Landlord Protection: Demand Letter to Landlord
Unfortunately, landlord-tenant relationships aren't always rosy. When you're having trouble with your landlord, have tried to solve the dispute through talking, sending emails, and making phone calls, but they seem uncooperative, you may need to .
A demand letter awakens them to the possibility that you could sue them. In case the issue escalates to a lawsuit, it also shows that you want to resolve the issue and aren't just wasting the court's time and resources.
However, a demand letter can also be used against you if you don't know how to word it properly. More than that, you could spend a long time waiting for the matter to be resolved. This blog will tell you about tenant-landlord laws and how to skip the tenuous legal processes in writing a demand letter to the landlord.
Eviction is meant to remove a tenant who doesn't want to leave a leased property. It is governed by the following laws:
- State law
- Local law
- Federal law
- The common law
- Court rules
Most states' laws regarding eviction are governed by the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA) or the Model Residential Landlord-Tenant Code.
The common law addresses eviction issues that leases don't address, and local court rules also determine how the eviction will be handled –such as the period it takes for a landlord to evict you.
Reasons to Evict Someone or Be Evicted
A landlord can evict you legally under these circumstances:
- Failure to pay rent
- Violations of lease agreements (non-trivial)
- When your lease expires
Besides dealing with landlords, you may be wondering how to kick out a roommate who has turned out to be troublesome. Ideally, your roommate must violate a clause in the lease agreement or the separate roommate agreement you signed for you to evict them legally. These violations include:
- Failing to pay rent
- Failing to foot their part of the utility bills
- Damaging property beyond the expected damage that occurs over time
- Participating in activities that are prohibited on the property
- Being a risk to your health or safety
- Repetitively violating leases after being served with 'notice to quit behavior'
How to Fight a Wrongful Eviction
An eviction qualifies as wrongful when the evictor fails to follow the legal guidelines involved in eviction. If you've heard tenant complaints that sound like 'my landlord is threatening to evict me,' that is an example of wrongful eviction tactics. Other instances include
- Changing the locks, and other actions that interfere with a renter's rights to live on the premises
- Shutting off utilities
If you've been served with an eviction notice, you must act quickly or risk losing your property rights. Here's how to go about it:
- Read your lease thoroughly to determine circumstances that warrant termination of the lease by you as the tenant and the landlord
- Contact an attorney who specializes in tenant evictions
- Gather relevant legal documents to do with the apartment –leases, notices, e-mails, photos, canceled checks, receipts, etc.
- If your eviction throws you into an emergency need, reach out to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They offer assistance, including providing an attorney depending on the law and the circumstances.
The Eviction Process
Eviction is a long process and begins with serving a tenant notice and progresses through several stages before it gets to the point called an unlawful detainer.
1. Eviction Process When There’s a Lease
If the person in question has signed a lease, the eviction process follows these phases:
|Pay or quit notice.||A Pay or Quit notice serves as a formal warning that they are violating the terms of the lease. This document also details how the tenant can mend their ways and the time they have to do that before the matter goes to court.|
|Filling eviction forms and filing an eviction case.||Assuming that the tenant keeps up with the violation and the grace period elapses, an attorney can help the landlord to file an eviction case against the tenant. This is also called a forcible detainer. The attorney uses an eviction complaint form to start the case and summons, which inform the tenant that they'll be legally evicted. A judge goes through the evidence presented to ascertain what's right to do.|
|Judgment.||After the judge finds the tenant's actions worthy of removal, they issue a forcible detainer, and the tenant and their property are removed from the residence.|
2. Eviction Process When There's No Lease
If there was no lease, here's how the eviction process plays out:
|The landlord sends a notice to quit.||This document tells the tenant how they are violating the lease and tells them how much time they have on the property.|
|Filing for an eviction hearing.||In case the tenant doesn't give up their ways, a landlord can file for an eviction hearing. The court sets and issues a day for the hearing and serves notices to the landlord and tenant. The landlord also explains how the relationship with the tenant was entered into and the violations that have occurred. The tenant defends themselves and gives proof why they should not vacate. If the landlord wins, they get the authority to evict the tenant.|
|Authority Eviction.||The landlord can take the eviction to the local sheriff who executes the eviction.|
What to Do When a Roommate Not on the Lease Refuses to Vacate
There are many reasons why you may end up sharing an apartment with someone without them signing a lease. In case the living arrangement no longer works, but they refuse to leave, you can handle it this way:
- Determine how the law defines them. Ideally, they may fall in any of these categories:
|Roommate||Shares living expenses such as utility bills and rent.|
|Guest||A person you invite to stay with you for a short while. If they live longer and contribute to the bills, they may be regarded as subtenants or tenants.|
|Tenant-at-will||In some states, if a person lives with you but doesn't pay rent and doesn't have a set date on which they must move out or pay rent, they could be considered a tenant-at-will.|
|Subtenant||This is a person who rents space from a tenant.|
- Talk to the landlord. Usually, a landlord can evict roommates he didn't know were living with his tenants.
- Contact law enforcement. Some states allow you to call the authorities to remove an unwanted person from your house.
- Go to court. Involve an attorney to initiate a legal removal process if your state doesn't allow you to call the authorities to remove a no-lease roommate.
- Attend the hearing. The courts may call for a hearing that you need to attend to prove why you want them to vacate.
- Appeal. In case the hearing doesn't work, make an appeal.
Sue Anyone With DoNotPay
DoNotPay allows you to sue anyone for anything without having to go to court or looking for an attorney. For example, if you're wondering how to sue the landlord for the deposit, the DoNotPay app can generate a demand letter to the landlord fast.
