Renters Have Rights

By Jasmine Kelly

I am proudly a renter. I felt that I should start off mentioning that because, in these days and times, it is cliché to do so. However, I enjoy the freedom that renting affords me. If something breaks, it is not my responsibility. If I want to pick up and move, I can do so.

Renting can also be a catch-22. Considering that I do not own my apartment, that means that my property is at someone else’s mercy. For about a month, I have been battling with management about an issue. Since I pay rent where I live, I expect my leasing office to hold up their end of the bargain as well. Things have not been that simple, though, but I know my rights as a renter.

I felt compelled to remind other fellow renters that you have rights. If you find yourself in a sticky situation with your leasing office and landlord, you have options. These options are called “Renters Rights.” Renters Rights are federal, state, and local laws designed to prevent housing discrimination amongst rent extorting amongst renters. 

I know lease jargon can be tricky, and corporations (if you rent from them) can be intimidating. Please see the following rights for renters. Please keep in mind that these are general and refer to your state laws regarding renting.

  1. Fair housing is vital. When applying to rent, it is unlawful to be denied “based on based on race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, family status, or mental or physical disability under the federal Fair Housing Act” (Legal Zoom, 2020). 
  1. Your place of residence must be livable. For example, if your toilet does not work in a one-bedroom apartment, it is not livable. Your landlord must make the required changes in a reasonable amount of time. 
  1. You have a right to privacy. Tenants must receive prior notice before your landlord enters your property.
  1. You have a right to rules regarding your security deposit. Please reference your state laws for specifics.


Sember, B. (2020). Tenants’ Rights: Knowing Your Rights as a Tenant. (p.1). Retrieved from

Jasmine Kelly is a contributing writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC. Jasmine is a higher education professional who believes in the powers of Black Twitter. You can follow her on Instagram @chicomydusty.

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