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Montana Landlord-Tenant Laws

Montana Landlord Tenant LawsThis article is intended to be an online resource for Montana landlords.  We summarize key Montana Landlord-Tenant laws that are most applicable to residential rental units.

This article is not qualified for legal advice.  Individuals seeking guidance need to work with a legal advisor who is qualified in the jurisdiction.  Montana Landlord Tenant Laws and statutes may vary from county to county or city to city, this article provides state-level laws and statutes. 

Also, laws and statutes are subject to change and may cause sections of this article to be outdated.  We provide links to assist landlords and tenants to the state statute page for further research.

Click here if you are seeking renters insurance in Montana.

 

Quick Facts for Real Estate Investors Considering Montana

Montana landlord-tenant laws are considered Landlord-friendly.

There are 1.1 million residents in Montana.  Major metropolitan markets in Montana are:

  1. Billings: Estimated population of 181,667, which 31% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $840.
  2. Great Falls: Estimated population of 81,366, which 31% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $689.
  3. Missoula: Estimated population of 119,600, which 42% of residents are renter occupied.  Average rent is $783.

 

 

 

SECURITY DEPOSIT LAWS IN MONTANA

 

Does Montana require security deposits? 

Montana does not require security deposits.

 

Is a security deposit receipt required in Montana? 

No Statute.

 

How much security deposit can a landlord charge in Montana? 

No Statute.  Montana does not define a maximum deposit limit.

 

 

Storage Requirements for Security Deposits in Montana: 

No Statute.

 

 

Can security deposits be commingled with other assets in Montana? 

Landlords can commingle deposits with their personal assets.

 

Do landlords have to pay interest on security deposits in Montana? 

Landlords do not have to share interest, interest earned is the property of the landlord.

 

 

When must a landlord return the deposit by in Montana? 

Landlords must return the security deposits within 10 days if there are no damages.  Must be mailed to the address provided by the tenant or their last known address.  If damages or cleaning is needed, landlords have 30 days to complete repairs and return the balance. (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-25-202(1))

 

 

When can a landlord in Montana withhold a security deposit?

At the end of a lease, the landlord is required to return the tenant’s security deposit.  However, landlords may withhold all or portions of a tenant’s security deposit for (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-25-201(1)):

 

  • Unpaid rent and/or fees
  • Unpaid utilities
  • “Penalties due under lease provisions”
  • Cleaning expenses that include a reasonable charge for the landlord’s labor.  The landlord must send written notice to the tenant specifying which cleaning is not done and will need to be in order for the property to be brought back to its original condition before tenant occupancy.  (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-25-201(3))

 

 

 

Nonrefundable fees: 

Not allowed.  Any fees or charges for cleaning and damages, no matter how designated, is presumed to be a security deposit.  (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-25-101(4))

 

Pet Deposits and Additional Fees:

Pet deposits are subject to the same rules and regulations of security deposits.  Pet deposits are not allowed to be non-refundable, but landlords are allowed to charge higher rent amount due to pets.  (Montana Landlord Tenant Guide, page 15)

 

Require a written description / itemized list of damages and charges?

Landlords are required to provide written and itemized list of damages within 30 days of the tenancy’s termination.  The detailed list of charges must be accompanied with the balance of security deposit.   (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-25-202)

 

What happens to Montana landlords that fail to comply with returning the security deposit?

Landlords who fail to comply with returning security deposit by the deadline forfeit their right to withhold any of the security deposit.  (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-25-203)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RENTAL AGREEMENT LAWS IN MONTANA

 

Rental agreements required in Montana:

Rental agreements are required for leases 12 months or longer.  We always recommend having a legal lease agreement to prevent future complications.

If you need a lease, Burbz offers an online Montana rental lease agreement.

 

What are the required lease provisions in Montana?

Montana requires certain provisions to be included in the lease agreement.  Besides both the landlord and tenant names, the landlord should also list (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-301):

  • Must:  Landlords name, address and phone number
  • Address of rental property
  • Rent Amount and Due Date.  A grace period, if any is included.
  • Security deposit amount and terms
  • Length of the lease agreement
  • Condition of occupancy
  • Adequate description of premises/property
  • Process for requesting maintenance and repairs
  • Subleasing policy
  • Landlord’s responsibilities for maintenance and utilities
  • Tenant’s responsibilities for maintenance and utilities
  • Late Fees and Penalties
  • Pet policies
  • Cleaning Fees
  • Other fees

 

Landlords cannot include :

  • Tenant agrees to waive or forego rights or remedies
  • Tenant confesses judgment on a claim arising out of the rental agreement
  • Tenant indemnify or limits the liability of the landlord, including costs or attorney fees
  • Requiring an electronic mail address to enter into a lease agreement.  This can be given voluntarily.
  • Penalty:  Tenants may recover actual damages, an amount up to 3 months’ periodic rent if the landlord includes provisions that are prohibited.  (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-403)

 

 

What are the rental agreement notice requirements in Montana: 

Fixed-End or Year-to-Year: Both lease types expire and do not require any notice.