Although each state may have different laws, here are the basic laws that govern landlord-tenant relationships in the US.
|Laws about discrimination.||These are based on the Fair Housing laws and dictate that all actions or policies apply to everyone without any bias.|
|Legal lease document laws.||It's a landlord's duty to ensure that leases are legally sound and that names, lease terms, and rates are accurate.|
|Required disclosures.||Landlords should inform tenants about important local laws, lead-based applications, and other safety hazards before the tenant start to live in the house.|
|Providing a safe environment.||Rental properties must be safe, and appliances, fixtures, and other provisions that make a home habitable must be in good condition.|
|Repair laws.||Landlords have the responsibility to make repairs, and tenants' duty to write a letter to landlords about repairs they need in good time. They can withhold rent if repairs are not made.|
|Security deposits.||Landlords can only withhold security deposits to recover defaulted rent or for covering property damage.|
|Renters' right to privacy.||Landlords cannot interfere with a renter's privacy and are not allowed to enter the rental property without giving them notice at a reasonable time of the day and for a plausible reason.|
|Abandoned tenant property.||Any property that a renter leaves behind after vacating is abandoned property. The landlord must tell the tenant how to get them, the cost of storage, and the period to get them back. If the time elapses without the tenant claiming the property, the landlord has the right to keep or sell it.|
|Evictions.||These laws cover questions such as 'can a landlord evict me without notice,' how do I violate my lease agreement, where to file a complaint against my landlord, etc.|
You have the right to
- A roof that sufficiently shields you from the elements
- Enough hot water
- Sufficient and reliable heat
- Strong floorings and walls
- Protection from hazards such as lead, asbestos, and mold
- Protection from criminal intrusion
- You can withhold rent if your landlord has not kept your unit livable
Security Deposit Laws
A security deposit is meant to protect the landlord when the tenant defaults on rent or damages the property. Here are some of the laws regarding security deposits:
- Security deposits usually amount to one or two times the rent.
- A landlord can't use the deposit to fix normal wear and tear.
- Some states require a move-in statement, i.e., a list of the existing damage before the renter moves in.
- Security deposits can also be used to clean the rental unit and cover costs from damages beyond normal wear and tear.
How to Withhold Rent
Landlords typically have 30 days to fix a problem before a tenant can withhold rent. Here is how to legally withhold rent if your landlord does not make repairs within that period:
- Research the law in your state to see whether it's allowed or what form of withholding is legal.
- Write a notice about the repair required and your intention to withhold rent.
- Give them a deadline to fix the problem.
- Gather evidence.
- Repeat request if it's ignored the first time.
- File any required court documents in states that require you to ask for permission to withhold rent.
- Put the rent in an escrow account.
How to Write Demand Letter to Landlord by Yourself
If you want to get your security deposit back from the landlord but are wondering , here are the facts you need:
Your landlord's name and address, the lease date, address of the unit, state law regarding security deposits, why you're requesting for it, your contact and forwarding address. Next, follow these steps:
- Use the formal salutation and the landlord's name.
- Explain that you're writing to request your deposit.
- Narrate when you vacated.
- Explain the particular law that governs your demand for the deposit.
- Ask them to forward your deposit to your forwarding address.
- Explain that you expect that deposit within a certain period (21 to 45 days is the typical period defining how long a landlord has to return a security deposit) and that a refusal will result in a legal suit.
- Sign out using the salutation 'sincerely' and your name.
Alternative Ways of Writing Demand Letter to Landlord
If you are not able to write one yourself, you can download free demand letter templates online. The problem is there's no one-size-fits-all demand letter. Also, you may use the wrong template or wording and reduce your chances of getting what you want.
Write Demand Letter to Landlord Using DoNotPay
With DoNotPay, you don't have to fumble your way through writing a for whatever reason. DoNotPay is here to guide you through it and file your disputes on your behalf. Our Landlord Protection product can help you:
- Get back your security deposits
- Learn about your state's eviction laws and what protections apply in your case
- Resolve disputes regarding repairs with your landlord
- Resolve disputes with roommates by filing demand letters or going through small claims court
- Break your lease early
How to Break a Lease Using DoNotPay
If you want to break a lease but don't know where to start, DoNotPay has you covered in 4 easy steps:
- Search for and open the Landlord Protection product on DoNotPay.
- Select which issue applies to you.
- Answer a simple set of questions so our chatbot can collect the necessary information to create your demand letter.
- Choose whether you want DoNotPay to send the demand letter to your landlord or roommate on your behalf. If you already tried sending a demand letter and it didn't work, we can help you start the small claims court process.
And that's it. You should hear back from your landlord directly once your demands are sent.
Why Use DoNotPay to Write Demand Letter to Landlord
DoNotPay is a game-changer in solving legal issues, and writing a demand letter to the landlord is no exception. DoNotPay is
- Fast. There's no wasted time thinking about what to say or do.
- Easy. Forget lengthy forms and password tracking.
- Successful. There's not a shred of doubt that you'll get your demand letter on time.
DoNotPay Works Across All Entities With the Click of a Button
DoNotPay is not tied to landlord protection alone. We work with different entities to bring you results on whatever issue you have, including
- Help with small claims.
- Getting standardized legal documents.
- Notarizing documents.
- Help with the freedom of information act.
- Find unclaimed money.
What Else Can DoNotPay Do?
Beyond these usually perplexing issues, we can help you hack these additional problems:
- Making inflation pay request
- Insurance claims
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- Trademark registration
- Scheduling appointments with DMV