Understanding Your Rights And Obligations As A Tenant (A Must Read)

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People move from place to place in search of greener pastures, they leave their original home and come to settle in completely strange abodes. This has brought with it the need to let accommodation either for residence or for business. The need to regulate the relationship between landlords and tenants so as to avoid arbitrary increment in rent and wrongful eviction became also imperative.

The relationship between a landlord and a tenant is that of owner and occupier. The landlord owns the land while the tenant is entitled to use and occupy the land subject to payment of rent and good behaviour. The relationship of landlord and tenant is contractual and thus, its terms cannot be altered by either party without the agreement of the other. The parties are bound by the terms of the agreement.

A tenant enjoys a number of rights:

1. A tenant has the right to question his landlord’s authority to increase rent unreasonably and arbitrarily.
2. A tenant can maintain an action in trespass against his landlord; a tenant can also obtain an injunction to restrain his landlord from ejecting him in an unlawful manner.
3. Tenants are entitled to statutorily stipulated periods of notice to quit.
4. A tenant has the right to quiet and peaceful enjoyment of the premises.
5. The tenant’s entitlement includes the right to privacy; freedom from unreasonable disturbance, exclusive possession of the premises subject to the landlord’s restricted right of inspection and the use of common areas for reasonable and lawful purposes.
6. Where a tenant with the previous consent in writing of the landlord, effects improvements on the premises, he/she shall be entitled to claim compensation for the effected improvements on quitting the premises.

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A tenant has several obligations like:

1. Paying the rent at the times and in the manner agreed
2. Paying all existing and future rates and charges not payable by the landlord by law
3. Keeping the premises in good and tenantable condition, reasonable wear and tear excepted
4. Permitting the landlord and his agents to view the condition of the premises and effect repairs in necessary parts of the building during reasonable hours.
5. Not making any alterations or additions to the premises without the written consent of the landlord
6. Not assigning or sub-letting any part of the premises without the written consent of the landlord; and notifying the land

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