Tenant Responsibilities: Rental Rules for Tenancy Agreements


August 7, 2019

Want to start off on the right foot with your new tenant? First, establish all rental rules and responsibilities in the tenancy agreement. This is an opportunity to set up standards and outline your expectations. Ideally, you will establish a healthy tenant-landlord relationship from the beginning while simultaneously, protecting your property.

 

Universal Rules

The standard tenant responsibilities for a tenancy agreement are:

  • For the tenant to pay rent and utility bills on time
  • Care for the property and report/repair minor damages
  • Hand back the property in the same condition as on move-in day (with the exception of normal wear and tear)
  • Bear the liability to cover insurance of personal belongings

Landlords are responsible for fulfilling the following aspects of a tenancy agreement:

  • Maintain structure of the building, plumbing, and electricity
  • Cover insurance costs for the building and all of the contents that are landlord-owned
  • Always provide a written notice to enter the property at least 24 hours ahead, with the exception of emergencies
  • Protect and return (when and if appropriate) the rental deposit

Along with these standard responsibilitiesadd your specific house rules into a tenant agreement. This will make for a more efficient tenancy and ideally a more responsible tenant.

 

Payments

As a landlord, you should provide clear information on what the rental fees are, the dates they are due and your preferred method of payment. Don't leave out charges for late payments!

To avert liability, make utility confirmation a rule required for switching into a tenants name before move-in day.

 

Property Maintenance

Landlords should inform tenants about how to submit maintenance requests and how they will be handled. At Blueground, we manage maintenance requests through our Guest App which is a useful tool allowing people to report maintenance issues, schedule cleanings and much more.

Ideally, the tenant should keep your property clean in order to avoid cosmetic damage or attract pests. They are required to upkeep the interior decor, furnishings, appliances and outdoor areas of your property. As a landlord though, you have to maintain the foundations of your property such as electrical wiring, plumbing, and heating/cooling systems.

The tenancy agreement is also an opportunity to set boundaries for what a tenant can and can’t do when it comes to home decor and home improvements. To avoid the unwanted surprise of a brightly painted wall or unfortunate tenant DIY, establish the clear permissions required for major changes.

 

Inspections

Landlords should set a schedule for the expected frequency of property inspections. Be clear about the notice you will give the tenant prior to entering the property.

man wearing a white collared shirt and khaki paints and a black clipboard while holding phone to his ear

Your right of entry for inspections allows you to monitor the condition of your property and the renter's behavior. Additionally, a thorough move-in inventory of your property acts as a reference point for the tenant. This makes them aware of the state that the rental must be maintained and returned in.

 

Additional rules:

Pets

Whether you want your rental property to be pet-free or pet-friendly is your choice. Either way, just make sure it is clearly stated in the tenancy agreement. Furthermore, some states require documentation for pets such as pet licenses and vaccinations.

To avoid confusion, define the type of pets you allow. In an ideal lease, weight restrictions and the number of pets allowed per rental is also mentioned. Naturally, a tenant should be responsible for cleaning up after the pet and are liable for any related property damage. Therefore you might want to consider including a pet deposit in the tenancy agreement for pet-friendly rentals.

Occupancy

Property owners ought to clearly specify the limits of occupancy for your rental. List the names of authorized tenants on the lease agreement. If things go south, you will have grounds to evict a tenant who invites a friend to move-in or sublets the unit, without permission.

Utilities

Will your property have utilities included in the rental fee? Or will your tenant be responsible for taking over the bills and keeping on top of payments? Leaving tenants responsible for their electricity, heat, air conditioning, internet, and cable TV bills allows them to monitor the usage and stay within their budget.

Keys

Have you covered who takes responsibility for a loss of keys? As a landlord, you should provide tenants with a set that they will return at the end of the tenancy. Alternatively, tenants should be made aware of the required fees for replacing keys or having a lock changed.

Notice Period

Landlords should state the notice period that a tenant is required to provide before vacating the property. Unfortunately, not having sufficient time to find a new tenant can result in long periods of vacancy and lost rental income.

In most cases, a standard notice period is 30 days. Consequently, being flexible with rental contracts and renting for mid-long term stays is an option for keeping your rental occupied more often.

Smoking

As a landlord, you are in control of the rules. That includes where your tenant can and can’t smoke. For instance, outdoor areas, balconies, and entryways.

woman sitting on a couch holding a cigarette and a lighter about to start smoking

Smoking can cause bad smells and damage to the interior of a property. To keep your rental property smoke-free, make it a clear policy in your tenancy agreement that covers all areas of your rental.

Waste removal

A tenant should be responsible for the waste that they generate. Make it clear what trash removal services are provided. Explain their responsibility to adhere to waste removal. This includes the frequency of removal, recycling and composting in your building. Failing to keep on top of waste removal is not just unsightly, it can also result in pest infestations.

Illegal activity

It is wise to include a rental rule that prohibits disruptive behavior and illegal activities. This will restrict excessive noise that could antagonize the neighbors. It could also prevent illicit and criminal acts from happening in or around your space.

Parking

If you offer parking amenities with your rental, include all the related rules in your tenancy agreement. Clearly stating which areas are designated for parking and which are out-of-bounds for vehicles keeps everyone on the same page. Better yet, it's advisable to assign specific parking spaces to tenants.

Communication

Keeping in regular contact and being responsive to requests will enable you to establish a rapport. Effectively managing a tenancy requires clear communication from both sides. Tenants should be clear about their responsibility to report maintenance issues and cooperate with property inspections.

You want tenants to feel at home in your property, so respect their privacy, making sure you have adequate home-security in place. It helps to establish landlord office hours during which tenants can come and talk to you about any issues they may be having with their rentals.

Lease cancellation

It’s sensible to cover all options for lease cancellation. If a tenant gives the full notice period stated in the tenancy agreement, then a cancellation fee is not required. However, penalties should be in place to cover leases canceled less than 30 days prior to the start date.

At Blueground, we charge a fee equal to a monthly rent payment. Tenants who wish to cancel their lease do so in writing and are given confirmation. All lease agreements are drafted and enforced on behalf of our property owners.

We're always looking to add new properties our global portfolio. If you rent your apartment to us you'll see it transform into a fully-furnished and equipped investment that provides a long-term passive income. Get in touch, we look forward to hearing from you!


We use cookies to personalize content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyze our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners.

I accept