The law governing the relationship between landlords and tenants can be quite complicated, even more so depending on the area of the country you live in. Each state has specific laws that govern the rights and duties of tenants when they enter into a legal contract such as a lease agreement.
It is important for prospective tenants to read through their lease agreement thoroughly prior to signing it, since it is a legally binding contract, and make sure that they understand all the clauses and stipulations that are addressed in the agreement. While tenants maintain valuable rights to the property during their tenancy, these rights only exist as long as they fulfill their duties within the lease agreement.
A lease agreement will detail all the rights and duties of each party during the term of the lease. Generally, tenants have the right to a clean and safe home that is completely operational. The property must be free of any defects in the plumbing, heating, wiring, or other elements that make the home livable. The landlord must maintain these items throughout the term of the lease agreement and cannot charge the tenant for any repairs to these items.
In return for the rights to the property, the tenant has the duty to keep the property reasonably clean and free from damage as well as pay the rent on time every month. It is also expected that the tenant will not become a nuisance to the neighbors or utilize the home in a manner that is not intended in the lease agreement.
While the duties and responsibilities between the tenant and the landlord are structured in the lease agreement, the relationship that develops between the two parties is something that can only be developed through communication and trust. When tenants develop a solid relationship with their landlord, it creates a scenario of mutual respect between the two parties that can have benefits if problems arise during the course of the lease agreement.
There are real-life situations that can arise that make it difficult or impossible for a tenant to pay their rent on time. If the tenant communicates this situation quickly and honestly to the landlord along with a timeline for remedy, it is possible that a landlord might understand and give the tenant the time that they need to acquire the rent. If no communication is given, the landlord could immediately assume the worst and serve a notice to quit on the tenant.
Generally, landlords want to lease their property to individuals who are going to take care of the property and not abuse it. They do not want to worry about whether the rent will be paid on time or if the property is being used for something it was not intended for in the lease. In this regard, the tenant is the one that can assuage the landlord’s fears by continual open communication.
If a landlord understands that the tenant is invested in taking care of the property and maintains an open dialogue with the landlord about maintenance needs or other concerns, the landlord will be much more inclined to give the tenant leeway if problems or hardships should arise during the course of the lease. The single best way to avoid issues that can result in eventual legal proceedings or possible eviction is for tenants to develop a strong relationship with their landlord based on trust and communication.