Landlord Tenant Relationship

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BUS 311 Business Law I
Landlord / Tenant Relationship
Novenber 18, 2010

BUS 311: Landlord / Tenant Relationship
Understanding landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities is critical for a successful relationship between two parties, whether in a residential or commercial environment. Both the landlord and the tenant have specific rights and also specific responsibilities.

To understand the landlord – tenant relationship one must first understand the roles of each party and understand how the relationship is defined. The landlord, or lessor, is the owner of real property who willingly gives up his right to possess the property in exchange for a monetary gain. The tenant, or lessee, agrees to pay the landlord for use of the property. The lease is the actual document that lists the rights and duties of the two parties. It is the actual agreement that spells out the terms and conditions that the two parties agree too.

After an agreement is reached between the two parties the landlord has two responsibilities. The first responsibility is to deliver possession of the property to the tenant at the beginning of the lease. This forces the landlord to prepare the property and insure that any wrongful holdovers are evicted from the property. The second responsibility that he landlord has is the warranty of habitability (Liuzzo and Bonnice, page 349). Basically, the landlord must provide premises that are fit for occupancy. It must be safe, reasonably fit, and free from defects. The third landlord responsibility is to allow the tenant use of the property with quiet enjoyment. Basically, the landlord cannot interfere with the tenant’s right to use the property as spelled out in the lease (AZLawhelp.org).

The landlord has a fourth responsibility if the tenant chooses to relinquish use of the property. The landlord has a duty to mitigate damages, or make reasonable efforts to find a new tenant. If the landlord is successful in finding a new tenant, the original tenant would no longer be responsible to pay the rent that is stipulated in the lease. For example, if a tenant abandons a residence with eight months remaining on the lease, the landlord must attempt to find a replacement tenant. If an acceptable tenant is found after one month, and the new tenant agrees to pay the same rent as the old tenant, the old tenant is only responsible for the month that the unit was vacant. Thus, the original tenant is relieved from paying rent for the other seven months of the lease.

The landlord has several rights to go along with his or her responsibilities. The first right is to collect rent from the tenant at the agreed upon rate. If the two parties agreed upon a $1,000 per month rate, the landlord has the right to collect that money, and the tenant has a responsibility to pay it. The landlord also has the right to regain possession of the property in good condition at the expiration of the lease. Should the premises be damaged by the tenant or returned in a poor condition, the landlord has the right to seek payment for the damages.

If the tenant does not pay the rent, or violates other terms of the lease, the landlord has the right to evict the tenant. For example, if the tenant is to pay $1,000 per month rent to the landlord on the first of each month, and as of the 15th of the month the landlord has not received the rent, the landlord can evict the tenant for non-payment. Also, if the tenant violates the terms of the lease, such as having pets when the lease states that no pets are allowed, the landlord can evict the tenant.

One example of landlord taking back possession of his property after the lease had expired was in Texas. The tenant, Johnny Sanchez, gave notice to the landlord that he had purchased a home and was moving from the leased premises. The tenant gave notice that he would abandon the property on August 16th and no rent was paid for time after August 16th. Several days later, on August...
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