What is the Uniform Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (URLTA)?
URLTA, also sometimes called the Landlord-Tenant Act, is a law that places additional responsibilities on landlords in urban counties. These responsibilities include providing safe and healthy rentals to their tenants.
Which counties does URLTA apply to?
URLTA applies to counties in Tennessee that have a population of more than 75,000 residents. Currently, the only counties covered by URLTA are Anderson, Blount, Bradley, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Maury, Montgomery, Rutherford, Sevier, Shelby, Sullivan, Sumner, Washington, Williamson, and Wilson.
What are my rights as a renter if I live in an URLTA county?
- You have a right to a place that is fit to live in, and you have a right to live there peacefully without interference from your landlord in a way that bothers you or keeps you from enjoying your home.
- You have a right to your privacy, so the landlord cannot come in without your permission unless it is an emergency or some other limited circumstance.
- You have a right to be free from rent increases until your lease ends. Your landlord cannot increase your rent until your lease ends, and you sign a new lease.
- You have a right not to be discriminated against on the basis of your race, color nationality, sex, religion, familial status, or disability.
- If you have a disability, you have a right to make reasonable changes to your rental. You may have to pay for these accommodations yourself.
What are my responsibilities as a renter if I live in an URLTA county?
- You must read your lease before you sign it and get any changes that are agreed upon in writing and signed.
- You must pay your rent on time and follow the rules in the lease.
- If your rental needs repairs, but the repairs are not an emergency, you have a duty to write your landlord and tell them about the problem so that they can fix it. If the rental is not safe to live in, call your local Building Codes Department. If the rental is not a healthy place to live, call your county Health Department. You cannot withhold your rent if the landlord fails to make repairs
What are my landlord's responsibilities if I live in an URLTA county?
- Your landlord must comply with building and housing codes that affect the health and safety of the tenants.
- Your landlord must make all repairs and take any necessary steps to keep the rental in a livable condition.
- Your landlords must keep all common areas in duplexes and apartments clean and safe, such as sidewalks, parks, etc.
What can I do if my landlord does not fulfill his/her responsibilities?
If you are a renter in an URLTA county and your landlord has failed to provide you with a safe and habitable rental, then you can file a complaint with the Tennessee Consumer Affairs Division.
If the landlord fails to fix the things you need like lights, heat, gas, water, sewage, or plumbing, then you might be able to use some of your rent money to pay to have those things fixed. You must do this a certain way for the law to consider it valid. Seek the help of an attorney if you think your landlord is failing to make timely and necessary repairs.
If you need legal help, call your local legal aid office.