What Responsibilities Does a Tenant Have?

Posted on Tuesday, February 12

 If you’re a landlord, you’re already well aware that you have a pretty long list of legal responsibilities to attend to when it comes to maintaining your property and dealing with your tenant. However, by law, there are some things that a tenant has to do as well, over and above any specific tasks allocated to the tenant in your lease. They are fairly simple and self-explanatory, but make sure you re-familiarize yourselves with them regardless.

  • Tenants must keep the residence clean – this means ensuring that it always remains in about the same condition it was when rented. Things that become dirty should be cleaned until they return to that original state. As a landlord, you shouldn’t expect a tenant’s home to look like it did on the day they moved in. After all, that was a vacant unit and they now live there. But, you can expect that everything can easily be returned to that condition with regular cleaning.

  • Garbage should be thrown away – most communities have local garbage pickup, so requiring your tenant to throw away their garbage should not be a big task. However, even if the property is in an area where there is no garbage pickup, they are still responsible to get their garbage to the dump on a regular basis. They must also keep the residence relatively uncluttered. This means that their personal items should not present a safety hazard that could cause problems for them or the property.

  • Tenants cannot abuse plumbing, gas or electrical fixtures – this means using all related items as they’re intended. Tenants should not try to alter or repair any of these items. This includes abstaining from manipulating the gas meter to reduce their bills. If there is an issue with any of these things, they should be contacting you to make the repairs.
  • Tenants must notify you if a repair is necessary on the property– which also means that they should allow you to come and inspect the problem fairly promptly, that way you can determine when the repair needs to be made.

These laws protect you from any claim by a tenant that the property is in habitable condition. The tenant must effectively play their part if they’d like to have a nice, well-cared-for residence at their disposal.

Of course, in addition to the tenant responsibilities as they relate to maintaining a habitable property, they should abide by any terms of the lease with regards to property upkeep.

Zach Devine, Marketing (A Service of AppFolio)

Comments (1)

  1. Tiny_1399666016-avatar-ireallylikethis

    I would add that besides notification about a repair, it should be expected that tenants communicate with the landlord about anything out of the ordinary, anything they notice that may be a minor issue for a tenant but a big deal to a landlord. Excellent communication is only second to paying the rent on time! I would enjoy reading your blog even more if you would include a few personal stories that would help me to understand how these tenant iresponsibilies have made an impact on you or your business.

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