Every landlord has to observe a dedicated, pre-determined set of rights and obligations towards the tenants. It is a misconception that landlords only have obligations to follow because there are numerous rights exercised by landlords that tenants have to be aware about prior to signing the agreement.
Your Rights as Landlord
- Right to choose a reliable tenant: It is every landlord’s right to choose a tenant to rent out their property. The government allows landlords to run background checks on the applicants and verify the identification, employment, marital status and other personal and professional information provided to them. Furthermore, the landlord can also check credit card history, rental history, credit references, business practices (if the applicant owns a business) and cross-check the guarantees provided by the applicant.
- Rent Deposit collection: After the tenancy agreement has been signed, the landlord can collect rent deposit. Deposit amount is usually one month or one week’s rent, depending upon the type of agreement signed for the maximum rental period.
- Rent Collection: Every landlord and tenant need to come to a mutual agreement over the suitable date of rent payment (by tenant) and collection (by landlord). When the date arrives, the landlord has the right to collect full rent.
- Entering the rented property: Tenants cannot prevent the landlord from entering the rented property. Landlord may enter the property to carry out maintenance work or repairing jobs, show the property to another potential tenant and to address emergencies. However, there is a particular set of guidelines that the landlords need to follow in this context such as entering the rented property a landlord has to inform the tenant at least 24 hours before. If the landlord has to carry out a repair job inside the rented property it is important to inform the tenants 7 days before.
- Increasing the Rent: The landlord has the right to increase the rent after every 12-month period. However, the law requires landlords to follow a specific set of guidelines while increasing the rent.
- Evicting tenants: If the situation requires, the landlord can evict a tenant. To observe this right, the landlord has to provide the tenant a notice explaining that they are to be evicted on a certain date. If the tenant fails to follow landlord’s instructions, then the law allows landlords to file an application and plan a hearing with the concerned authorities.
- Right to claim for damages: Every landlord has the right to have the property returned in exactly the same condition as it was handed over to the tenants. The landlord has the right to terminate the rental agreement after it reaches its expiry date and not let the tenants continue for another term if the landlord is not satisfied. However, the landlord has the right to inspect the property and claim for damages if there are any except for normal wear and tear.
Duties and Responsibilities of Landlords
Just like the landlords enjoy certain rights, they also have some duties to fulfill including the following:
- Maintenance and Repairing of Property: The landlord must conduct timely repairs and keep the property maintained as per the state’s health, maintenance and safety standards. Even if the tenant is well aware of the problems of the rental property, it will be the duty of the landlord to repair the damages that occurred prior to handing over the keys to tenants. If damages occur after tenants have shifted into the property, then the landlord will not be responsible for getting them fixed.
- Maintenance of Common Areas: Every rented property has common shared areas such as the yards, hallways and/or the alleys. Landlords are responsible for keeping these areas clean and well-maintained. During snowfall season, landlords are responsible for snow removal from walkways and driveways, etc.
- Provision of vital services: Vital services include hot/cold water, heat and fuel (natural gas) and electricity. These services cannot be shut-off even if the tenant hasn’t paid the rent. These services can only be terminated temporarily for repairing purposes. The utility bills, however, will be paid by the tenants.
- Provision of documents: Documents like copy of the tenancy agreement or lease agreement as well as written document of your legal name and address must be provided to the tenant without any fees. Tenants can claim rent receipts too and landlord has to provide it.
- Wrongful Refusal of tenants: Landlords cannot refuse tenants on basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, place of birth, marital status, family status and/or disability. As per law, every resident of the state has the right to rent a property of his or her choice and they cannot be deprived of this right on grounds on which they have no control. Being racist or discriminatory towards a particular gender, race, ethnicity or nativity is not an appropriate approach by any means and landlords are strictly prohibited from doing so.
- Respect rights of tenants: As a landlord, you are legally obliged to respect the rights of your tenants as well. By law, every tenant has some rights and duties to observe and as a landlord you need to be aware of their rights and duties. Such as the tenants have the right of peaceful living, that is, they must not be interfered in their private matters unless specifically asked by them. Landlords cannot enter frequently especially at odd hours in their rented properties except if there is a valid reason.
As evident, landlords enjoy a number of rights and duties towards their tenants. In every country there is a particular set of laws applicable on landlords describing their rights and duties. This article covered the most basic and universally applicable rights and duties of landlords. It is recommended that you thoroughly check your rights and duties as a landlord according to your native country/state/province/city laws in order to get a fair idea.
It is important to note that when you rent out your property you are basically entering into a tenancy agreement with another family or individual, who will become your tenant. To have an amicable, long-lasting relationship with your tenant, you must provide them better living environment and fulfill your duties as a landlord. In response, your tenants will respect your rights and fulfill their duties too. This approach will ensure that you enjoy peace of mind when everyone’s duties and responsibilities are clearly understood.
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