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Rights And Responsibilities Of Tenants Of A Rental Property Investment
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Rights And Responsibilities Of Tenants Of A Rental Property Investment

Although the tenant does not own the property they live in, nor do they have any direct financial obligation to the investment, they still do have certain legal rights and responsibilities. The following is a good guide to go by, whether you are the tenant or the landlord.

It is in the best interest of the tenant to do a thorough inspection prior to renting any property. When conducting this inspection, it is advised that both parties point out major repairs that need to be completed prior to moving in and small discrepancies. This information should be recorded on two different pieces of paper, both copies signed by each party, and one copy kept by the landlord and the tenant.

When conducting the inspection, an independent witness may also be brought in to ensure that both parties are kept honest. Another thing that helps is a video camera to point out any discrepancies in the property.

Once both parties have agreed on the inspection, the needs to be a lease agreement. For all legal reasons, it is recommended that the lease be written. Although a spoken lease agreement is legal, it is easier to dispel arguments that are in black and white.

After the tenant is moved in it a good idea, though not a necessity, to obtain renter's insurance. In case of fire, flood, rain or wind damage, or any other natural or man-made disaster, the renter's possessions would be covered. The landlord covers insurance on the property, however, this does not normally cover the valuables inside the property. The insurance is usually very inexpensive, and can be obtained through almost any insurance agency.

It is the landlord's responsibility to keep up the maintenance on the property, but it is the tenants' responsibility to keep the property safe and clean, as to not attract any unwanted pests or rodents. It is also the tenants' responsibility to dispose of their own trash. Typically, if the property has three or less units, it is up to the tenants to provide their own trash container.

The tenant is also responsible to use all plumbing and electrical fixtures properly. This would include flushing of objects that are not designed to be flushed (such as rags), and also include such things as not pouring grease down the sink. If the repair bills are found to be the tenant's fault, the bill could be their responsibility.

Other things for the tenant to keep in mind are:

  • Do not damage the property, or allow your guests to damage the property
  • Do not bother other tenants
  • Obey all local housing, health, and safety codes

Although the landlord does own the property, they are still required to give you 24 hours of notice before entering the property. Legal reasons for entering the property include, but are not limited to:

  • Inspection of the property
  • Showing of the property
  • Delivering large packages to the property
  • Repair of the property

Typically, the only time that the landlord is not required to give a notice is due to an emergency.

This list is not a complete list, but a good guide for tenants and landlords alike. Whatever side of the lease you're on, it is always a good rule to follow to seek some sort of legal advice. The laws and codes vary from state to state concerning a rental property investment. With a written agreement and common sense on both sides, the agreement should last long and be prosperous for both parties.


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