A Landlord can be described to be an individual or body (government or institution) providing housing for individuals and organizations that requires it for different purposes in consideration of rent which can be monthly, yearly or as agreed by the parties.
A Tenant is a person or organization who occupies the property of another for his use in consideration of rent.
A landlord has the following rights in a tenancy agreement over his demised premises.
1. Right to receive rent: Rent is received as agreed by both parties. It could be monthly, weekly or yearly.
2. Right to accept or refuse renewal of tenancy: It is not mandatory that a landlord must renew his tenancy with a tenant. He may decline without reasons.
3. Power to review rent: Landlords usually increase rents after the initial period of tenancy because they are also in business. Their buildings are their investments while a quality rent is their rightly expectation.
4. Right to issue notices:
a) Notice to quit: One of the greatest powers of a landlord is the right to end a tenancy relationship. The first step towards ending a tenancy relationship is the issuance and service of “Notice to Quit” on a tenant. Generally, the law allows a landlord and his tenant to agree as to rent duration of rent and notices to be issued. Where a landlord and his tenant fail to agree as to the duration of a notice to quit in their agreement, the law will take its course. Where there is no agreement as to notice to quit, the following lengths of notices are issued:
Yearly tenancy and above- 6 months
Quarterly tenancy- 3 months
Monthly tenancy- 1 month
Weekly/tenant at will- 1 week
A landlord must ensure that his notice to quit is served personally on his tenant while an acknowledged copy of service of same is collected from the tenant.
Refusal by the landlord to collect or receive rent does not serve as a notice to quit.
b) Seven (7) days notice of owner’s intention to apply to court to recover possession: Upon the expiration of the notice to quit and the tenant has still not vacated the demised property, the landlord has a right to issue a further notice captioned “seven days notice of owner’s intention to apply to court to recover possession”. After seven days of this notice and the tenant does not vacate, the landlord will now proceed to court to issue summons.
c) Notice for inspections, etc: The rented property is to be inspected only as mutually agreed by both parties during specific hours and under certain circumstances.
1. Maintain the property by keeping it structurally sound, repair and replace leaking sheets and damaged ceiling boards, and also keep the exterior in good and tenantable repairs.
2. Make all repairs necessary to keep the rental premises in a livable condition.
3. Ensure the premises remain safe and deal with other tenants who are violating the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement.
4. Comply with the standards of all building, housing, and health and maintain in good working condition all electrical, plumbing, and sanitary, fittings and fixtures.
5. Provide notifications in writing when the property is being transferred to a new owner, or when other changes are made that potentially affect the tenant.
The tenant has the following rights during the period of tenancy.
1. Right to a copy of written agreement: Prospective tenants are advised to seek the services of their solicitors before signing a tenancy agreement and ensure that a copy of the signed agreement is given to them.
2. Right to peaceful and quiet enjoyment of property: Once payment is made and tenancy commences the tenant has both legal and equitable rights over the said property. Consequently, a can even sue for trespass against any trespasser.
3. Right to issuance of receipts of payment: Payment of rent is a vital part of tenancy. The receipt of payment is an acknowledgement from a landlord or his agent that he has received rent from a tenant. This evidence of such payments is the exclusive right of the tenant.
4. Right to have the property maintained and appliances repaired in a timely fashion.
5. Right to refund of unexhausted caution deposit.
6. Right to valid notices which are:
a) Notice to quit
b) Seven days notice to recover premises
c) Notice for inspections.
The following responsibilities of a tenant are;
1. Paying rent in full and on time as agreed by both parties
2. Disposing of garbage in an appropriate, timely, safe and sanitary manner.
3. Maintaining the property in a reasonable way and making every effort not to damage the property negligently or willfully.
4. Not subletting without the express consent of the landlord.
5. Not creating a disturbance or safety hazard for other residents living in the building.
6. Operate all electrical and plumbing fixtures properly.
7. Comply with the standards imposed by all state and local housing, health and safety codes.
8. Not intentionally or negligently destroy, deface, damage or remove any fixtures, appliance of other part of the premises, or allow your guests do so.
9. Keep clean and use appropriately any appliances the landlord has provided and promptly tell your landlord if your appliances need repair.
10. Allow your landlord reasonable access (upon 24 hours notice) to the premises to inspect, make repairs or show the property to prospective buyers.
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