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Landlord-tenant law establishes the rights and responsibilities of parties involved. Moreover, it distinguishes between commercial and residential properly lease. Residential property lease usually is more complicated and, thus, bears more risks. Different states have different laws and regulations for real estate lease. Landlord usually has to provide possession, quite enjoyment and warranty of habitability. On the contrary, tenant has to protect the premises and to pay rent. Since the legal dispute on the lease contract between Roger Renter and Harry Landlord, the relationships between them were governed by the landlord-tenant law. Therefore, to successfully mediate the conflict, rights and duties of a landlord and tenant should be elaborated and compared in current situation.
A lease contract, as the most types of legally binding agreements, is signed by two parties. One of them is a landlord, who is the owner of the estate, which is an object of the lease. The landlord transfers the right to possess the property to another party called a tenant (Beatty & Samuelson, 2016). For the agreement between these parties to be mutually beneficial, the law entitles both of them to certain rights with corresponding responsibilities of each party. Therefore, a tenant or a landlord has a right to demand the performance of the discussed duties from the counterparty (Twomey & Jennings, 2008). Although the exact rights and responsibilities can vary depending on the regulations in the particular state, the possession of leasehold estate, its maintenance, and payment of the rent are governed by similar rules.
The main obligation of a landlord is to deliver the possession of the premises to a tenant in a manner that allows the latter to use them. If the owner of the property breaches this duty or former tenants refuse to leave the premises, the tenant has a right to demand the transference of possession either from the landlord or previous tenants, depending on the rules applicable in a particular jurisdiction (Beatty & Samuelson, 2016). Additionally, a covenant of quiet enjoyment, which is either included in the lease contract or implied by the law, empowers all tenants to use leased estate without any interference from a landlord (Twomey & Jennings, 2008). If this right is infringed in any way, a breach of the lease agreement is established, and a landlord is required to recover any damages resulting from the illegal actions.
In the case of Larry Landlord and Roger Tenant, the duty to transfer possession of the leased premises was duly executed by the owner. The facts show that Roger Renter did not suffer any difficulties with previous tenants; neither did he have problems with acquiring the possession of the apartment from the landlord. Therefore, he can rent the apartment until the lease expires, but later he will be removed from it by the judicial proceedings (Twomey & Jennings, 2008). However, the fact that Larry Landlord did nothing to repair the leak in the roof of the apartment may give rise to the constructive eviction, which is a situation when a tenant cannot use leased premises due to the actions of landlord (Beatty & Samuelson, 2016). In such case, the landlord’s actions could be illegal and entitle the tenant to damages. Nevertheless, the essential element of the constructive eviction is the fact that the conditions are so awful or impossible to live in that a tenant is forced to leave the leased property (Twomey & Jennings, 2008). Thus, since Roger Renter continued to live in the apartment regardless of its defects, his right of quiet enjoyment was not infringed.
The major responsibility of a tenant is paying rent. Along with a right to use leased premises, a tenant receives an obligation to pay compensation to the landlord for the use of property (Beatty & Samuelson, 2016). The rent amount and time when it should be paid are usually stipulated by the lease agreement. However, if specific rent control laws are enacted in the particular jurisdiction, these conditions may be subject to governmental regulations (Twomey & Jennings, 2008). In the analyzed case, Roger Renter and Larry Landlord agreed that the rent should amount to $800 and had to be paid once a month. As the facts of the case show, the tenant paid the monthly rent on time and the landlord did not have any complains in this regard. Thus, the tenant complied with the requirement of paying rent and did not breach this condition of the lease agreement.
Both landlord and tenant have mutual duties regarding the maintenance of the leasehold property. Unless the parties agree otherwise, a landlord has a legal duty to make any repairs that are necessary to keep the estate in usable conditions. Additionally, when leased premises are residential, a landlord has to keep the premises habitable. Moreover, a landlord must ensure that the leased property is in an appropriate condition for comfortable living of a tenant (Twomey & Jennings, 2008). Tenants are obliged to keep leased premises clean and are not obligated to repair it. However, tenants are liable for any damage they cause to the leased property (Beatty & Samuelson, 2016). Hence, Larry Landlord was obliged to repair the leaking roof to provide Roger Renter with habitable conditions. The tenant, in turn, had an obligation to take care of the leased property and avoid causing any damage to it. Nevertheless, both parties breached their duties, which led to the dispute between them.
A duty to mitigate damages is a well-established principle of the contract law, which is one of the legal areas included in the landlord-tenant law. In accordance with this rule, parties to a contract are obliged to take actions, which are necessary to reduce their own damages as much as possible. However, the aggrieved party bears such duty, i.e., the one suffering the losses connected to the breach of the other party (Kelly, 2011). Therefore, in the conflict between Larry Landlord and Roger Renter, both of them had a legal responsibility to keep their losses at minimum. Roger Renter was obliged to mitigate damages to his own property. Larry Landlord, in turn, was responsible for mitigating his losses but did nothing to repair the leak in the roof and avoid damage. Thus, Roger Renter is entitled to receive a refund for his ruined furniture and other personal property since he notified the landlord and moved his furniture away from the leak in the roof. Larry Landlord, however, cannot sue the tenant for any damages resulting from the leak due to own reluctance to mitigate damages.
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The duty to recover damages is also a mutual obligation of both parties, according to the lease contract. On the one hand, as it was stated above, a landlord might be obliged to reimburse the losses a tenant experienced due to illegal eviction. In addition, a landlord also may be held liable for failing to provide habitable living conditions for a tenant. Roger, on the other hand, is responsible for any significant damage that was caused to the leased property, other than normal wear (Beatty & Samuelson, 2016). Thus, Roger Renter has a duty to reimburse Larry Landlord for damages he caused by breaking the drywall. Regardless him claiming that it was a result of the landlord’s behavior, Roger Renter, as a tenant, is liable for the damage he/she caused to the leased property. Hence, even though this damage was caused negligently, it should be compensated (Twomey & Jennings, 2008). As for the liability of the landlord, he is obliged to reimburse Roger Renter for personal items ruined by the leak in the roof.
The state law usually governs grounds for eviction and its process. The basic cause for legal eviction is a failure to pay rent. In such case, a landlord is entitled to start eviction procedure by sending a termination notice to a tenant. The procedure is followed by a court hearing (Beatty & Samuelson, 2016). However, in accordance with the facts of the case, Roger Renter duly performed this duty. Another reason for eviction may be a major damage to the landlord’s property. For instance, if the case under consideration was governed by the state law adopted based on the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act 1974, damaging an electrical socket would constitute a breach of the duty to maintain the apartment. Nevertheless, eviction process should follow specific legal procedures as described above. Otherwise, it will be illegal (Twomey & Jennings, 2008). If after receiving the notice, Roger Renter did not recover the damage he caused, the landlord would be entitled to evict the tenant.
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To conclude, both Larry Landlord and Roger Renter breached their duties under the landlord-tenant law and, thus, infringed other party’s rights. The landlord, unlike the tenant, failed to mitigate the damage from the leaking roof and cannot claim any losses in this regard. Nevertheless, Roger Renter still can be evicted for damaging electrical appliances of the apartment if he does not fix it. In addition, both parties have an obligation to recover the damage they caused to one another. In this respect, the damage caused by the tenant cannot be justified by the landlord’s actions or omissions.