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Real estate law, along with the tenant and landlord rights, varies considerably by jurisdiction. In general, however, landlord rights typically include the right to be paid rent in a timely manner, the right to screen tenants, the right to protect property, and the right to remove or evict troublesome tenants through the process of eviction. In the United States, landlord rights are established by federal, state and local laws.
Landlords typically have the right to screen tenants and are not required to rent their properties to just anyone who offers to pay rent. Landlords in the United States are generally free to decline a tenant's application on the basis of the tenant's financial situation, credit history, or criminal record. Landlords can, for example, request a tenant's credit report and decline the tenant's application because of a low credit score, even if the tenant makes enough money to cover the rent. Many countries, however — including the United States — have strict anti-discrimination laws in place that prohibit landlords from refusing to rent to people on the basis of gender, age, disability, race, or similar characteristics.
Tenants in the United States and the United Kingdom as well as other countries enjoy the right of "quiet enjoyment" of their rented homes. This means they have the right to be in their homes without interference by the landlord, and a landlord may have to give a tenant advance notice of his intention to enter a rental unit. Landlord rights, however, generally do include the right to take steps to protect rental homes. This includes to the right to carry out regular inspections of the property as well as to enter the property to make repairs. Many areas also allow landlords to enter the property without notice in cases of emergency, such as in cases wherein the landlord suspects flooding or burst pipes.
When tenants violate the terms of an oral or written lease, landlords typically have the right to evict the tenant. In many countries, including the United States, eviction is a formal legal procedure, designed to protect the rights of tenants from becoming homeless. Landlords must typically complete a lengthy process of informing tenants of their plans to have the tenants removed, filing court papers, going to court, and then waiting for the eviction to be completed by the sheriff. In many cases, eviction is a fairly quick process, providing that the landlord has grounds for an eviction and can prove them in court. Wily tenants, well-versed in tenant-landlord rights, can sometimes extend the process, however.
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