Legalities you should know before renting out your home

Legalities you should know before renting out your home  16th March 2023

Renting a house is a time taking process. If not handled correctly, it can become a significant headache. Tenant misuse of the property or refusal to leave, late rent and maintenance fee payments, and hunting for new tenants are some issues you may encounter when renting out your home. As a precaution, homeowners may get landlord insurance, specialised home insurance to protect themselves against potential financial losses that may arise from tenancy contracts.

You can safeguard yourself, your rental business, and property as a landlord by being aware of your rights and responsibilities under the law.

1. Written agreement:
For the law to protect the interests of both tenants and owners, a written agreement is crucial to facilitate a smooth transaction. The agreement must be written up in legalese and signed by both parties. The copies are given to the tenant, and the owner retains the original. Tenants shall be compelled to pay rent once the owner delivers a copy of this agreement to tenants.

2. No discrimination:
Ensure you adhere to the Rent Control Act while marketing your property, selecting new tenants, or setting apartment rules. Any acts or policies must be fair to everyone and cannot be perceived as marginalising certain people but not others.

3. A tenant's eviction:
A landlord can only evict a tenant by providing advance notice and a clear explanation. Typically, the notice period lasts between 15 days and two months. The landlord is entitled to receive equal to twice the monthly rent if the tenants do not leave the property within the allotted time.

4. Access to landlord:
Once the lease is signed, the apartment becomes the tenant's property, and the landowner is prohibited from entering without their consent. The tenant may file a lawsuit against the landlord if he does this. He must give advance notice regarding apartment inspections, repairs, or improvements.

5. Property's maintenance:
Apart from normal wear and tear, unless the agreement states otherwise, the upkeep of the property is the joint responsibility of both parties. If the owner refuses to pay for the repairs, the amount can be withdrawn from the periodic rent. If the tenants refuse to pay for the repairs, the amount can be subtracted from their security deposit.

6. Restriction on rent increases:
In violation of the contract's provisions, the landlord cannot raise the rent. If it is specified in the agreement, there is a cap on how much he can raise the rent.

7. Necessary supplies:
Tenants have a fundamental right to amenities such as water, power, parking, communication links, sanitary services, etc. Even in the event of non-payment of fees, neither the renters nor the owners may stop providing these services. The local rent authority may step in, launch an investigation, impose penalties on the parties involved, and compensate others.

8. Security deposit:
Tenants are entitled to their security deposit reimbursement within one month of vacating the property. Before reimbursing the money, owners can subtract the responsible amount. A security deposit exceeding three times the rent cost is illegal to demand.

9. Payable rent:
The landowner and the tenant must agree on the amount of rent due as specified in the written lease agreement in the case of a new tenancy. The landlord must provide the tenants with three months' notice if the rent is about to change. The overall worth of the building, which includes the market value of some of the land, the cost of construction, and the importance of amenities, is typically used to calculate the chargeable rent.

Sometimes, the landlord and tenant have a verbal understanding, but it's preferable to document everything. A formal agreement must contain all the specifics so that both parties know their legal obligations. If the tenant under your lease agreement fails, your home insurance for landlords will cover the loss of rent. Always review the prevailing regulations and consult a lawyer knowledgeable in landlord-tenant legislation.

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Disclaimer: The information provided above is for illustrative purposes only. To get more details, please refer to policy wordings and prospectus before purchasing a policy.