As a renter, you have certain rights. From the moment you fill out an apartment rental application, you have certain federally protected rights. This means that if you feel a landlord rejected your rental application and violated your rights by doing so, you may be able to take legal action. Your tenants' rights include protection from discrimination and the right to live in a safe home.
In order to know whether or not a Los Angeles landlord has violated your rights, you must first understand what those rights are. Read below to find out more about your basic rights as a tenant.
Discrimination is prohibited
Tenants across the country are protected by federal anti-discrimination laws. This means that a landlord cannot deny your rental application based on ethnicity, race, age, religion or gender. In addition, a landlord cannot deny your application based on whether or not you have children or plan to have children, or any physical or mental disabilities a member of your household might have.
A rental company cannot post advertisements that use any discriminatory wording that indicates the landlord is biased when it comes to the protected statuses mentioned above. Also, the lessor cannot lie about the availability of a unit such as claiming it is not for rent when in fact it is. Furthermore, you have a right to be free from a landlord's harassment, treatment different from other tenants, as well as any other behavior that is discriminatory in nature.
Right to a safe and habitable living space
As a tenant, you have the right to live in a habitable space. This means that your apartment must meet a reasonable standard of structural soundness and be free of things like mold and poor wiring. Also, any living space you rent should not have holes in the floor, ceiling tiles or plaster that is falling in, or any kind of rodent or insect infestation.
No lead-based paint
Many older buildings contain lead-based paint. Federal law states that all rental housing must not have any lead-based paint. Unfortunately, approximately 75 percent of dwellings available for rent still have lead paint on the walls and ceiling. Regardless of the age of your rental, watch for signs of paint peeling, chipping or flaking. Contact with lead-based paint can cause lead poisoning, which can be extremely harmful.
Unless there is some kind of emergency, such as a fire, your landlord cannot enter your home without your permission. If he needs to come in to address a maintenance issue, he must give you notice. Your living space is yours, which means you have control over who enters it.
If you are experiencing any kind of discriminatory behavior from your landlord, or if he is not providing a reasonably safe living space, it is important to remember that you have federally protected rights as a tenant. Do not stand for a landlord or leasing agency that is not following federal and state laws.