If you are planning to move into a house on rent, it is very important to know your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. Once you finalize a place to rent, you will have to sign a tenancy agreement, typically consisting of 4 to 5 pages. As a minimum it will show,
- The names of the landlord and tenant
- How much the rent and deposit is
- When the rent will be reviewed
- The address for the landlord or agent who will be looking after the property.
This detailed document will also list all the responsibilities that you will take on in exchange for certain rights. Read it carefully to know your rights and responsibilities during the lease period.
Your basic responsibilities include:
- Paying rent on time – usually one month in advance.
- Paying utility and other bills on time. These include council tax, utilities (heating, air conditioning and water), telephone charges and TV licence fee.
- Respecting your neighbours. Do not make noise or obstruct common area. Also avoid putting rubbish in the wrong place.
- Looking after the property. This is not your own home, but use it sensibly, otherwise the owner has security deposit with him.
- Using all fixtures, such as the heating system, lights, fans etc, and other appliances in a responsible and safe manner.
- Obeying all the lawful provisions of the lease.
- Do not use the unit for illegal activities, as this gives your landlord the authority to terminate your lease contract with immediate effect.
The rights of tenant include:
- Advance notice from landlord to enter the apartment. The landlord shall give the tenant at least 48 hours notice of his desire to enter the rented house, and should enter only at reasonable times. However, in case of emergency this rule can be overlooked.
- Moreover, the landlord can enter the apartment only to make necessary repairs or to supply necessary services )routine maintenance.
- A tenant can refuse to allow the owner to come into the house, but only with good cause. For example, if the owner wants to visit without any prior notice, or tries to enter the unit outside of the reasonable times. However, this rule does not apply in case of an emergency.
You are also required to behave sensibly, and take good care of the unit. Inform your landlord when things need repair to avoid bigger problems in the future. For example, a leaking pipe, if not maintained in time, can cause the ceiling collapse. While in renting, maintenance is the responsibility of the owner, but do the basic and cheap maintenance at your own, e.g. changing burnt bulbs and smoke alarm batteries.