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A person who rents a unit from a landlord or property owner for a set period of time is known as a tenant. Another term for tenant is also the “lessee” of the premises. Tenants are allowed to occupy the rental property as long as they follow the terms and conditions of the lease.

What Rules Apply to Tenants and Landlords?

While tenants don’t lawfully own the property they are renting, there are particular laws and regulations protecting tenants within every state. Although the majority of rules governing landlord-tenant relationships are set by their lease agreement, state regulations may also be present.

Below are some examples of state rules that can apply to tenants:

  • Disallowing discrimination towards tenants on the basis of gender, race, familial status, or disabilities
  • Preventing a tenant from being evicted if the landlord goes into foreclosure
  • The definition of specific eviction procedures such as the amount of day’s notice required before filing an eviction

Due to the fact that different states have varying tenant protections, we advise you to consult yourspecific state’s regulations to learn more.

What Is a Lease Agreement?

A lease is a contract created between a landlord and a tenant that permits the tenant to occupy a property for a fixed period of time. The duration of the rental period is typically between 6-12 months and it is specified on the lease agreement.

Other terms are also noted on the agreement, such as rules regarding rent, pets, or the physical treatment of the property. These forms can be created using printable lease agreement templates. Customize the document with your own conditions and the help of step-by-step instructions.

What Is the Difference Between a Homeowner and a Tenant?

While tenants are individuals that are renting a unit of property, homeowners pay a mortgage on a piece of real estate that they will eventually legally own outright.

Homeowners can choose to rent their property out to a tenant using a lease agreement. In some cases, this is also possible for tenants depending on the terms of their lease. This is known as subleasing.

How Do You Screen Tenants?

Screening a tenant is a vital process to decrease the risk of missed rental payments or high turnover rates. To make sure you are getting a renter that will follow the terms and conditions of your lease, you need to evaluate them on specific points.

Some examples of important screening criteria are the following:

  • Employment status
  • Income
  • Evictions
  • Credit history
  • Landlord references
  • Employment references
  • Household size
  • Number of pets
  • Criminal history (if applicable within your state)

This information can be obtained directly from the tenant by asking them to fill out a rental application, and at times it can also be helpful to carry out a personal interview.

As mentioned before, states have different laws on what criteria can be taken into consideration when evaluating a prospective tenant. Therefore, it’s important to consult the rules of the state in which the property is located when screening a tenant.

How Can I Evict a Tenant?

To legally end a tenancy the landlord must give written notice to the tenant. This is known as an eviction notice.

In general, there are various reasons that can lead to a tenant eviction:

  • Nonpayment of rent
  • Violations of the terms of the tenancy agreement
  • Landlord decides not to renew the property lease
  • Tenant has caused damage to the property
  • Illegal activities are taking place on the property

The type of notice that you should use varies greatly depending on the state that your property is located in. As a result, it's important to use the correct eviction notice form for your particular state.