3 Ways to Avoid Renting Disputes
If an issue arises while you are renting a property, the first thing to do is to speak with the property owner to see if the issue can be fixed quickly.
When renting a property every situation is unique, but there are a few common areas where issues are most likely to arise, including rent, repairs, maintenance, privacy, and sub-letting.
1. Keep the Property in Good Condition
There are specific responsibilities for the tenant and the property owner when it comes to maintaining a property that is being rented.
The tenant must:
Keep the home clean.
Not cause damage to the property.
Inform the property owner as soon as any damage is done. It is a good idea to keep this communication in writing rather than verbal.
Get the property owners permission to install items or make alterations to the home. And again, it is best to get this permission in writing.
Avoid causing a disturbance to neighbours and ensure all visitors do the same.
Ensure that the property is not used for any illegal purpose.
The property owner must:
Keep the property in good order and repair.
Ensure security by having locks on all doors and secure all windows.
Providing a new key to the tenant immediately after changing a lock.
Avoid disturbing the tenant unnecessarily.
In most cases, the property owner is responsible for repairs, unless the tenant caused the damage themselves. In the case that the renter has caused the damage, they will be required to pay the bill. But check the lease agreement.
If you as the renter think repairs are needed to the home, contact the property owner to arrange a time for the work to be completed. Note, tenants should never pay for or do non-urgent repairs themselves unless the property owner has agreed, in writing, to a reimbursement. You may find yourself out-of-pocket if you make this decision yourself.
A refusal by the property owner to maintain or repair the premises will most likely be a breach of the lease agreement so check the contract and see if it notes what actions you can take if that happens. Because if the property owner does break the agreement in this way, you may have the right to end your lease and move out.
If urgent repairs are required, you should try to get for the property owner to fix the problem. But, in some cases the property owner can’t be contacted in time and you may need to go ahead and organise the repairs yourself if the issue cannot wait.
Check the lease agreement if it deals with this sort of issue for repairs, however common examples of urgent repairs include:
A blocked or broken toilet system.
A serious leak.
Burst water service.
Dangerous electrical or structural faults.
Serious storm, fire or flood damage.
Any fault or damage that makes the home unsafe or no longer safe.
Tenants are typically entitled to get a reimbursement for repairs, at cost, as long as the problem was considered urgent to fix and the tenant can provide a receipt.
2. Tenants Right to Privacy
Tenants are entitled to live in privacy. This means that while living in the rental property the renter should not experience interference by the property owner or anyone acting on their behalf. To ensure this occurs, most lease agreements specify that the property owner must obtain agreement from the tenant prior to entering the property.
Proper reasons for the property owner to enter the property, with adequate advanced notice, include:
General inspections. But there could be a limit to how frequent inspections can be performed so check the lease agreement.
Carrying out maintenance and repairs.
Valuation of the property, generally by a bank or valuer.
Showing prospective buyers through the property.
Showing prospective tenants through the property if you have given notice to move out.
Sub-letting is when the property has a tenant, whose name is on the lease agreement, and they then “sub-let” the property to one or more people who are not noted on the lease agreement. This situation is generally not allowed in most lease agreements so tenants planning to sub-let the property should always get permission from the property owner before sub-letting.
If the property owner agrees, the tenant(s) named on the lease agreement will be responsible for the sub-tenants and their actions. If a sub-tenant damages the property and does not pay for the repairs, the original tenants will be left to pay the costs.