Know Your Rights as a Landlord
If you’re a landlord, there’s this high probability of encountering problems with your tenants every once in a while. Fundamentally, to solve any problem between you and your tenants, you have to know your basic rights, including the dos and the don’ts, as a landlord.
To help you further, we’ve listed some of these rights you have in your hands as a lessor:
Choosing a Tenant
As a landlord, one of your major rights is to choose your tenants. You can do that by asking for income and credit information, rental history, and guarantees. You may also want to be picky about accepting tenants, but you can’t refuse a tenant based on one’s race, place of origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, religion, and disability.
If you want to make sure you’re choosing the right tenants, work hard on the inspection process and take time to know them personally before you accept them.
Collecting Deposit and Rent
Before your tenants move in to your property, you have the right to collect a rent deposit. When you both sign the lease tenancy agreement, you may collect the rent deposit in full. The agreement should state the amount of the rent deposit and when it is due.
As for increasing the rent, you have the right to do so but only once in a 12-month period and depending on your lease tenancy agreement. If you’re to raise the rent, make sure the new amount is justifiable and can be compared to similar properties in your neighborhood.
Entering the Premises
Landlords can only enter the property in case of emergency and for the purposes of inspecting the premises, cleaning, and making repairs and improvements. You can also enter the premises to show the property to prospective buyer or tenant. However, you’re not allowed to enter the premises impromptu. If you would like to inspect the property, you should give prior notice to the tenants.
In case of a tenant’s extended absence, which is seven days or more, you can enter the property to inspect for damages that may need repairs.
Maintaining the Property
Maintaining the property can be more like a responsibility than a right. However, it’s not just you who’s responsible for the maintenance but also your tenants. They should also take care of your property during their stay, and you have the right to charge them for any damages. If the tenants refuse to pay for the cost of the repair, you can make a deduction from the tenants’ damage deposit.
However, you can’t charge your tenants right away. You should be able to show a proof that the damage was caused while your property was occupied by them. Therefore, it’s wise to take detailed photos of the entire property before your tenants move in, so any “future damages” can be spotted quickly.
By the way, you can’t charge the repair of normal wear and tear of furnishings, e.g. carpets and furniture, to your tenants.
If your tenants didn’t pay for a long period and no solution was offered, you have the right to evict them. Make sure to give them notice first. You can’t harass your tenants in any way so inform them in the most proper way.
If they remain in your property at the end of the notice, you can apply for a possession order; if they don’t comply, you can then apply for an eviction warrant—in such a situation, only the police can evict tenants under court order.
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