A summary of Montana Landlord Tenant Laws based on state law statutes as they apply to residential lease agreements executed between landlords and tenants.
Required Disclosures (by Landlords)
Move-in Checklist: Checklists are required when landlords collect a security deposit. (Mont. Code Ann. § 70-25-206)
Contact Information: A landlord or a person authorized to enter into a rental agreement on his behalf must disclose to the tenant in writing at or before the commencement of the tenancy the name and address of the person authorized to manage the premises; and the owner of the premises or a person authorized to act for the owner for the purpose of service of process and receiving notices and demands. (Mont. Code Ann. § 70-24-301)
Security Deposit Limit
Montana has no state law limiting security deposits. However, nonrefundable fees are not permitted. A fee or charge for cleaning and damages, no matter how designated, is presumed to be a security deposit. (Mon. Code Ann. § 70-25-101 (4)).
Deadline for Returning Security Deposit
Once the tenant has moved out and returned the keys, the landlord must return the deposit within 10 days if there are no deductions or 30 days if there are deductions (an itemized statement must be included). However, tenants must receive advance notice of a deduction for cleaning charges that are considered a result of tenant negligence.
Small Claims Lawsuits
Rental property disputes up to $7,000 may be filed in small claims court.
Montana does not have specific late fee legislation, so it is up to the landlord to have language in the lease agreement that allows for one to be charged.
Month-to-Month tenancies can only be changed with a 15 day notice. Longer term lease agreements must include rent increase language defining how much and when in order for it to be valid.
Tenant’s Right to Withhold Rent
The tenant has a right to take action to withhold rent or make necessary repairs and deduct the cost from the following month’s rent if the landlord fails to make repairs affecting the health and safety of the residents or the habitability of the premises. But the landlord msut be given a reasonable amount fo time to respond once they are notified of an important problem. For rent withholding, see Mont. Code Ann. § 70-24-421. To repair and deduct, see Mont. Code Ann. § 70-24-406 and Mont. Code Ann. § 70-24-408.
Termination and Eviction
An unconditional 5 day notice to quit can be used for a tenant repeating the same act, that constituted a lease violation and for which notice was given, within 6 months. Mont. Code Ann. § 70-24-422
An unconditional 3 day notice to quit may be used for an unauthorized pet or person living on premises; destroying or removing any part of the premises; being arrested for or charged with drug- or gang-related activity
Any other noncompliance with rental agreement that can’t be remedied or repaired allows for a tenant to be served with a 14 day notice to quit or face eviction.
Any other noncompliance that can be remedied may be given a 14 day notice to cure or quit.
Access to Property
A notice of 24 hours is required in order to enter property.
Montana Lease Agreement
Montana Landlord-Tenant Law Statutes
Montana Code Ann. §§ 70-24-101 to 70-27-117.