Aug 18 2017



Tags: landlords  tenants  rental agreement  renting  lease agreement 

Landlords Know Your Rights
Landlords and tenants should both be aware of their rights and responsibilities

Many tenants of rented properties are not fully aware of their landlords legal rights. It is therefore not only critical for tenants to be acquainted with their own rights, but also with the landlords rights, so as to avoid disputes and especially in cases where no formal, written contract may exist.

Landlords may rent property for various reasons. This may include boosting their current source of income or paying off a mortgage bond or home loan, but for whatever the reason, most landlords expect 3 things by renting out their property:

1. The Rent Money (To be paid in full and on the agreed upon time, every month).
2. Property Maintenance (A tenant that will respect and maintain the property).
3. A Hassle Free Relationship with the Tenant.

A smart landlord knows that a happy tenant is far more likely to stay on the premises for longer and is also more likely to look after and maintain the property for the landlord during their stay.

The landlord should be fully aware of their responsibilities, which have been outlined as follows:

1. Pre-Rental Preparation of the Premises

Before a landlord attempts to rent a property to a new tenant; he should completely inspect both the interior and exterior of the property, to properly assess its condition and any damages, especially if the property was occupied by a previous tenant.

The property should be checked for any broken utilities, general fixtures and fittings, including door handles, locks, window fittings and remote gates. The bathroom should also be inspected for rising damp and mildew, while the roof should be inspected for any water damage or leaks.

Additionally, any kitchen repairs or paint jobs should be done well in advance of the new tenant moving in, so as to avoid potential problems later on. A new, freshly painted premises also make it more attractive for the tenant.

2. The Right to Regular Monthly Payment

Unless otherwise agreed upon, the landlord has the right to receive the full rental payment regulary every month.

3. Rental Increases

Increasing the rent can be tricky. Although a landlord is entitled to increase the rent, it must be an amount that is relative to the current market and area. However, a landlord may only increase the rent, after the current lease agreement has expired, which in most cases is once a year.

Additionally, the landlord must terminate the current tenancy agreement first and then notify the tenant in writing of the new tenancy agreement, at least 30 days or more prior to the effective date of increase.

4. Provide Acceptable Living Conditions

A landlord is responsible for the general wear and tear on the property, but not in cases where the tenant has deliberately caused damage through their own negligence. That said, all landlords are required and expected to maintain and repair the premises. These repairs should usually be made within 30 days of notice, in accordance with the health, safety and Rental Housing Act, including:

4.1. Property Structure: This includes maintaining and repairing of floorboards, ceilings, walls, doors, chimneys, staircases and plumbing, including all piping, faucets and the geyser.

4.2. Infestation Free Premise: The landlord must keep the interior of the property, including any out-buildings, garages and the common property area free of infestation of rodents, bugs and other insects.

5. Right to Enter and Inspect the Property

A landlord has the right to enter the property, but only to inspect or make repairs. This must be done at a reasonable time and by giving the tenant advanced notice of the date and time the landlord intends to enter or inspect the property. A landlord cannot simply enter the premises unannounced or without prior notice, unless it is deemed that the property has been vacated.

The following are acceptable conditions for the landlord to enter a tenants property:

- To make necessary repairs
- To access any damages, prior to the end of lease by the tenant
- To show the premises to prospective tenants or buyers
- If the premises has been abandoned by the previous occupier

6. Deposit and Deposit Refund

It is normal these days for a landlord to require an upfront deposit paid by the tenant. This deposit is usually equal to 1 months rent and is kept by the landlord for the duration of the tenants lease. At the end of the tenants lease, the landlord is expected to refund this deposit, with interest to the tenant, provided they are in good standing with the rent and there are no damages.

The landlord is expected to access and inspect the premises, prior to the end of lease with the tenant, to access any damages caused by the tenant during their lease. The deposit may be used for any outstanding rent or monies owed by the tenant, including replacement of keys or locks and any other damages caused by the client. This deposit should be kept in a trust fund, or escrow account that acquires interest and paid back to the tenant if there are no damages at the end of the lease period.

It s important to note however, that the tenant cannot ask the landlord to use this deposit as rent and in turn the landlord is not allowed to use this money to make upgrades to the property at any time.


It is important for landlords to be clear in their lease agreement, what is considered to be acceptable wear and tear on the property and what repairs the tenant will be responsible for, which is usually through negligence or anything beyond acceptable wear and tear.

It is also important for landlords to carry out both the pre-inspection and the outgoing inspection in presence with the tenant. This is to determine any damages caused by the outgoing tenant, who may argue that the premises was never properly repaired or maintained, or that the premises was in a poor condition when they moved in.

Maintaining and repairing the property before a new tenant takes occupation will go a long way to avoid any possible disputes with tenants at the end of their lease.

Related Article: 10 Questions Landlords Ask Tenants


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