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Demand for residential rentals in the United States is strong but there is a great deal of confusion over existing rental laws among many landlords and tenants, a new survey has found.

Overall some 82% of tenants and 76% of landlords lack understanding of laws on security deposits, credit and background checks, the latest Zillow Rentals survey shows.

It also found that 77% of tenants and 69% of landlords lack understanding of privacy and access rights while 62% of tenants and 50% of landlords lack understanding of laws on early lease termination.

Tenants and landlords alike demonstrated the least amount of knowledge around credit and background checks, security deposits, early lease termination, and privacy and access rights. Both tenants and landlords showed the most knowledge around discriminatory advertising for rentals, responsibility for repairs and maintenance, and requirements around terminating month to month agreements.

‘It's concerning that so many renters and landlords are signing a legal contract without fully understanding their basic rights. In doing so, landlords and renters could be setting themselves up for future disputes and legal costs,’ said Carey Armstrong, director of rentals at Zillow.

‘While rental laws vary by state and local jurisdiction, there are some important rules that affect just about everybody. Every landlord and tenant should take time to research and understand their rights,’ Carey added.

The details shows that 82% of tenants and 76% of landlords said they believe the landlord has 60 days after a lease ends to refund a security deposit or provide an itemized deduction statement and refund the balance when in fact in most States security deposits must be returned between 14 and 30 days.

Some 62% of tenants and half of landlords said the landlord has the right to terminate a lease in order to rent the home to his or her family member when in fact landlords may not evict a tenant during the term of the lease simply because they would prefer to rent the unit to a friend or family member, or even to someone willing to pay higher rent.

Also 76% of landlords and 82% of tenants believes that a landlord has the right to reject any rental application on the basis of a prior conviction for illegal drug use. In reality, while landlords do have the right to reject applications for criminal convictions of many kinds, they may not reject an applicant on the basis of a conviction for drug use. They can, however, reject a person who has been convicted of manufacturing or selling drugs, or who currently uses illegal drugs.

This article was republished with permission from Property Wire.