Basic Things You Need To Know Before Becoming a Tenant

In the past, people considered buying a property as a normal thing that adults did. Owning a home was the thing to do, and opting not to buy was something controversial. However, these days, homeownership is an elusive concept for many people because of rising prices, a struggling economy, and changing social norms. Many people find it more convenient to rent. Being a tenant offers flexibility that homeownership does not. Before becoming a tenant, there are several things you need to know, including:

The responsibilities of a tenant

You need to understand that when you move into a property as a tenant, keep it in the best condition possible. When you move out, the property should be in the same condition as when you moved in apart from things like reasonable wear and tear. Therefore, it is your responsibility to treat the house with respect. If damage happens because of your actions, you must inform the landlord so he/she can perform the repairs.

At the beginning of your tenancy, make sure that you and the landlord or property manager conduct a thorough inventory. You will agree on the condition of the property and the items in it. The inventory can help remedy or prevent disputes when the lease ends.

You need to adhere to the terms and conditions of the lease. Therefore, it is crucial to read the document thoroughly before you sign it. If you are unsure about anything, seek clarifications from the landlord. As a tenant, you are also liable for the conduct of everyone you invite into the property. If your visitors damage the property, you will be responsible for it. Remember that the landlord has the right to evict you if you invite troublemakers into the property or use it for illegal activities.

Renters’ insurance

When signing the lease, find out about the renter’s insurance requirements. Many contracts stipulate that tenants should take out an insurance policy before they are allowed to move in. The policies on offer differ and may offer coverage for loss of your belongings only or destruction to the property as well. Renters insurance can also provide coverage if a person claims to have sustained injuries when in your apartment because of negligence on your part. Your landlord also needs to have specific landlord insurance or building’s insurance, at least. It is essential to ask if your landlord has sufficient insurance coverage. If your landlord is fully insured, then you can rest assured that if an accident, such as a slip and fall occurs because of poor lighting, uneven floors, or torn carpeting, your medical treatment expenses will be covered.

Your deposit

This is the amount of money tenants pay at the beginning of a tenancy to provide financial security for the property owner in case they breach the terms of the lease. If you damage the property during your tenancy, the landlord can keep all or some of the deposit and use it for repairs. The landlord can also use the deposit for cleaning once you move out. If you leave the property clean, undamaged and owing no rent, the landlord can refund your deposit.

The responsibilities of the landlord

Landlords have several responsibilities to tenants. The lease usually clarifies these responsibilities, and they typically include.

  • Regular safety checks on electricity, gas, and related appliances.
  • Timely and proper repair and maintenance of structural and electrical issues and internal elements like heaters, plumbing, and showers/toilets.
  • Providing an energy performance certificate containing details on the energy rating and the cost of the property.
  • Providing a rent book if tenants make weekly rental payments.

The rights of the tenant

You have the right to enjoy living in the property and privacy. This means that the property owner is not allowed to come around announced or harass you. The landlord can increase the rent when renewing your lease or at any time if your tenancy is periodic. A majority of leases stipulate the need to inspect the property occasionally, but the landlord should provide you with a notice at least one day before the visit.

As a tenant, you also reserve the right to fulfill any notice period stipulated in the lease. If the agreement has a clause saying that the landlord must notify you of the upcoming end of your tenancy two months in advance, he or she should uphold that. The landlord should not make you leave before your lease ends. Similarly, you need to uphold the same values as a tenant and provide the landlord with proper notices depending on the stipulations in your lease.

If you enter into a fixed-term lease, you are entitled to fixed rent. This means that the landlord should not increase the rent unless you sign a contract agreeing to this.

Leaving the property

When the lease expires, the landlord may offer you a lease renewal or you may opt to move out. If you continue living in the property, you need to notify the landlord at least 28 days in advance in writing prior to the end of a fixed-term lease or 21 days for a periodic lease.

Unexpected events can cause you to leave the property before the lease expires. Unfortunately, you may have to compensate the landlord for losing income after you end the tenancy agreement early. These expenses may include advertising fees, re-letting fees, and rent until the landlord finds another tenant.

Paying rent

The lease should state the method of paying rent. Some approved methods might include cash, check, credit card, and electronic bank transfers. If you pay with cash, the property owner or manager should give you a receipt.

What you cannot do without permission

The lease should state what you cannot do without consent from the landlord. Tenants usually need permission from the property owner to keep pets and make changes to the property, such as doing minor renovations and painting walls.

Having a good relationship with neighbors is vital

As a tenant, it is valuable to establish a good relationship with neighbors. This is especially the case when residing in an apartment complex where the landlord manages several properties. When your neighbors know you, they are likelier to raise issues like loud music or other noise directly with you instead of reporting you to the landlord or security personnel.

When planning to rent a property, you need to know many things apart from paying rent. You should be aware of the stipulations in the lease, your responsibilities, and those of the landlord and how to live in harmony with other tenants. By being well informed about your obligations and rights as a tenant, you can rise and defend yourself confidently when necessary. Your tenancy can also be stress-free when you know what the property owner expects of you.