Only a select few have the luxury of moving into their apartment from an apartment they already own or have a claim over. For the rest folks, the journey of owning a home begins from staying in a rented apartment until such a time comes for you to move into yours, but like some of us already know, it comes with its bag and baggage. If you are tenant reading this do you know your right as a tenant?
Some persons have a general misconception of landlords being mean and impossible, but this notion is mainly because they are ignorant of their rights as tenants. Some might even smirk at the possibility of a tenant having some sort of “rights” in a property they don’t own, but the truth remains that as a tenant, you have every right to a property you are paying for, and this article will help bring some of these rights to the fore.
My right as a tenant
As a tenant, here is a list of some of the things you are entitled to.
- Right to a written agreement
- Right to your receipt of payment
- Right to a valid quit notice
- Right to peacefully use and enjoy the property
- Right to sue a landlord for trespassing
Right to a written agreement
An agreement in general terms is a mutual understanding between two or more persons, and in this case, it is usually between the landlord and a tenant. For any agreement to be valid in the court of law, it has to be written and signed upon by both parties. A tenant should not make the mistake of taking a landlord by his words if those words are not backed up with a written paper signed by both parties.
Take, for instance, a landlord tells a tenant he or she is supposed to pay a certain amount of money for the water bill, if the tenant is okay with the agreement, the tenant has the right to demand that such an agreement should be documented before proceeding to make the said payment. If the landlord refuses, then the tenant has the right to demand a written agreement using a real estate attorney or an agent.
Such written agreements are vital should in case a landlord decides to inflate the price of the “supposed” agreement for their selfish gain. It is also important to seek the opinion of your real estate agent for clarification before agreeing and signing any form of a document.
Right to your receipt of payment
The moment a tenant makes a payment for a rent tenure, and as long as a tenant possesses the valid proof of payment, the tenant is within his right to request for a receipt because that’s the only piece of document that grants the tenant any form of leverage to use the property. It’s an offense on the landlord’s part to withhold such an important piece of document from the tenant in any way irrespective of the reason.
Even if the payment is part of the whole sum, the tenant has the right to demand a receipt for the part payment that clearly states the amount paid and the amount remaining to be completed.
Right to a valid quit notice
A quit notice is said to be valid when a tenant owes his landlord for three months consecutively. This can happen when the tenancy agreement between the landlord and the tenant has expired leaving the landlord with little options other than to issue a “Notice to Quit” especially if there is no new tenancy in place.
A valid quit notice must contain the following details; the name of the landlord, the name of the tenant, the address of the property, the date the notice will commence, and the date the notice will end. No quit notice is valid until the tenancy agreement is expired, and it should be drafted in a way that it ends at the eve of a subsisting tenancy.
Any notices that do not contain the parameters stated above can be vitiated by the court of law in favor of the tenant.
Right to peacefully use and operate the property
As a tenant, the moment your rent begins to count is the moment the landlord seeds all his rights of the rented space or property to you. No landlord has the right to invade the space of a tenant without their due consent irrespective of what the case might be. The tenant also has the right to use the property to his desired liking, except there happens to be a limit that is clearly stated in the tenancy agreement.
Right to sue the landlord for trespassing
Any landlord who violates any of the aforementioned laws and still goes ahead to forcefully evict his tenant will be equally shown the wrath of the law. A tenant should seek the legal counsel of a real estate solicitor if he perceives in any way that his right is being trampled upon.
Being a landlord is no small feat by any standard, but that doesn’t guaranty the “superhuman” title that some landlords come to label themselves with. Most landlords were once tenants and should endeavor to treat their tenants in the most humane way possible, and not as a “Landgods”
Where a man’s right’s ends are where another person’s right begins. Let’s not stretch it.