A tenant in the United States of America usually has the protection of a wide number in the form of rights as provided by each of the state governments. These rights will protect them against abuse from landlords although the state tenancy laws will also hand out a list of renter responsibilities that will have to be met by the tenant. This article will go over a few of these very important tenant responsibilities that will hopefully allow a tenant to perform their duties in a rental contract, in a better fashion.
Timely rent payments – Tenant responsibility – This is the most basic responsibility of the tenant and the renter should do their best to pay their rent on time, to the authorized person who is mentioned on the lease document. While this is quite self explanatory, a renter has to understand that some states will allow the landlord to begin an eviction procedure even if the tenant is 5 days late on rent. For example, a tenant might have gone out of town and would have simply been unable to pay their rent to a landlord on time although they might have intended to. They might be in for a rude shock when they come back to find an eviction order issued against them.
The lesson to be learned from this situation is that a renter should always take an effort to inform their landlord of any late rent payments or any other problems in the lease, as soon as possible. A renter will also have to be a little careful about rent payments during a foreclosure of a rental property as they will need to make sure that they are paying rent to the right owners, if the property changes hands. Also, some states will allow a renter to withhold rent payments during repairs although a tenant will have to be careful about such withholding of rent, as explained below.
Withholding of rent – Tenant responsibility – If a landlord has not carried out repairs despite several requests, a tenant can withhold rent payment and it will be honored by tenancy law. However, tenancy law in most states will require the tenant to have submitted a written request for repairs to the landlord before they can withhold rent. If a tenant withholds rent without informing the landlord of the repairs, the landlord will be able to file eviction procedures even though the tenant might be living in an apartment with neglected repairs.
Requests for repairs – Tenant responsibility – Privacy laws will prevent landlords from entering rental properties to identify the need for repairs and maintenance and it is hence the responsibility of the tenant to inform their landlords of any need for repairs, preferably in writing. Tenants are also generally encouraged to keep a copy of these requests on file as it might help them in a dispute, as briefly explained in the preceding point. If a landlord fails to carry out repairs, a renter can either hold back rent or carry out the repairs themselves and then have the repair expenses reimbursed by the landlords or deducted from future rent payments.