Month-to-Month: Must provide at least 30 day’s written notice prior to a periodic rent due date.  (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-441)  Read our guide on Month-to-Month rent.

Week-to-Week: Must provide at least 7 day’s written notice prior to a periodic rent due date.  (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-441)

 

 

What happens when the tenant remains without consent after the rental agreement expires or terminates?

Landlords bring an action for possession if the tenant remains.  Holdover in bad faith, the landlord may recover up to 3 month’s periodic rent or treble damages.  Whichever is greater.  Landlords need to follow civil procedures in Title 25(Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-441)

 

 

Does the lease automatically renew in Montana? 

Leases will expire upon the stated end date in the lease.

 

Rent Increase Notice:

No Statute for standard rent increases.  However, landlords are required to provide 30 days’ notice for month-to-month and 7 days for week-to-week tenancy.  (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-311)

 

Rent Grace Period for Residential:

Montana does not have a grace period.  Landlord is allowed to begin the eviction process the day is delinquent.

 

 

Prepaid Rent:

No Statute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LATE FEES AND LIMITS IN MONTANA

Late Fees for Residential:

Landlords can charge a late fee / penalty.  Montana does not define a maximum.  The late fee should be stated in the lease agreement. 

 

 

 

 

MONTANA LEASE TERMINATIONS / NOTICES TO QUIT

 

In Montana, lease agreements between landlords and tenants can be terminated.  Read our blog for landlords about handling early lease terminations.  Here are the cause and effects:

 

What is the Pay or Quit for Nonpayment requirement in Montana?

Montana requires the landlord to send a 3 day notice.  If rent is not paid, the landlord may terminate the rental agreement.  (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-422(2))

 

 

How many days must a landlord allow before terminating for a Lease Violation?

Montana has different durations based on the violation type (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-422):

  • Unauthorized Pet: 3 day notice
  • Unauthorized Persons Residing:  3 days notice
  • Non-Pet or Unauthorized Person: 14 days notice
  • Reoccurance of Violation:  If the same violation, or substantially the same, reoccurs within a 6 month period, the landlord may terminate the lease agreement with a written 5 day notice.

 

 

Montana allows immediate lease termination if the tenant is responsible for:

There are no immediate lease terminations stated in Montana laws.  However, landlords can terminate a lease with 5-day written notice if a tenant has violated the same lease clause twice in a 6 month period.  (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-422)

 

 

 

 

MONTANA LAWS ON REPAIRS

 

Montana requires landlords to provide a habitable property for tenants to live and enjoy.  There are specific provisions defining how tenants can remedy repairs if the landlord fails to do so. 

How many days must the tenant give for non-emergency repairs? 

Tenants must provide written notice and allow the landlord 14 days for needed repairs. Inthe case of an emergency, landlords have 3 working days to remedy the situation.   (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-303)

 

Can tenants withhold rent for landlords’ failure to provide essential services (i.e. water, heat, etc.)?

Montana allows tenants to pay for repairs that cost less than 1 month’s rent and deduct from rent.  For emergency repairs, tenants must hire somebody who is qualified to make repairs.  If the same repair issue has recurred in the previous 6 months, the tenant may terminate the lease agreement with at 14 days written notice.   (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-303)

 

 

 

 

MONTANA LANDLORD LAWS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

 

Landlords have an obligation to the tenants, which include:

  • Comply with all applicable building and housing codes affecting health and safety
  • Not knowingly allow any tenant who may have the reasonable potential to damage the premises or injurying neighboring tenants
  • Shall make reapirs and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition
  • Keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition
  • Provide and maintain appropriate receptacles for ashes, garbage, rubbish.
  • Install an approved carbon monxide detector in each dwelling unit

 

According to (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-303)

 

 

MONTANA TENANT LAWS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

 

Tenants must dispose of all rubbish and garbage, refrain from unreasonable use of electrical, heating, and plumbing fixtures, meet all obligations lawfully by the code enforcement agency, refrain from willfully destroying or damaging the structure, take in additional occupants, rent or sublease without the owner’s consent.  (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-321)

 

 

 

 

 

MONTANA EVICTION LAWS

 

Can landlords do a ‘self help’ eviction?

In Montana, it is illegal for landlords to cause the tenant to quit the rental unit involuntarily.  Landlords are deemed guilty of forcible entry and detainer.  (Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 441.233)

Are landlords allowed to lock out tenants by changing locks?

The landlord cannot change or remove the doors or locks.  (Landlord-Tenant: Know the Rules)

Are landlords allowed to turn off utilities?

Landlords cannot turn off utilities. (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-428)

 

Do landlords have to make a reasonable attempt to mitigate damages when re-renting the rental unit?

