Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Legal Definitions - R


Reasonable wear and tear – A tenant living in a residential dwelling is allowed to use it for normal residential purposes. The paint, carpet, etc will experience common “wearing out.” A tenant is not responsible to pay for reasonable wearing out. Unusual damage to the property can be deducted from the security deposit after the tenant moves out. Some examples of unusual damage are crayon marks on the wall, holes in the walls and ceilings, urine and feces [both animal and human] ground into the carpet.

Receipt – A written and signed acknowledge of payment of money or delivery of goods. When the tenant pays rent, the landlord often gives a receipt for the payment. Many times the canceled check is the receipt. If the tenant pays cash and does NOT obtain receipt, it falls within the legal adage “if it's not in writing, it doesn't exist.” Who would pay anywhere from $600 to $1000 in cash [most higher rents are paid by check or money order] and NOT demand a receipt for the payment? Way too many tenants don't demand a receipt, and then they testify at trial that the landlord is a scumbag but they trusted him. What's up with that?

Rent – Hiring personal property [like a car] or real property for the payment of a price to the owner, usually monthly. The person paying the rent money is then legally entitled to retain possession of the property for the stated term [lease], or month-to-month.  Non-payment of rent is the most common reason for evicting a tenant.

Rent-controlled – A local ordinance which limits the allowed amount of rent or rent increases and/or the right of the owner to evict tenants. Most rent-control ordinances are enacted in jurisdictions where most of the residents [read: voters] are tenants.

Rental value – The amount of money the rental property is worth on the open market. Theoretically, the rent charged equals the rental value. In rent-controlled jurisdictions, long-term tenants usually don't pay nearly the fair market rental value of their units. Sometimes, this causes unethical landlords to manufacture a reason to evict them. Occasionally, this actually works.

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