Outline of Tenant Rights and Responsibilities
When a tenant agrees to a lease for a rental property, they are agreeing to take care of certain rights and responsibilities while they occupy the premises. Many of these duties are specifically outlined in the rental agreement, but even when they are not, there are certain duties that a tenant must fulfill. Here is a brief outline of those tenant rights and responsibilities, although some landlord/tenant laws may have specific duties not listed here.
1. The Need To Take Care Of The Rental Property.
Tenants are responsible for maintaining a safe and healthy environment. This means not allowing trash to build-up, maintaining the interior of the home, and either repairing or requesting maintenance for issues that come up. Allowing a known water leak to remain unreported, for example, would be considered a breach of a tenant's responsibilities.
2. The Need To Allow Appropriate Access To Property Owners Or Their Agents.
Property owners have the right to view the status of their property with proper notice. Many will inspect properties on a regular basis and tenants must provide this access if notice has been given. Tenants do have a right to peacefully enjoy the property, however, so limiting inspections to once every 1-3 months is generally considered a best practice.
3. The Responsibility To Restore a Property Minus Normal Wear And Tear.
This is usually the most disputed tenant right and responsibility. Normal wear and tear is very different for certain types of tenants. A household with 4 children and 3 dogs will have different wear and tear on a home than someone living on their own. This must be taken into consideration for the security deposit and how much must be paid to repair items.
4. A Duty To Pay Rent On Time.
Tenants must pay rent at their designated time. A failure to do so allows the eviction process to begin, even if the rent is just 24 hours late in some jurisdictions.
5. The Responsibility To Provide Proper Notice.
Tenants are in an at-will arrangement, which means they can choose to break the rental agreement if they wish. It is a contract, however, which means there are legal consequences to this choice which may include financial penalties that must be paid.
This outline of tenant rights and responsibilities should not be considered a comprehensive guide. It is a brief overview of what landlords should expect from their tenants.
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