LandordStation.com knows that being a North Dakota landlord can be hard work. There are many laws to follow and maintenance and repairs to be done. However, landlord tenant conflict can make your job even more stressful. Understanding North Dakota landlord tenant law will not only help you understand the reasoning behind the ins and outs of your job as a North Dakota landlord, but it can also help you proactively prevent unwanted conflict with your tenant. What follows is a general overview of ND landlord tenant laws and is not legal advice. For specific legal advice on landlord or tenant rights in North Dakota, consult an experienced attorney.
North Dakota landlord tenant law is covered under Chapter 47-16 of the North Dakota statutes, under the provision for "Leasing of Real Property." According to these laws, the legal definition of leasing is a contract through which a person has temporary possession and use of real property in exchange for reward to the owner of the real property – on the condition that the real property will be returned to the owner at the future time. This agreement is usually written, though at times can be verbal. The owner or the owner’s hired agent in this agreement is the landlord, and the lessee is the tenant.
It is of course important as a South Dakota landlord to know your rights and responsibilities under the ND landlord tenant laws. However, it is beneficial for you as a landlord to proactively know the tenant rights in North Dakota for your lessee in order to potentially prevent conflict or even legal action. The first thing you should understand about a tenant’s rights under North Dakota landlord tenant law is that the law can be superseded by specific terms in any lease agreement. That being said, your tenant’s or tenants’ general rights and responsibilities under ND landlord tenant laws are as follows:
•The tenant is required to pay a security deposit of up to one month’s rent if you mandate it.
•If the tenant has a pet that will be staying on the property, they may be required by you to pay a pet deposit.
•Each tenant of the property is responsible for the entire rent payment, even if one tenant in a multiple-tenant agreement moves out.
•In month-to-month leases, the landlord can raise the rent by any amount if 30 days’ notice is given.
•If a provision of a month-to-month lease is changed, the tenant can give a 25-day notice of lease termination.
•The tenant must pay all late fees for late rent as they were set out in the lease agreement.
•The tenant is responsible for promptly notifying the landlord when any repairs are needed. You, the landlord, must be given a reasonable amount of time to complete these repairs.
•If the tenant takes care of the repair, he or she is entitled to having the cost of the repair deducted from rent, but must first notify you in writing.
•A tenant also has the right to pursue repair costs and other expenses from you, the landlord, in Small Claims Court.
•In serious situations, and only as a last resort, a tenant may immediately terminate the lease and move out.
•Any tenant who fears domestic violence, or is a victim of domestic violence, may terminate a lease agreement early and without penalty if he or she gives advance written notice specifying a termination date and providing legal proof of domestic violence.
•In the case of domestic violence termination, the tenant is still responsible for that month’s rent and up to one additional month’s rent.
•A tenant is responsible for allowing the landlord access to the rental property during reasonable hours and by arrangement when possible, or at any time with an emergency, to make repairs, inspect, or show the property.
•Tenants must comply with housing codes and keep their units clean, regularly remove garbage, and use the plumbing and other facilities in a reasonable manner.
•Tenants are also responsible for making sure that they and their guests do not disturb the other tenants.
•A tenant may be evicted, even during winter months, for non-payment of rent, disturbing the "peaceful enjoyment" of other tenants, conducting illegal activity on the property, keeping unreported pets, or having too many occupants in violation of the lease.
A good landlord in North Dakota knows that any tenant’s failure to fulfill his or her responsibilities is potential grounds for eviction. However, note that eviction is a very specific legal process that can't be exercised by you alone. Plus, if you know the rights and responsibilities of your tenants under North Dakota law in addition to your own rights and responsibilities as a landlord, you have a unique opportunity to troubleshoot your business relationship rather than just begin the process of terminating it.
Being a proactive landlord and knowing the rights and responsibilities of both you and your tenant or tenants can save you a lot of work and potentially prevent conflict. This general overview by LandlordStation.com is meant purely as helpful, general information. For specific legal advice regarding North Dakota landlord tenant law, consult an experienced attorney.
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