Tenant Rights and Responsibilities Everyone Should Know

Read the rental agreement thoroughly and follow the rules for a comfortable tenancy experience. Photo: Freepik

By Melinda Graham

Whether we live in our own home or a rented house, our residence greatly impacts our mental and physical health. In a rented house, we often live up to the landlord's demands, compromising our comfort. So, before signing the rental agreement, we should know all our rights and responsibilities to ensure safety and comfort.

Read More: How to Buy A Rental Property

Rights as a Tenant

Our rights give us superpowers as tenants. Here are some important ones:

Right to a Safe and Habitable Home

We have the right to live in a safe and healthy home. This means the basic structural elements of the building are safe and intact, like working plumbing, proper electrical wiring, functioning smoke detectors, etc.

Right to Freedom from Discrimination

A landlord or property manager cannot refuse to rent based on race, religion, family status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other protected characteristics.

Right to Privacy

Landlords cannot enter rental properties without prior notice. Because tenants have a right to privacy. Only in emergencies, this rule can be broken.

Right to Advance Notice of Eviction

Landlords can't evict a tenant without a valid reason and adequate notice. These notices usually specify a 30- or 60-day time for eviction. The time limit can be shorter depending on the location and circumstances.

Right to a Reasonable Accommodation

For tenants with disabilities, landlords must make reasonable adjustments at their own expense. Also, disabled tenants should be allowed to make reasonable modifications to the rental property at their own convenience, provided that this does not cause problems for future tenants.

Read More: How to Avoid Fair Housing Complaints When Choosing a Tenant

Responsibilities as a Tenant

Just like rights, tenants also have responsibilities. Following these will keep things smooth with our landlord:

Pay Rent on Time: We should always pay the rent within the timeframe indicated in the lease agreement. It establishes a positive landlord-tenant relationship. If a month's rent is late, notify the landlord in advance.

Respect the Property: Do not skimp on the maintenance of the rental house. We must take care of it just like our own home. If any positive changes have to be made in the house, always get permission from the landlord.

Follow the Lease Agreement: Read the lease agreement carefully and follow the rules about things like guests, pets (if allowed), and noise levels. We must remember this is our contract with the landlord.


Knowing Where to Get Help

If tenants ever have a problem with their landlord, there are several places to go for help:

Local Tenant Organizations: Local tenant organizations offer advice and all kinds of support on tenant rights and landlord-tenant dispute handling.

Government Agencies: HUD (The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development) provides information and resources to protect tenants from rental discrimination.

Legal Aid: If things get serious, tenants should consider legal assistance from an attorney specializing in landlord-tenant law.

Read More: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Homeowners Associations

As tenants, we should understand our rights and responsibilities ASAP to ensure a positive and safe rental experience.

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Lifestyle Magazine: Tenant Rights and Responsibilities Everyone Should Know
Tenant Rights and Responsibilities Everyone Should Know
Our rights give us superpowers as, we should understand our rights and responsibilities to ensure a positive and safe rental experience.
Lifestyle Magazine
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