What Are Some Basic Rights of a Tenant?


Quick Answer

Under federal law as of 2015, tenants have the right to be protected from discrimination on the basis of race, sex and religion, the right to a habitable home and the right to privacy, states FindLaw. Individual states and cities have further housing laws detailing tenants' rights.

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Full Answer

The federal Fair Housing Act protects tenants in all states, as of 2015, but with added stipulations in some. Some states protect against discrimination based on marital status or sexual orientation, claims FindLaw. Fair Housing secures the rights of tenants with disabilities, such as the right to a ground floor unit in multistory buildings without an elevator and handicap-accessible bathrooms and kitchens, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Tenant rights exist in every step of the rental process, from application to moving out or eviction, notes the Tenants Union of Washington State. In 2015, the state of Washington grants tenants the right to request standard repairs to the rental home or apartment, the right to a written rental agreement in exchange for a security deposit, and the right to be given a just cause for eviction or lease termination.

Certain types of housing are exempt from Fair Housing coverage in 2015, including members-only clubs and single-family homes rented by owner, states HUD.

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