Tenant Law in Tennessee
In Knoxville, Tennessee, relationships between tenants and landlords can sometimes become strained.
There are many rights and responsibilities that landlords and tenants have. It's important that each party is aware of their rights, and the rights of the other party. By knowing and respecting these rights, the risk of conflict should be reduced dramatically.
Landlord's Rights in Knoxville, TN
First and foremost, landlords have a right to timely payment of rent from their tenants, at the agreed-upon rate. This, of course, imposes on tenants a duty to pay their rent in full, in a timely manner.
Landlords also have a right to be compensated for damage to the building that a tenant causes, either intentionally or negligently. Any damage caused by a tenant, besides reasonable wear and tear, can be billed, and the landlord can deduct from the tenant's security deposit to pay for repairs.
Tenant's Rights in Knoxville, TN
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 provide. Landlords in Knoxville, Tennessee are under a legal duty to make sure that their apartments are habitable. There are many factors that are considered in determining 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).
Additionally, tenants are entitled to common areas which are reasonably safe and clean, and free of physical obstacles. Areas such as lobbies, hallways, stairwells, and fire escapes must comply with the building codes of Knoxville, Tennessee. Additionally, any other unreasonable safety hazard, even if it doesn't violate a specific provision of a building code, can create liability for the landlord if it injures a tenant.
Under the laws of Tennessee, and the United States, discrimination in housing on the basis of race, religion, or gender is strictly prohibited. Additionally, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, landlords must not discriminate against renters on the basis of any physical disability. They also have to authorize the renter to make reasonable modifications to their apartment, to make it more accessible. Generally, landlords are only required to allow relatively minor and reversible modifications, and tenants cannot compel them to remodel the building, for example. Also, once the tenant leaves, the landlord can bill the tenant for the costs of restoring the apartment to its original condition.
Finally, the laws of most states protect tenants from unfair eviction. In general, as long as a tenant is paying rent on time, and is not damaging the unit, they cannot be evicted before the term of the lease expires, unless there is a very good reason to do so (such as excessive noise caused by the tenant, or illegal activities in the apartment).
Can a Knoxville, Tennessee 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 Knoxville, Tennessee attorney can certainly help his or her client prevail in such a dispute, they may be more valuable for their ability to help prevent such disputes from escalating in the first place.