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March 18, 2013

Renting a Home


Does the law regulate the provisions in a lease?

Yes. Both courts and legislative bodies have restricted the provisions in a lease. However, these laws vary by state and locality.

In one example of a law restricting a lease, state courts have struck down lease clauses which provide that the tenant accepts the apartment in "as is" condition and that the tenant must pay the rent regardless of whether the landlord maintains the property. So, if a landlord sues to evict for nonpayment of rent, tenants can defend themselves by arguing that the premises were not worth the full contract rent because of the deteriorated condition. This legal concept is called the implied warranty of habitability. It prevents the landlord from evading the responsibility to maintain the premises even if the tenant signed a lease waiving the right to maintenance.

Many states and municipalities have enacted laws that prohibit some clauses from residential leases. An example of a commonly prohibited clause is "confession of judgment." Such a clause would permit the landlord's attorney to go into any court and to represent the tenant without any prior notice, service or process. The tenant would waive a jury trial, confess judgment to whatever the landlord sues for without any defense, waive all errors or omissions made by the landlord in making the complaint, and authorize an immediate eviction or wage deduction.

>>What is a lease or rental agreement?
>>Do all tenants have the same kind of lease?
>>What are the advantages of an oral versus a written lease?
>>What are the disadvantages of an oral lease?
>>What are the advantages of a written lease?
>>What are the disadvantages of a written lease?
>>Can leases be negotiated?
>>How should the tenant or the landlord change the lease if either doesn't like certain clauses?
>>Does the law regulate the provisions in a lease?
>>Can tenants be forced to waive their rights by signing a lease?

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