Cover image for Every tenant's legal guide
Every tenant's legal guide
Portman, Janet.
Personal Author:
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Berkeley, Calif. : Nolo Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
1 volume (various pagings) ; 28 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
KF590.Z9 P67 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ

On Order



The only book of its kind, Every Tenant's Legal Guide gives you the legal and practical information you need to deal with your landlord, roommates and other tenants, and protect your rights when things go wrong. Written in plain English, it shows you how to: find a great home and inspect it, evaluate leases and rental agreements, put roommate relationships on a sound legal footing, understand rent increases, late fees and rent control, get a landlord to make repairs, withhold rent without getting into legal trouble, protect your privacy, fight illegal discrimination, handle a difficult landlord, get drug dealers out of the building, deal with lead paint, mold and asbestos, break a lease with minimum liability, get your security deposit returned fairly and on time, prepare for eviction proceedings, if necessary. The 5th edition of Every Tenant's Legal Guide includes a dozen tear-out forms and the latest laws of your state-simply look them up with the easy-to-use charts, which cover everything from security deposit rules to rent increases. Book jacket.

Table of Contents

1 Finding a Place to Rent
Setting Your Rental Prioritiesp. 4
How to Find an Apartment or House for Rentp. 9
Visiting Prospective Rentalsp. 15
Checking Out the Neighborsp. 16
Rental Applications and Credit Reportsp. 18
How Landlords Reject Tenantsp. 26
Finder's Fees and Holding Depositsp. 27
Choosing Roommatesp. 30
2 Leases and Rental Agreements
How Leases and Rental Agreements Differp. 33
Oral Leases and Rental Agreementsp. 35
Typical Provisions in Leases and Rental Agreementsp. 36
Negotiating With the Landlordp. 53
Changing a Lease or Rental Agreementp. 57
Signing a Lease or Rental Agreementp. 58
Cosignersp. 58
3 Basic Rent Rules
How Much Can Your Landlord Charge?p. 61
Rent Controlp. 62
When Is Your Rent Due?p. 66
Grace Periods for Late Rentp. 67
Where and How Rent Is Duep. 67
Late Charges and Discounts for Early Paymentsp. 70
Returned Check Chargesp. 73
Negotiating Partial or Delayed Rent Paymentsp. 73
Rent Increasesp. 75
Talking the Landlord Out of a Rent Increasep. 80
4 Security Deposits
Dollar Limits on Depositsp. 84
How Landlords May Increase Depositsp. 87
Last Month's Rentp. 87
Nonrefundable Deposits and Feesp. 88
Interest on Deposits and Separate Accountsp. 89
How the Deposit May Be Usedp. 90
If Your Landlord Sells the Propertyp. 91
5 Discrimination
Kinds of Discrimination Prohibited by Federal Lawsp. 95
Kinds of Discrimination Prohibited by State and Local Lawp. 106
How to Fight Backp. 108
6 Inspecting the Rental Unit and Moving In
How to Inspect the Rental Unitp. 116
Photographing the Rental Unitp. 123
How to Handle Problemsp. 123
Clarifying Important Terms of the Tenancyp. 124
Organizing Your Rental Recordsp. 125
7 Roommates
Renting a Place With Othersp. 129
Adding a New Roommatep. 137
Taking In a Roomerp. 138
8 Major Repairs and Maintenance
Your Basic Right to Livable Premisesp. 142
State Laws and Local Housing Codesp. 143
Court-Imposed Rulesp. 144
Your Repair and Maintenance Responsibilitiesp. 145
Making Tenants Responsible for Repairsp. 146
How to Get Action From Your Landlordp. 146
What to Do If the Landlord Won't Make Repairsp. 149
9 Minor Repairs and Maintenance
Minor Repairs: What Are They?p. 162
The Landlord's Responsibilitiesp. 162
Your Responsibilitiesp. 165
Getting the Landlord to Make Minor Repairsp. 167
Making Minor Repairs Yourselfp. 171
10 Making Improvements and Alterations
Improvements That Become Part of the Propertyp. 174
Improving Your Rental Unit Without Enriching Your Landlordp. 175
Cable TV Accessp. 176
Satellite Dishes and Other Antennasp. 178
11 Your Right to Privacy
Entry by the Landlordp. 184
Entry by Othersp. 190
Other Invasions of Privacyp. 192
What to Do About Invasions of Privacyp. 193
12 Injuries on the Premises
What to Do If You're Injuredp. 198
Is the Landlord Liable?p. 201
If You're at Fault, Toop. 209
How Much Money You're Entitled Top. 210
13 Environmental Hazards
Asbestosp. 215
Leadp. 220
Radonp. 230
Carbon Monoxidep. 232
Moldp. 234
14 Crime on the Premises
The Landlord's Basic Duty to Keep You Safep. 242
Problems With Other Tenantsp. 247
Illegal Activity on the Property and Nearbyp. 250
Getting Results From the Landlordp. 252
Protecting Yourselfp. 258
15 How Tenancies End or Change
Changing Terms During Your Tenancyp. 263
How Month-to-Month Tenancies Endp. 265
How Fixed-Term Leases Endp. 270
Retaliation and Other Illegal Tenancy Terminationsp. 272
How to Stay When Your Landlord Wants You Outp. 273
Getting Out of a Leasep. 274
Condominium Conversionsp. 286
If the Landlord Sells or Goes Out of Businessp. 287
16 Moving Out and Getting Your Security Deposit Back
Basic Rules for Returning Depositsp. 291
Deductions for Cleaning and Damagep. 294
Deductions for Unpaid Rentp. 298
Avoiding Fights Over Depositsp. 299
Security Deposits From Cotepantsp. 307
How to Handle Deposit Disputesp. 308
Suing Your Landlord in Small Claims Courtp. 311
If Your Deposit Doesn't Cover What You Owep. 314
Your Abandoned Propertyp. 314
17 Termination Notices Based on Nonpayment of Rent and Other Illegal Acts
Termination Noticesp. 322
Other Violations of the Lease or Rental Agreementp. 324
Violations of Your Legal Responsibilities as a Tenantp. 326
Illegal Activity on the Premisesp. 326
Negotiating With the Landlordp. 327
Getting Help From a Mediatorp. 328
Refusing to Move Outp. 329
Cutting Your Losses and Movingp. 331
18 Evictions: An Overview
When to Fight-And When to Movep. 334
Illegal "Self-Help" Evictionsp. 334
How Eviction Lawsuits Workp. 335
Stopping Eviction by Filing for Bankruptcyp. 345
19 Resolving Problems Without a Lawyer
How to Negotiate a Settlementp. 348
Using a Mediatorp. 349
Suing in Small Claims Courtp. 350
Tenants Working Togetherp. 353
20 Lawyers and Legal Research
How a Lawyer Can Help Youp. 358
Finding a Good Lawyerp. 358
Fee Arrangements With Lawyersp. 361
Resolving Problems With Your Lawyerp. 363
Doing Your Own Legal Researchp. 364
1 State Laws
2 Tear-Out Forms
Looking for and Finding a Rental
Rental Priorities Worksheet
Apartment-Finding Service Checklist
Rental Application
Consent to Background and Reference Check
Receipt and Holding Deposit Agreement
Moving In and Making Changes
Landlord-Tenant Checklist
Agreement Regarding Tenant Improvements to Rental Unit
Amendment to Lease or Rental Agreement