When renting a house, landlords have the say on the terms and conditions that they set when renting out their homes. They may impose a few rules that may or may be flexible such as whether pets are allowed or not, but there are still baselines that all landlords must comply with – and if you’re planning to rent a property anytime soon, it’s better to get yourself oriented with them. Being aware of your rights gives you an insight into what to expect from your landlord and allows you to demand their enforcement if necessary, which of course we all hope you never have to do.
What you need to know about being a tenant is that you have a certain set of rights. There are laws and agencies that govern these to protect tenants. Find out below what basic rights you are entitled to
A Livable Home
Although the property belongs to your landlord and yes, they do have autonomy on what they would like to do with it. However, once they decide to rent it out, they have to comply with certain housing standards at all times to make sure that the tenants renting out their property live comfortably. You as a tenant have the right to a livable home meaning, you are entitled to a home that has working amenities, a bathroom with plumbing, a kitchen, and all the works. All of which has to be in working condition
A Right To Not Be Discriminated Against
The Fair Housing Act is an act that states landlords cannot deny you based on your age, sex, color, race, religion, disabilities, marital status, and medical diagnoses. This means that when you apply to rent a specific property and they ask for the following information above, you have the right to ask for verbal or even written confirmation that the information you provided will not in any way be a determining factor on whether or not they would lease their property to you.
A Return On Your Security Deposit
It is quite common, especially for long-term tenants, for landlords to not give you back your security deposit upon you moving out either through you ending the lease on your end or through them terminating the contract.
A way to ensure that you get back your security deposit is to ensure that it is in your contract and to keep a copy of it. As soon as you sign a contract with your landlord, make digital copies of it to keep with you as well as store the hard copy in a safe place so that you will still have months or even years later at the end of your contract.
Show your contract to your landlord before you move out and assert that following the contract, as long as you have not broken any terms and conditions that forfeit your security deposit, they are obligated to return it to you.
Note that it is important for you to initiate and talk with your landlord regarding your security deposit to make sure that they don’t conveniently ignore the clause and keep your hard-earned money.
A step that may be worth taking especially if you are planning to rent the property for a long time or with your family if you are choosing to raise your kids there, is to have your contract with your landlord looked over by a lawyer and notarized, they can ensure that all your rights as a tenant are covered and enforced and that the terms and conditions are agreeable with you and your family’s specific situation. This would be a one-time expense that will help pave the way for a smooth rental experience for the years to come.
To ensure you are provided these rights, it is advised that you go for an ocular visit or two, and get to know your landlord before deciding on renting a specific property. That, coupled with putting it down in your contract that maintenance and repair checks are written in the terms of your contract should secure your rights and needs are met.
Deciding on renting a property is a big decision. Most of the time, it even signals the start of a new chapter in our life whether it be a new job, a new family – something new to celebrate. As you start a new chapter, make sure that you are starting it by knowing your rights as you move into the property you will now be calling home.