenants have to hold up their end of the deal.
Additionally, landlords have a right to be compensated for damage a tenant causes to a rented unit, either intentionally or negligently. Landlords have a right to deduct repair costs from tenants' security deposits, unless the damage was caused by usual wear and tear, for which tenants are not responsible.
Tenant's Rights in Bozeman, MT
The most basic right of a tenant is the right to a living space that's fit for human habitation. This is, after all, what they're paying the landlord to present. Landlords in Bozeman, Montana are under a legal duty to make sure that their apartments are habitable. There are numerous factors that are considered in deciding if an unit is habitable or not, but, generally, an unit will not be deemed habitable if it lacks any of the following: running water, electricity, heat, and protection from the elements (such as proper insulation, and windows that close).
Tenants also have a right to ensure that the common areas of their apartment building are reasonably safe. Landlords are required to make sure that the common areas of their buildings meet Bozeman, Montana's building codes, and that there are no conditions that create unnecessary safety hazards. They are obligated to make, at their own expense, the proper repairs.
Tenants also have rights, under federal and Montana law, to not be victims of racial, ethnic, or gender discrimination in housing, whether they are renting or buying. Moreover, landlords are not allowed to discriminate against tenants based on physical disabilities. They must also allow physically-disabled tenants to make reasonable modifications to the apartment to make it more accessible. Nonetheless, the landlord can require tenants to remove those modifications and restore the property to its original condition once the tenant moves out.
And lastly, most state laws prevent landlords from arbitrarily evicting tenants. If the lease agreement is for a set period of time, the landlord usually can't evict the tenant until the lease expires, without a good reason. Valid causes for eviction include unpaid rent, illegal activities on the property, damage to the building caused by the tenant, and excessive noise.
Can a Bozeman, Montana Landlord/Tenant Lawyer Help?
Tenants and landlords always want to avoid getting into any serious disputes - these disputes interfere with the tenant's living arrangement, and the landlord's business. In short, they help nobody. While a good Bozeman, Montana attorney can definately help his or her client prevail in such a dispute, they may be more essential for their ability to help prevent such disputes from escalating in the first place.