A Second Chance for Innovation — Foreign Inspiration for the Revised Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act
69 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2013 Last revised: 23 Jun 2015
During the 1960s and 1970s, American residential landlord and tenant law experienced a "revolution" that dramatically transformed the rights of residential tenants. The promulgation of the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA) in 1972 marked the revolution’s culmination by recasting the residential lease as contract rather than conveyance, codifying the implied warranty of habitability, and modernizing landlord-tenant law in a number of important ways. Despite the fact that many of the changes brought about during the American landlord-tenant revolution had been in place in Europe for decades, if not centuries, the drafting of the URLTA was undertaken with little, if any, comparative research into the residential tenancy laws of foreign jurisdictions, with the result that American landlord-tenant law remains decidedly insular. However, the Uniform Law Commission’s recent call for comprehensive revision of the ULRTA represents a second chance for American landlord-tenant law to benefit from comparative exploration. This Article seeks to take advantage of this second chance, and to that end looks abroad to European jurisdictions’ treatment of landlord-tenant rights in the residential lease.
Keywords: lease, landlord, tenant, comparative, comparative law, functionalism, URLTA, Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, warranty of habitability, security of tenure, unfair contract, France, England
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