Responsibilities as Tenants: Canstar's Rental Guide

25 May 2016
If Australia is fostering a generation of renters, as some have said, then it’s a generation with added responsibility.

There are a large range of duties and responsibilities that come with renting and living in someone’s property. While you’re generally free to furnish the house/apartment, and live in it as you see fit, there are many things you can’t do as a tenant in someone else’s property, and the flipside of that is that there’s a whole lot of things you have to do. We’ve put together a list of nine things you should do as a tenant, unless you fancy being evicted for breaching your tenancy agreement.

Read and understand your lease

The first thing you should do as a tenant is read your lease and make sure you understand every aspect of it. This will help you ensure that you don’t break any rules or conditions of your lease.

Don’t break the rules or conditions of your lease

Lease says no pets? That means no pets, full stop, no exceptions. The rules and conditions of your lease are there for a reason, and 99% of the time breaking them will get you in hot water with your landlord.

Pay your rent on time

The absolutely fundamental aspect to being a good tenant; pay your rent on time!  Not only will not paying your rent on time cause problems in your relationship with your landlord, but after a certain period of time your landlord can evict you for failing to pay.

Maintain the property

While the rental property belongs to the landlord, it’s your job as tenant to maintain the property, and keep it up to a reasonable standard. This includes keeping the premises clean, not causing any damage to the property, and if damage is caused, notifying the landlord or agent as soon as possible. Failure to do this could result in you being forced to cover the full cost of repairs, or even being evicted.

Be careful with alterations

As a tenant you’re generally not allowed to alter or renovate the landlord’s property. While some very minor changes may be allowed, it’s best to play it safe and avoid any alterations unless you desperately think it’s necessary. In any case, check with your landlord before doing anything; and double-checking never hurt either.

Use the property lawfully

For most people this goes without saying, but for others it bears repeating; don’t do anything illegal inside the rental property, and don’t use the rental property to facilitate any illegal actions or doings. Because a) breaking the law is bad, and b) you’ll get evicted.

Be respectful

Even if you don’t plan on living in the same rental property for too long, it’s important to be considerate towards your neighbours. This includes not being too loud, and interacting with neighbours and nearby residents in a respectful and polite way.

Give adequate notice

If you decide to end your tenancy early for whatever reason, it’s important that you give your landlord advance notice, fill out the appropriate forms, and pay any outstanding rent. The sooner they are aware the better, and you can make sure that you are not in arrears once you leave the property.

Leave it as you found it

When you move out of the property, make sure to clean up thoroughly, and leave everything as you found it. Not doing so can invoke fees or other financial penalties, such as the loss of your bond.

As long as you remember to do all of the above, your tenancy period should be largely problem-free, and your relationship with your landlord will be a good one.

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