Obligations of the Landlord
What are the obligations of the landlord to the tenant?
Under §47-8-20(A) of the Uniform Owner-Resident Relations Act, the landlord is obligated to:
- substantially comply with the requirements of the applicable minimum housing codes materially affecting health and safety;
- make repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a safe condition as provided by applicable law and rules and regulations;
- keep common areas of the premises in safe condition;
- maintain the electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air conditioning and other facilities and appliances in good and safe working order;
- provide and maintain appropriate receptacles for the removal of ashes, garbage, rubbish and other waste incidental to the occupancy of the dwelling unit and arrange for their removal; and
- supply running water and a reasonable amount of hot water at all times and reasonable heat, except where the building that includes the dwelling unit is not required by law to be equipped for that purpose or if the unit was constructed so that heat or hot water is within the exclusive control of the resident and supplied by a direct public utility connection.
The owner is also required to provide a written rental agreement to each tenant prior to the beginning of the occupancy. §47-8-20(G).
May the landlord and tenant agree that the tenant will perform the owner’s obligations?
In general, an owner may arrange with a resident to perform the obligations of the owner. Any such arrangement does not diminish the owner’s obligations under the Uniform Owner-Resident Relations Act. The failure of a resident to perform the obligations of the owner should not serve as a basis for eviction or be considered a material breach of the resident’s obligations under the Uniform Owner-Resident Relations Act. §47-8-20(E).
The landlord and tenant of a single family residence may agree that the tenant is to perform the landlord’s duties under the Act outlined above in paragraphs 5 and 6, (relating to removal of trash and supply of water), as well as specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations and remodeling. Such agreement must be in writing, for consideration, entered into in good faith and not for the purpose of evading the obligations of the owner. §47-8-20(C).
The landlord and tenant of a dwelling other than a single family residence may agree that the tenant is to perform specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations or remodeling only if the agreement is set forth in a separate writing, for consideration, entered into in good faith, and not for the purpose of evading the obligations of the landlord. §47-8-20(D).
What disclosures must a landlord make to a tenant?
At or before the commencement of the residency, an owner must disclose to the tenant in writing the name, address and telephone number of the person authorized to manage the premises and of the owner of the premises (or person authorized to act on behalf of the owner). §47-8-19(A).
If the landlord does not make these disclosures, the resident is not obliged to provide notice to the landlord as required by the Uniform Owner-Resident Relations Act. §47-8-19(D).
What rules or regulations can a landlord enforce concerning the resident’s use and occupancy of the rental unit?
An owner may enforce rules or regulations against a tenant only if the rules or regulations are:
- intended to promote the appearance, convenience, safety or welfare of the residents in the premises, preserve the owner’s property from abusive use or make a fair distribution of services and facilities for the residents generally;
- reasonably related to the purpose for which they are adopted;
- applicable to all residents of the premises in a fair manner;
- sufficiently clear about what is prohibited or limited, in order to fairly inform the resident of what must be done or not done to comply; and
- for purposes other than evading the obligations of the landlord.
The tenant must be presented with written copies of existing rules and regulations at the time he or she enters into the rental agreement. The tenant also must be presented with written notice of amendments to the rules and regulations and new regulations adopted subsequent to the rental agreement. §47-8-23.
Can rules or regulations adopted after the tenant enters into the rental agreement be enforced against that tenant?
A rule or regulation adopted after the resident enters into the rental agreement is enforceable against the resident only if:
- the resident is given reasonable written notice of the adoption of the new rule or regulation; and
- the rule or regulation does not cause a substantial modification of the agreement between the landlord and tenant.