Tenant and landlord rights an important subject for SD residents

RAPID CITY, S.D.– When pandemic-related eviction moratoriums ended, many renters were faced with the very real threat of eviction. In light of this, one local group wants to make sure renters know their rights and responsibilities, and those of their landlords.

By summer of 2021, East River Legal Services saw a 50% increase in people facing eviction notices ahead of the moratorium deadline. On Sunday, representatives were on-hand to remind residents of the rights they have as tenants in the state.

“We want to bring awareness to what is happening in terms of the housing crisis,” Attorney KyLee Manthei said. “And what tenants have for rights to make sure that they are not being unfairly evicted or removed from a premises.”

According to Manthei, all renters should be especially mindful of the following: a habitable dwelling, how to get security deposits back, when and why they are kept, along with the differences between being served an eviction notice and three-day notice.

In Pennington county, residents are responsible to alert their landlords of disrepair in their unit in writing, such as text or email. Immediate action is required in the event of issues with utilities such as heat and water.

If repairs are not made by the scheduled date, then residents have the right to either leave the unit or make repairs themselves and subtract costs from their rent.

Security deposits are paid upon moving in.. And should be returned upon moving out. Landlords keeping the deposit must send a statement explaining why it was not returned within two weeks of the tenant leaving. Renters may also request a statement explaining how the deposit was spent.

As for evictions and three-day notices, the notice usually arrives first. This gives tenants time to sort things and find a new place out or negotiate with the landlord. With an eviction, a formal complaint and summons usually follows. Not responding in time to the eviction can have potential consequences

“It’s important to respond to those summons and complaints because a default proceeding could begin if it’s not responded to in the proper amount of time. And so then, if your landlord goes forward with a default, then your voice is not heard in front of a judge. So, it’s always important to make sure you read everything.”

East River Legal Services will also be at the Rapid City Public Library on Monday, February 7 from 11:15 am to 4:00 pm to talk with tenants. Manthei will be available to talk with residents about any problems they are having or help them find any resources they need.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News