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About Private Tenants' Housing Rights

    Fair Housing

    • The federal Fair Housing Act provides protection for tenants from discrimination by landlords based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability. Complaints of alleged housing discrimination should be filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    Habitability and Quiet Enjoyment

    • Habitability is another right tenants have in every state. The home must be safe and compliant with health and building codes. Generally, tenants are responsible for minor repairs. Landlords must also provide quiet enjoyment. This is the tenant's right to live undisturbed. For example, most state statutes specify the time of day repairs can be made.


    • Eviction processes vary considerably among the states. Tenants should be aware of their local statutes and ordinances if they are facing eviction to ensure the landlord follows the process. Landlords may never "self help" or enter a property and evict the tenant. There must always be a court order of eviction and writ of possession enforced by law enforcement.

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