Tenant’s Obligation in Rented Houses
Tenant’s obligations are specific roles or responsibilities that the tenant agrees to play or perform at the inception of a tenancy, the tenants agree to or not to do certain things in writing before the landlord before possession is given for a rented apartment.
The obligations that the tenant bear is enshrined in the signed tenancy agreement, the agreement is produced in three copies, one copy to the landlord, another to the tenant and the last copy to the landlord’s lawyer or property manager. The tenant’s responsibility must be kept if peace is sought after in the rented apartment because many landlords would go all out to fight tenants who refuse to take up or perform agreed responsibility in a property.
The last option adopted by the landlord during default is outright quit notice which might happen as a shock to tenants who aren’t prepared (financially, mentally or otherwise) to relocate to another property.
As a tenant, to play safe during a house hunt, it is best to go for a house with flexible obligations, for easy implementation or execution. Property managers or lawyers should also help potential tenants interpret some of their tenancy responsibilities to keep the tenant abreast of what to expect, do or avoid during the tenancy period.
One of the reasons for assigning roles and responsibilities (between landlord and tenant) in a property is to enable each party to take full responsibility when the time comes. The landlord shouldn’t default neither should the tenant default as well. For example, for a house to remain tenantable it is the responsibility of both the landlord and tenants. Though their role differs, the synergy puts the property in good shape. If the landlord handles external repairs while the tenant takes care of the internal repairs both performance helps the property stay functional and useful to stand the test of time.
What Are the Common Tenant’s Obligations to the Landlord
The following are some of the main tenant’s obligations on a property:
The tenant must deliver (give up) the demised premises (the rented apartment) in a good state of repairs (in good physical and functional condition).
The tenant must take proper care (maintain the rented property) of the building.
The tenant must keep the covenant (carry out all agreed tenant’s obligations) to pay rent (monthly, bi-annual, annual rent) and service charges.
The tenant cannot assign or sublet (allowing squatters to reside in the property or rent to another person) without the consent of the landlord.
The tenant cannot or should not use the demise property without the landlord’s consent which must be in writing (tenancy agreement).
The tenant has to allow the landlord or his agent (property manager or lawyer) to come into the property (rented apartment) to inspect and perform other responsibilities at a reasonable time (8 am to 6 pm).
Landlord Obligations to the Tenant
The landlord’s obligation in rented houses is usually mentioned on the final page of a tenancy agreement. The clauses are presented before the tenant’s covenants. The responsibilities are stated to enable each party to identify and fulfil the designated and agreed role in keeping the property tenantable from year to year. The importance of documenting the landlords’ obligations cannot be overemphasized as that’s the only way to monitor the landlord’s performance on a rented house during a tenancy period.
The landlord is required to oversee the condition of the rented property occasionally to ascertain the level of disrepair so that immediate action can be taken to restore or repair the faults before it escalates. The landlord must perform his obligation for the property to continue bringing in revenues and to reduce the maintenance cost on the property. Although not all landlord’s obligations are mentioned in the tenancy agreement, this does not stop the landlord from carrying out his responsibilities to the property as the owner of the rented house.
Most of the landlord’s obligations or duties are implied and must be performed accordingly when the need arises. Some of the implied obligations include; external repairs of the rented house, such as roof repair or replacement, septic and soak away pit repair, painting the external house, and applying and procuring prepaid or postpaid electricity meters for the rented house among others.
Some of the obligations or covenants usually mentioned in the tenancy agreement are;
The landlord has to allow for the quiet possession of the subject (rented) property by the tenant (occupier).
The landlord must ensure that the property is made fit for habitation (properly maintained)
The landlord should allow the tenant peaceful habitation without intruding or disturbance throughout the tenancy period.
The landlord must not increase the rent arbitrarily. He must follow the correct legal procedure to review rents periodically backed by solid justification for the review.