Legal Rights and Obligations Tenants Should Know

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Continuous responsibilities and hidden costs are the major reasons why 63% of US millennial homeowners regret buying a home. The national vacancy rates stood at just 6.8% for rented homes in the third quarter of 2019, according to figures released by the US Census Bureau. If you too prefer to live in a rented home, the first step is to learn all about the legal obligations and rights of a tenant. In fact, following all the rules of the lease agreement will help you build a long-lasting relationship with your landlord and a great track record as a tenant. This is what can help you get the best rental rates in the future.

So, here’s a look at some basics that you need to keep in mind for a hassle-free tenancy experience.

Paying Security Deposits

You are expected to pay a security deposit while signing the lease agreement. The security deposit amount largely depends on whether the house is furnished, your age and the state’s law. The security deposit is a way to make sure that you are paying the due rent every month and also keeping the property in good condition. In case you default on the rent or damage the property in any way, the landlord has the right to deduct the rent or repair charges from your deposit.

However, as a tenant, you need to remember that even if you are eligible to get back the entre security deposit amount, you might have to wait up to four weeks to receive it. To ensure that you are getting back the money, pay the rent on time, clear all pending bills and keep the property in good condition.

Keeping a Pet

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Being a tenant does not automatically give you the right to have your dog, cat or any other pet on the premises. Many landlords do not allow pets or restrict it to certain breeds or species. This is because they are potential threats to the property.

However, as a tenant, if you have a pet, you will need to convince your landlord that your pets are harmless and will not create a nuisance in and around the house. You can show training certificates or letters from previous landlords saying that your pets are safe. In many neighborhoods, trained service dogs for people with disabilities are usually not restricted by landlords.

Ensure Safety

In most states, landlords are responsible for ensuring safety to their tenants, after they have moved in. Safety measures are to be provided against other tenants, criminals activities and electrical and plumbing hazards.

However, it is also the responsibility of the tenant to ensure the safety of the property. You cannot carry out illegal activities, such as sexual assaults or distributing drugs, within the property. This could result in strict legal actions, such as seizing the property or harassment of both the tenant and the landlord.

Take Care of the House

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Maintaining the property is the first and foremost responsibility of the tenant. Apart from keeping it from getting damaged, you must make sure that the house is free of potential causes of mishaps, such as blocked sanitary passages or defective fire escapes. Carefully use all the electrical appliances, as and when required. Being careless while operating microwaves, toasters, etc., might cause a fire. Other than this, make sure all devices given by the landlord are kept well maintained.

Allow the Landlord within the Premises

Once you have moved in, remember that the property is yours. The landlord is bound to respect your privacy. At the same time, landlords must be allowed to enter the property to carry out repair work or to show it to the next potential tenant. A 24-hour notice needs to be given by the landlord for any such visit. However, in case of emergencies, the landlord is free to enter your property without notice, but after receiving your permission.

In case you feel your rights have infringed upon at any point of time, get in touch with the property manager, if any. All your complaints will be taken care of and they will make sure that you have a safe and comfortable stay in the rented accommodation.