Understanding Your Responsibilities as a Tenant

Many people decide to rent because it has fewer responsibilities attached to it than being a homeowner. That logic is true in some forms, however, tenants aren’t completely off the hook. Before you decide to rent an apartment or house it is important for you to have a clear understanding of what is expected of you as a tenant. Your responsibilities should be outlined in the lease and may vary by state, but getting acquainted with these tasks can ensure you remain in your residence and maintain a good reputation as a tenant.

Pay Your Rent on Time

One of the most obvious responsibilities of a tenant is to make sure that they pay their rent every month. Most landlords have a mortgage attached to the property or use your rent as a means of income. So, when you’re late, this ties up their finances. To avoid getting penalized with late fees or evicted, it is vital that you pay your rent on time. Should something come up, as they sometimes can, make sure you make your landlord aware so they can make the proper adjustments. In many cases, they understand and are willing to work with you.

Notify the Landlord of Issues

It may not be your responsibility to take care of the maintenance and repair issues that go on in your place, but it is your duty to notify the landlord at the onset of a problem. You’ll need to find out by reading your lease or checking with your county clerk’s office who’s responsible for repairs and property issues. In the state of Virginia, for instance, landlords are responsible for maintenance, repairs, and other problems. So, if a tenant saw signs of a bug or rodent infestation, they would need to let the property owner know so they can find a Stafford VA pest control company or another service closer to their part of the state.

Keep the Property Clean

Although you call the residence your home, the truth is, it belongs to someone else. When you don’t keep the property clean, it creates a problem for the owner. A dirty space can lead to infestations, structural damage, and a host of other costly issues. You may also be responsible for minor things like lawn care, snow removal, and garbage disposal which you’ll want to take care of.

Keep the Noise Down

Your behavior in a rental property can cause issues for the landlord. Whether you live in a home or apartment building, it is your responsibility to keep the noise to a minimum. Loud parties, hard walking (if you live on an upper level), loud televisions, arguments, and other disruptions disturb the peace. Neighbors or other tenants could complain, resulting in a visit from the police and possibly receiving a citation.

Respect the Space

Remember, though it may be where you lay your head at night, you’re in someone else’s property. The very least you can do is respect the space. You should take care of it as if it were your own. Holes in the wall, damaged appliances, broken fixtures, and so forth ruin the property’s value and cost the landlord a lot of money to repair. Respecting the space ensures that you don’t get evicted, it also saves your security deposit from being used to clean up your mess.

Oblige by the Lease

Tenants are always advised to read their lease entirely before signing it. It spells out exactly what is expected of you and what will happen if you don’t meet those expectations. Once you sign on the dotted line, it is your responsibility to make sure that you follow the rules. Whether there’s a no pet policy, limited visitors, or assigned parking spaces, it is imperative that you follow the guidelines to the tee to avoid being evicted.

Being a tenant does not come with as many responsibilities or expenses as being a homeowner. However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do anything. Your lease acts as a legally binding contract which describes what is required of you to remain in the residence. Paying your rent, reporting repairs, maintaining the property, and being open and honest with the landlord are all things you should know and be prepared for before moving in. Doing these things will ensure that you have a place to stay for as long as you’d like.

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