Do you know the obligations of a Tenant?
Both landlords and tenants have various obligations and rights during the period of the tenancy agreement. These are outlined in the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 and involve matters such as paying for utilities, maintaining the property, arranging repairs and more. Your tenancy agreement, also called a lease, is one of the first things you sign before you move in.
Both parties must abide by the conditions outlined in the agreement once it is presented and signed at the beginning of the tenancy. Below we’ll look at what some of the conditions are so you can ensure your rights are protected and that you are a good tenant and meet your legal obligations.
Your Rights as a Tenant
As a tenant, you have a variety of rights including:
- Receiving a signed copy of the tenancy agreement
- Receiving a condition report
- Having quiet enjoyment of the property
- Living in a property that is properly maintained and suitable for living in
- Having repairs carried out within a reasonable time frame
- Receiving your bond back once the tenancy has ended.
Along with these rights, you also have a variety of obligations you must meet which are outlined below.
Complete the Condition Report
A condition report should be completed at the beginning of the tenancy. When you do the report, you should take a note of all existing damage and the general condition of the property. The condition report is used as a reference should there be any uncertainty or disputes about wear and tear or damage to the property at the end of the lease.
Tenants are obligated to pay their rent on time. There may be some flexibility depending on relations or the circumstances but paying your rent late is generally disrespectful as some landlords rely on that stream of income coming in on time to meet certain costs such as mortgage repayments. Consistently late rent can be used to evict you. It can also get you blacklisted on the tenancy databases. Remember to always keep records of rent being paid.
If you cause damage to the property, you are obligated to pay for it using the bond. Often if damage is not listed in the condition report, it will be considered the tenant’s responsibility. However, tenants generally can’t be held accountable for ‘reasonable’ wear and tear. You should also keep in mind that you cannot use your bond to pay for outstanding rent at the end of the lease.
Maintaining the Property and Making Changes
Tenants are obligated to keep the property relatively clean and free of damage. You are also obligated to clean the property at the end of the tenancy and return all keys and remotes upon vacating. You must ask for permission when making any changes to the property. This includes installing fixtures or making any adjustments to any structures in the home.
Request to make any changes in writing for the purposes of the agent and landlord. You should also do the same if there are repair or maintenance issues that need to be addressed. Different agencies might have different processes for handling repairs and damage so ask your agent.
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