Your Rights as a Renter

84517039If you rent a home or apartment you have certain legal protections you should know about. Landlords and real estate companies have codes of conduct they must follow and if they violate your rights you can take them to court to seek justice.

Anti-Discrimination Laws in Housing: A Rundown

As a citizen you have a fundamental right to find a place to live. If you were there first, have the financial resources to afford a particular home or apartment and no glitches on your credit record the unit you want should be yours.

To guarantee equal access, federal law currently prohibits rental discrimination based on:

  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Disability (mental or physical)
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Sex
  • Family status (with or without children)
  • Age

Open discrimination is clearly illegal. However, landlords aren’t allowed to skirt the law through more subtle forms of preferential treatment, either.

For example, they can’t charge different rents for similar units, evaluate anyone’s application more thoroughly than any others, require bigger deposits from some potential renters or favor or discourage any demographic groups from applying in their advertising. They also can’t lie about the availability of an apartment, harass you after you move in or evict you for non-payment of rent without a warning period that gives you a chance to make good your debt.

Here are a few more basic legal rights you are guaranteed as a renter:

  1. The right to know why your application was rejected (if it was). As long as you submit a request in writing they will have to provide an explanation—unless the rejection was based on an official credit report.
  2. The right to due process (warning notices, a chance to make late payments, notices of court action, etc.) if you are facing eviction.
  3. The right to live in a place that is suitable for habitation. If the unit you plan to reside in is physically damaged in a way that affects your safety, or is infested with mice, rats or insects, the landlord has a responsibility to clean it up or fix it up before you move in (at no extra cost to you).
  4. The right to protect your privacy. This means they, their representatives or any service technicians they hire cannot enter your home or apartment without prior notice and/or your permission.

Exceptions to the Rules

Government anti-discrimination rules are extensive but they are not universal. You may face some legally allowed restrictions if you apply to live in:

  • Senior citizen housing.
  • Owner-occupied buildings with four or fewer rental units.
  • Single-family homes that are not handled by a real estate broker.
  • Housing provided by religious or non-profit organizations for members or employees.
  • Section 8 housing.

Landlords can adopt ‘no pet’ policies if they choose. However, they are not allowed to enforce these restrictions if the animals in question are seeing-eye dogs or provide other important services for people with mental or physical disabilities.

Unfortunately there is no general law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. But so far 22 states have passed laws outlawing the former type of discrimination and 19 of these also prohibit the latter. In addition, if you apply to live in federally-funded housing this type of discrimination is strictly forbidden.

Know Your Rights and Demand the Respect You Deserve

The best way to protect your rights is to know about them ahead of time, so you will be prepared to lodge a protest the minute they are violated. While it usually doesn’t go that far, the courts and the legal system are there to help you if an unscrupulous landlord or rental agency discriminates against you in any way, shape or form.

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The Fourth Amendment And What It Means To You


The Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution is one of 27 amendments, but due to being within the beginning section, is known as an amendment which is part of the Bill of Rights, which was argued by some in the founding of the US to be a vital part of the Constitution in order to protect and inform citizens as to the rights they have in everyday behaviors and situations.

So what is the Fourth Amendment? The Fourth Amendment states that all citizens are to be protected from unlawful search and seizure and that these must be done under the context of a judge’s approval and warrant that is based upon probable cause that a crime is being committed.

What does this mean for you? It means that police cannot enter your home or vehicle without your permission unless they have a warrant from a judge and that their desire to enter these places is built on probable cause that you have done something against the law. This is a very important piece of legislation to keep in mind whenever dealing with the police. If police wish to enter your home, you have the right by the Constitution of the United States to deny them permission to do so. If they wish to enter regardless, a judge has to allow them to do so after reviewing their case and their reasoning for wanting to search your home.

Your privacy is yours and your property is yours, and you should never let the police tread onto your privacy or property for no reason. That is what the Fourth Amendment is for, to protect you from wrongdoing on the part of the government. Keep informed on what rights you have as a citizen, including all amendments that are part of the Bill of Rights, including the Fourth.

Amendments are the backbone of what makes our government evolve and grow better for Americans. It is what keeps them safe from abuse and gives them a right to stand up for themselves with protection from the law.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider following us at The Judge’s Chamber: Law Blog for many more laws, crime, and the legalities behind them.

Finding A Lawyer In Arizona

How can you tell which Arizona lawyer will be right for you? After all, there are many options and it can be hard to figure out which one is the right one for you. Here’s some information that can help you decide which landlord tenant lawyer to hire.

First, you need to determine what type of lawyer you need. The law is complex and lawyers tend to specialize in one or two specific fields instead of remaining general attorneys. This means that a lawyer who handles medical malpractice cases may not be the best choice for someone who needs a criminal defense attorney, for example. You need to find a lawyer whose area of expertise coincides with your case.

Once you know what type of lawyer you need, you can start compiling a list of possible lawyers in your area. There are several ways to do this. You might ask someone you know who has hired a lawyer or who works with lawyers whom they might recommend. You can use a directory approach and look in the phonebook or do an online search. Some areas also have legal referral services that can help you connect with the appropriate type of lawyer in your area. Click the link to get more ideas on Arizona workers compensation.

Whichever method you choose, do not simply pick one of these lawyers blindly and hire them to represent you. Have a meeting with each of the lawyers on your list, either by phone or in person, before hiring one. Some lawyers will do this as a free service, but not all lawyers do, so make sure you find out whether you will be charged for this meeting or not. The relationship you have with your lawyer can affect the outcome of your case, so it’s important that you find out how well you work with each of your potential lawyers before you hire one. Meeting with a lawyer in no way obligates you to hire them. Consulting with clients is common for lawyers, so they won’t feel slighted if you choose to hire someone else.

You might also want to consider these criteria when looking for a lawyer. One way to narrow down your list is to look at how many cases like yours the lawyer has successfully handled. Just because the lawyer has won cases similar to yours in the past does not mean they will necessarily win yours, of course, but it can give you some idea of your odds. It’s also important to check with the Arizona state Bar Association to make sure the lawyer is indeed licensed in Arizona and that they don’t have any outstanding complaints against them. Online reviews may also be helpful. Keep in mind that a single poor review can be an outlier, but if the bulk of the reviews are negative, it can mean that the lawyer is difficult to work with or otherwise undesirable. Find out more information about an Arizona employment attorney.

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