How Much Do You Know About Renters' Rights?

survey compares landlords renters knowledge
By Carey Armstrong

Whether you are a renter, or perhaps you have recently become a landlord, how much do you really know about your legal rights and responsibilities? The U.S. Census Bureau estimates there are more than 100 million people living in rental housing in America today, which is just less than one-third of the population. Even as demand for rentals remains strong, a recent survey by Zillow and Ipsos shows confusion is high around basic rental laws among many renters and landlords*.

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What exactly do renters and landlords lack an understanding about?

What most know:

Most people seem to have plenty of knowledge about things like:

• Who's responsible for rental repairs and maintenance.
• What constitutes discriminatory advertising.
• How to end a month-to-month rental agreement.

What most don't know:

Surprisingly, there are many important laws about which both renters and landlords have the least knowledge:

82% of renters / 76% of landlords lack understanding of laws on security deposits, credit and background checks.

77% of renters / 69% of landlords lack understanding of privacy and access rights.

62% of renters / 50% of landlords lack understanding of laws on early lease termination.

4 in 5 renters lack understanding of laws on security deposits, credit and background checks

3 in 4 renters lack understanding of privacy rights

3 in 5 renters lack understanding of laws on early lease termination

An online version of the Zillow Rentals survey is available at Zillow Rental IQ Quiz, and contains the correct answers and detailed explanations to each question.

Zillow has tools and apps for both renters and landlords. Renters can find the information they need to find and secure a great rental on® and with the Zillow Rentals App. Landlords can use Postlets® and the Postlets App to publish their listings to the Zillow Rental Network, the largest rental network on the Web in the U.S. comprised of the millions of rentals shoppers on and Yahoo!

*Definition Note: This survey included those who rent the home they live in ("renters") and those who own the home they live in and own one or more additional homes, which they rent to a tenant ("landlords").

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