Understanding your Responsibilities as a Tenant
When you move into a tenancy your landlord is obliged to maintain the property so that it’s fit for habitation. He or she must also respond to a necessary repair you have reported within a reasonable time and provide certain safety certificates for your perusal.
They are not permitted to enter the property without providing you with at least 24 hours’ notice, and to do that at a reasonable hour.
Equally, you also have responsibilities as a tenant. It can prove the perfect business relationship when both parties adhere to their roles.
Poor communication and misunderstandings, on the other hand, can lead to stressful situations and, ultimately, legal action. So, what are your responsibilities as a tenant? We’ll list the main ones here:
Paying rent on time
This is essential and if you find you’re going to be short for an upcoming rental payment then let your landlord or letting agent know as soon as possible. That way they may be able to put a payment plan in place that will make it easier to pay over a certain period.
It can be tempting to bury your head in the sand, believing things will work out in the end – but this type of thinking will (rightly) start alarm bells ringing for your landlord or letting agent. Worse still, it could end up in your being evicted – and you’ll still have to pay the missed rent.
Looking after the property
No-one is asking you to have the place looking spick and span all day, every day. But you should keep the property clean and tidy. That means making sure there’s no rips in the curtains or sofa and cleaning up any spills etc as soon as they occur.
Checking there’s no blocked plug holes and that the cooker and fridge are working fine etc is also important (for you, not just your landlord).
You’ll need to make sure the small tasks are taken care of too, such as putting out the rubbish for regular collection, ensuring you open the windows for ventilation and to prevent condensation, and changing the light bulbs.
It’s also important to respect your landlord’s property by not altering it without his or her approval. If you want to put shelves up in an otherwise empty alcove, then ask the landlord or letting agent before jumping into action.
Chances are they will be fine with it, but it’s worth getting that in writing. Altering or throwing out furniture and partitioning off a bedroom for example, without permission means you’ll have to replace the furniture and, in the case of the partition, probably pay to have the room returned to its original decorative state.
If the landlord or letting agent wants to visit the apartment or house you’re renting to inspect it or have a gas engineer carry out a check, you must allow entry (provided they have given you reasonable notice as we previously mentioned).
If a partner or friends visiting the flat cause damage then you will be held responsible as the tenant. This includes high noise levels which could lead to breaking Anti-Social Behaviour rules.
Don’t smoke in the property if your landlord or letting agent has asked you not to – not even out the window.
And finally, you are responsible for informing the landlord or letting agent when you plan on moving out. Preferably this should be with as much notice as possible for them to start advertising for another tenant, and at the very least you must give them the notice outlined in your tenancy agreement.