No matter good tenant, not so good tenant, if you are new to being a landlord or been around for a while – it’s important to know that tenants do have some basic rights that need to be provided.
Here are the basic tenant rights:
- Quiet enjoyment covenant is the right to the undisturbed use and enjoyment of real property by a tenant (or landowner.) This covers privacy and safe living – but it also includes peace and quiet. Although you can’t pick your neighbors – if you have neighbors that are loud (in apartment complexes only) you can talk to your landlord and find a remedy.
- Safe living space. And this means if something is not functioning like a toilet, stove, heating/cooling – the landlord needs to take corrective measures. This does not mean your landlord has to provide security systems or elaborate locking gates - it means windows and doors shall have locks and you are provided the keys.
- Privacy. Even though the landlord owns the home – they can’t just come and go at will. You do have a certain degree of privacy. If repairs need to be made – notice has to be given and if you aren’t there – the home must be secured and locked when the landlord leaves.
- Reviewing the lease BEFORE you sign it. Never sign anything without reading it even if someone says “it’s a standard lease”. I always send tenants the lease ahead of time – and give them ample opportunity to read it, ask questions and if they are still concerned –they have time to have an attorney review it.
Along with rights come responsibilities. You have rights because you are fulfilling your renters responsibilities: paying rent on time, preventing damage to the home and if something needs repair - you let the landlord know sooner than later. So make sure to hold up your end of the bargain if you want to retain your right to quiet!