Landlord and Tenant Regulations

What Are a Tenant's Duties?

A tenant has several duties as well. A tenant must pay the agreed-upon rent to the landlord in a timely manner, respect the restrictions in the lease agreement, and avoid substantial damage to the value of the property.

Tenants owe several duties to landlords. The most important one is the duty to pay rent in a timely manner. Rent is usually due at the beginning of the rental period and on a regular basis. Normally there are penalties, including additional fees and fines, for late payment of rent. Penalties may even include loss of the security deposit and eviction of the tenant, an act that permanently removes the tenant from the property for nonpayment of rent.

Tenants must also follow the restrictions and limits in their lease agreement. For example, leases usually have provisions regarding the number of people that can live in a home and if pets are allowed to live there. A large number of people and the existence of pets can cause more wear and tear on the premises; therefore landlords may want the number of people limited or pets excluded, or landlords may want more rent to cover additional costs.

Usually, tenants in a residence are limited to using it as home and not as a place of business. A commercial property tenant may not use that rented property as a primary residence. Most local zoning laws divide the community into areas zoned for living and areas zoned for work.

Landlords can be liable for problem tenants who are either engaging in code violations relating to upkeep on the property or are engaging in illegal behavior that results in the police being called out too often to the property. Thus, there are often requirements regarding minimal maintenance duties, such as cutting grass, shoveling snow, and other basic upkeep duties that fall to the tenant. Tenants are also usually subject to immediate eviction if they are convicted for selling drugs or engaging in other significant illegal behavior on the rented property.

Tenants may even be held liable for illegal activities that their invited guests commit while at the property.

Finally, tenants are not allowed to destroy or damage the property. The property must be returned in the same condition at the end of the lease as it was in at the beginning of the lease, minus any normal wear and tear to the property.