10 Most Tenant Friendly States 2024

By: ROS Team

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Are you a renter looking for a state that prioritizes your rights and well-being? This post is your guide to the most tenant friendly states in the US for 2024. We’ll explore the factors that make a state renter-centric, from strong eviction protections and security deposit regulations to rent control measures.

What Makes a State Landlord Friendly?

Several factors contribute to a state being considered tenant-friendly including:

Strong Tenant Protections: These laws establish a framework for fair treatment between tenants and landlords. Examples include:

Eviction Protections: These make it harder for landlords to evict tenants without a valid reason, like non-payment of rent or lease violations.
Security Deposit Regulations: Limits are placed on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit and outlines clear guidelines for when and how the deposit must be returned to the tenant.
Warranty of Habitability: Landlords are required to maintain the rental property in a safe and livable condition. This includes functioning plumbing, electrical systems, and addressing issues like mold or pest infestations.

Rent Control Measures: Some states, particularly those with high housing costs, implement rent control policies. This limits the amount a landlord can raise rent each year, offering tenants some protection against excessive rent hikes.

Top 10 Most Tenant Friendly States

1. Massachusetts

Massachusetts is widely known as the most tenant-friendly state in the US. Here, renters get a 30-day grace period for paying rent, meaning it’s not officially late until next month. Security deposits are capped at one month’s rent, though last month’s rent can be requested at lease signing.

Massachusetts State
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Eviction timelines range from 7 to 30 days before entering court files. For rent increases to be valid, landlords must provide proper notice, and tenants must agree by signing the lease. The State Sanitary Code ensures tenants’ health and safety. If a landlord neglects maintenance, tenants can withhold rent. Discrimination against rental subsidies, lead, or families with children is prohibited.

You can learn more about Massachusetts landlord-tenant laws and rights here.

2. Rhode Island

Rhode Island, another tenant-friendly state in the US, ensures fair treatment for renters. If a landlord plans to evict, they must give tenants at least five days’ notice, sometimes more.

Rhode Island
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Evictions here follow a strict legal process, needing a court order. Landlords can up the rent but must give tenants a heads-up of at least 30 days (60 for people over 62).

For weekly or monthly rentals, landlords must provide written notice 30 days in advance of any rent hike. Tenants have rights too; they can hold back rent or fix things themselves if landlords don’t handle important repairs.

You can learn more about Rhode Island landlord-tenant laws and rights here.

3. Oregon

Ranking in third place for tenant protections in Oregon. Here, renters enjoy some of the strongest rights in the country. The annual rent increase is capped at 10% in 2024, giving tenants more predictability in their housing costs. Landlords must also respect tenant privacy with at least 24 hours’ notice for entering the property, except in emergencies.

Oregon State
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After a tenancy ends, the landlord has a 31-day window to return the security deposit and any prepaid rent. Oregon also implements a tiered system for late rent payments. Landlords can issue a 144-hour notice to pay or vacate if rent is five days late, but this timeframe shortens to a 72-hour notice if the delay reaches eight days.

Finally, tenants are afforded ample notice when a month-to-month lease termination is initiated. Landlords must provide 30 days written notice, and this extends to 60 days if the tenant has resided in the unit for over a year.

You can learn more about Oregon landlord-tenant laws and rights here.

4. Delaware

Delaware falls somewhere in the middle of the tenant-landlord spectrum. Renters in the state have certain protections. Landlords can’t spring surprise rent increases during a lease term, and even for month-to-month rentals, they must provide 60 days written notice.

Delaware
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Additionally, tenants have some time to cure violations before facing eviction – five days for late rent and seven days to fix other lease breaches. However, Delaware law also allows tenants the right to fight eviction, even if the landlord has a legitimate reason for eviction. This means tenants have some recourse to stay in their homes.

You can learn more about Delaware landlord-tenant laws and rights here.

5. California

California offers a robust set of protections for renters. By law, tenants can withhold rent if repairs go unaddressed, ensuring landlords prioritize maintaining habitable living conditions. Additionally, California mandates lengthy notice periods before a landlord can terminate tenancy, giving tenants ample time to find a new place.

California State
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Security deposit return is also strictly regulated, with landlords required to provide a detailed breakdown of any deductions within 21 days of move-out. Furthermore, California offers strong protections against retaliation evictions, prohibiting landlords from evicting or refusing lease renewals due to a tenant reporting domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking.

You can learn more about California landlord-tenant laws and rights here.

6. New York

New York offers a robust set of protections for tenants, especially for those in rent-regulated apartments. Rent increases are strictly controlled, with initial rent and subsequent hikes determined by law and open to tenant challenges. Landlords can no longer exploit vacancy loopholes to jack up rents by 20%.

New York State
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Even late fees are capped at a modest $50 or 5% of monthly rent. Senior citizens and disabled tenants in specific housing types may qualify for rent increase exemptions.

Security deposit return follows a swift 14-day window for non-rent regulated units. Notably, senior citizens in rent-controlled apartments and some rent-stabilized units outside NYC enjoy eviction protection even if the landlord seeks to occupy the unit themselves.

You can learn more about New York landlord-tenant laws and rights here.

7. Minnesota

While Minnesota leans more landlord-friendly overall, there are some renter protections in place. Tenants under periodic lease agreements (often month-to-month) are guaranteed written notice from the landlord before a rent increase can occur.

Minnesota State
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Additionally, upon lease termination, landlords are required to return the security deposit with accrued interest within 21 days and provide a written explanation for any withholdings. Evictions require a formal court process. Minnesota also offers a unique benefit – a partial property tax refund for qualifying tenants based on income and rent paid.

You can learn more about Minnesota landlord-tenant laws and rights here.

8. Washington

Washington is another state that falls on the tenant-friendly side of the spectrum. Evictions follow a stricter process, with tenants entitled to a court hearing and a longer timeline compared to other states. This includes proper notice from the landlord, followed by a lawsuit filing and court involvement.

Washington State
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Even in non-payment cases, tenants have the right to bring up any counterclaims they may have against the landlord. Additionally, landlords cannot change the terms of the lease agreement mid-term but can adjust rent with proper notice for month-to-month tenancies. These regulations offer Washington renters greater security and time to address potential issues before facing eviction.

You can learn more about Washington landlord-tenant laws and rights here.

9. New Jersey

New Jersey offers a unique mix of protections for tenants. While there are no statewide rent control laws, over 100 municipalities have implemented their own policies, giving tenants in those areas some control over rent increases.

New Jersey State
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Security deposits also come with strong protections, requiring landlords to return them within 30 days, with an even faster 15-day window for victims of domestic violence. Evictions are another area where tenant rights are prioritized. Landlords cannot evict in retaliation for complaints or because of a tenant’s protected class. However, if a tenant engages in illegal activities, a three-day notice to quit can be issued.

You can learn more about New Jersey landlord-tenant laws and rights here.

10. Vermont

Vermont wraps up our list of most tenant friendly states in the United States. In the Green Mountain State, not only are application fees illegal, but landlords must also return security deposits with a detailed breakdown of deductions within 14 days of vacancy. Additionally, rent increases require a full 60-day notice, and repairs must be completed within 30 days.

Hawaii State
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Even evictions for non-payment of rent require a 14-day notice before the tenant is legally obligated to leave. While these regulations might seem strict, they create a predictable and secure environment for Vermont renters.

You can learn more about Vermont landlord-tenant laws and rights here.

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