7/11/2014 - Poll: Rental laws still unclear
While the American Dream may still be defined as homeownership, some people are perfectly happy with renting, seeing as how it fits their lifestyle and budget. However, despite some individuals being lifelong tenants, a substantial portion of them don't know basic rules and regulations that come along with it. In fact, the same is often true for landlords, according to a recent study.
In a test asking respondents some basic questions about rental laws, roughly 47% of tenants and approximately half of landlords, on average, answered the queries incorrectly, real estate listing information website Zillow found. More specifically, regarding issues concerning security deposits, credit and background checks, more than eight in 10 tenants exhibited a lack of understanding as well as three-quarters of landlords.
Additionally, regarding early lease termination, approximately two-thirds of renters and half of landlords were under the misapprehension that the landlord had the legal capacity to end a leasing agreement merely so that they could rent it out to a family member of theirs.
"It's concerning that so many renters and landlords are signing a legal contract without fully understanding their basic rights," said Carey Armstrong, director or rentals at Zillow. "In doing so, landlords and renters could be setting themselves up for future disputes and legal costs."
He added that both tenants and landlords should make getting a better handle on their rights as they relate to renting a priority.
While renters insurance is not required by law, polls have shown that those who rent are under the false impression that their belongings are covered under their landlord's policy. They aren't. That's where a renter's insurance policy comes in – providing protection for possessions in the event that they are stolen or damaged, as noted by the Insurance Information Institute.