What Rights Do Landlords Have?

Being a landlord can be difficult. Whether it’s navigating complex landlord-tenant laws, like the Fair Housing Act, or simply managing your landlord responsibilities, there are various things you need to be apprehensive about when renting your condo, apartment, or house.

The law imposes several duties on the landlord regarding renting out their property. Landlords have legal rights that are spelled out in federal, state, and local law. Just as your rights as a tenant vary by state, so do the rights and responsibilities of your landlord.

Most landlords face an endless list of restrictions that can bog them down, making it hard to know their rights to manage the property properly. Your residential leases and rental agreements should define the landlord’s exact rights, which is why it’s important to understand the lease before you sign.

Read on and understand the rights you have as a landlord that enable you to find and rent to tenants and maintain a positive rental experience.

Screening Potential Tenants

It can be hard to find a suitable tenant for your property. To help you find the right tenant, you’re allowed to ask for information about credit and rental history in a Residential Rental Application. You have the right to use tenant screening criteria of your choice, as long as the criteria are backed by solid business reasons and are not illegal, retaliatory, or discriminatory.

During the screening process, landlords can interview the applicant, view social security numbers, confirm the applicant’s monthly income, contact the applicant’s references, i.e., their previous landlords, perform a credit check, and conduct a background criminal record check.

Set the terms of the tenancy

With the exception of Fair Housing Act Laws, landlords have the right to set the tenancy terms. For instance, landlords can decide to allow pets, ban smoking, and choose to create a month-to-month tenancy instead of a longer-term lease.

These legal terms and conditions regarding the use of the rental property are defined in a lease agreement. What is a lease agreement? A lease agreement is a legally binding contract between a landlord and tenant. The contract ensures that the tenant will timely pay monthly rent in exchange for access to rental property. Both landlords and tenants can use this agreement as legal justification in case any rental-related issue occurs.

If you have decided to lease a property, you can download great lease agreement templates from our website CocoSign.


Collecting Rent from a Tenant

Landlord’s right to collect rental payments is probably one reason you want to rent your property. In the vast majority of situations, landlords receive rent in the form of money payments. They also decide the preferred mode of payment. Most landlords arrange rent payments for the first of every month. In addition to collecting rent, landlords have the right to raise your rent according to your lease agreement.

Enter Tenant’s Unit?

A landlord’s right to enter a unit is necessary. You may need access to your tenant’s unit to repair damages, conduct a regular inspection, show a unit to potential buyers or tenants, or control pests.

To enter a unit legally, you simply need to provide a Notice to Enter (normally 24 hours before entry). Remember that most states consider 24 hours to be the minimum amount of notice you can provide to a tenant. Before issuing the notice, it’s important to review your Lease Agreement under the clause of providing notice if it dictates a longer notice period for entry (compared to your state laws).

In the event of an emergency, such as a flood or fire, you’re legally free to enter the property. In doing so, the issue can be fixed quickly before any substantial damage occurs.

Evict Tenants

When tenants breach the lease agreement, act illegally, or fail to pay rent, landlords have the right to take action and stop the tenant from continuing their misconduct. Eviction is the procedure that landlords follow to remove a tenant from the rental property.

The laws on how to evict a tenant vary between states. However, you’re not allowed to evict the tenant unless you obtain a court order. If you are ending the tenancy, you will need to inform the tenant with a Notice of Termination.

Decide to no longer use the property as a rental

There is no law requiring landlords to keep a property as a rental if they decide they would like to move themselves or a family member into the property. Although landlords must follow their state laws regarding terminating a tenancy, landlords may sometimes cut short a lease when certain personal matters arise.

Sell the rental property

Landlords can sell their rentals. If your tenant lease agreement still holds, the tenant has the right to keep on the tenancy. In most cases, landlords can’t sell the property until their lease expires. Sometimes, landlords and tenants make arrangements to end the lease before selling the rental.


Certain rights, such as screening tenants or conducting inspections, allow landlords to manage their rental property properly. Taking the time to learn and evaluate your rights in the landlord-tenant relationship can protect you from possible monetary loss

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