Yes.  Landlords must make reasonable efforts to mitigate damages. (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-426(3))

 

 

 

MONTANA LAWS ON RETALIATION

 

Montana laws state a landlord cannot terminate a lease, refuse a lease renewal or raise rents when:

  • Tenant submitted, or threatened to, a complaint to government agency for building or health code violation
  • Tenant has sent written complaints to the landlords about repairs
  • Tenant has organized or joined a tenants’ union, or similar organization

Montana defines a period of 6 months that would result in a retaliatory action.  (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-431)

 

 

 

 

LAWS ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, AND SEXUAL ASSAULT

 

Montana has no statutes to protect a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, or stalking.  Burbz encourages landlords to work with these victims in good faith and help prevent or reduce the situation.  This includes changing locks or letting the victim out of their lease agreement to find a safer home.

If you are a victim, please search The Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence site for a help line:

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673

 

 

 

MONTANA LAWS FOR LOCKS AND LANDLORDS

Montana does not have any statewide laws regarding locks for landlords.  Tenant cannot remove, replace or add a lock without the written permission from the landlord.  If the tenant does with permission, they must provide the landlord with a key.  (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-312)

 

 

 

 

MONTANA PET LAWS & PET POLICIES

Montana Landlord-Tenant Laws does not have any specific pet laws.  Landlords are legally allowed to create their own pet policies and requirements.  Including tolerance for breeds, size, types, and more.  Read our guide to pet policies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DO LANDLORDS IN MONTANA NEED A RENTAL LICENSE?

 

According to Montana Landlord-Tenant Laws, landlords do not need a rental license in Montana.

Landlords and owners of residential rental property do not need to register the property.  Local cities may have different requirements, we recommend you research the local city-specific laws. Baltimore in particular has regulations for licensing.

 

 

 

 

 

NOTICE OF ENTRY LAWS IN MONTANA

Do landlords in Montana have to provide notice of entry? 

Montana requires the landlord to provide at least 24 hours notice of the intent to enter, only at reasonable times. This includes:

  • Non-emergency maintenance and repairs
  • Improvements to property
  • Inspections
  • Showing prospective tenants, contractors, mortgagees or buyers.

 

When can a landlord enter without notice:

Landlords maybe enter due to an emergency.  (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-312(2))

 

 

Can landlords enter for non-emergency maintenance and repairs?

Yes, with proper notice.  (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-312)

 

 

Can landlords enter for showings?

Yes, with proper notice.  (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-312)

 

 

 

Can landlords enter for emergencies without notice?

Yes.  (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-312(2))

 

 

Can landlords enter during Tenant’s extended absence?

Yes, when the tenant has abandoned or surrendered the premises.  (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-312(4)(c))

 

 

 

 

 

 

MONTANA SUBLEASE AND ASSIGNMENT PROVISIONS

Landlords should include a clause in the lease agreement to prevent subleasing.  Landlords may evict a tenant for subletting or earning rent without the knowledge and consent of the landlord.

 

 

 

 

TENANT ABANDONED PROPERTY IN MONTANA

 

Montana Landlord-Tenant Laws states that if the rental agreement requires the tenants to give notice of of anticipated extended absense of 7 days and fail to do so, the landlord may recover actual damages from the tenant.  During the abense, landlords may enter the rental unit at times reasonably necessary.  (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-426(2))

Landlords must inventory and store all abandoned personal property of reasonable value in a place of safekeeping.  Landlords may charge a reasonable storage and labor charge if the property is stored by the landlord, plus the cost of removal.

 

Landlords shall make a reasonable attempt to notify the tenant in writing via certified mail to their last-known address with a 10 day notice that the property will be disposed or removed.  Landlords can sell the property publicly or private.  Landlords can deduct proceeds from the sale to offset delinquent rent or damages and remit the remaining proceeds to the tenant.  (Mont. Ann. Code §§70-24-430)

 

 

 

 

REQUIRED RENTAL AGREEMENT DISCLOSURES FOR MONTANA LEASES

 

Montana Landlord-Tenant Laws requires the following be included with all Rental Agreement Disclosures:

 

Lead Paint Disclosure:  Yes.  Federal law requires every landlord to disclose known information on lead-based paint and hazards.  Landlords must provide this EPA-approved pamphlet.

Name and Address of Owners: The landlord must disclose in writing the name and address of the property owner and property manager.  (Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 535.185)

 

 

HELPFUL RESOURCES

Mont. Ann. Code §§ 70-24 – Chapter 24 – Residential Landlord and Tenant Act of 1977

Mont. Ann. Code §§70-25 – Chapter 25 – Residential Tenants’ Security Deposits

Mont. Ann. Code §§70-33 – Chapter 33 – Montana Residential Home Mobile Home Lot Rental Act

Landlord-Tenant: Know the Rules – Montana Department of Justice

Montana Tenant-Landlord Guide – Montana Public Interest Research Group

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Montana

Montana Housing

Montana Fair Housing

 

 

MONTANA RELATED COURT INFO & LINKS

 

Montana Small Claims Court Limits:

$7,000 is the limit for small claims court. (Mont. Ann. Code §§25-35-502)

 

 

Montana Eviction Cases Allowed in Small Claims:

Yes.

Small Claims Court – Montana Department of Justice

Montana Judicial Branch

Montana District Courts

State Bar of Montana

 

 

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