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Landlords and tenants are persons who enter into an agreement to rent property, such as a house or apartment. The owner of the property is the "landlord," or "lessor." The person who rents the property is the "tenant," or "lessee." The "tenancy" is the period of months or years the property is leased. This chapter covers issues relating to residential property leases, rather than commercial property (office building space, for example), although many of the same principles apply.

The landlord and tenant each have duties and responsibilities toward each other as well as duties to the property itself. Some of the duties are set out in the rental agreement. For example, the amount of rent the tenant must pay is a duty in the agreement. Other duties can be found in federal and states laws, such as prohibiting discrimination in renting certain properties. State laws may require landlords to make specific repairs. A wide range of contract provisions and legal regulations cover your obligations as both a landlord and tenant.