Tenants should take an active part in determining that the rental they are considering is in compliance with all municipal codes and regulations. To find out more about codes and regulations, contact the municipality in which you are considering residing.
Tenants should also assess security measures (deadbolts, keyed window locks, outside lights) and fire safety precautions (fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and sprinkler systems) before signing a lease.
You are responsible for reading the lease before signing it and for following the rules and regulations in the lease, unless they are illegal or unreasonable. See our checklist on things to look for in leases.
Paying the Rent
You are responsible for paying the rent on time and may be evicted if you regularly pay rent late. The landlord may also charge a late fee for rent not paid on time, which should be outlined in your lease. Remember to get a receipt for payment especially if you are paying by cash or money order.
Care of the Property
You are responsible for any damage done to the property by you, your children, guests, or pets if it is more than “normal wear and tear.” The law requires proper care of the landlord’s property even if your written lease does not mention this. You can be evicted for destroying the property under the Anti-Eviction Act.
Notice of Repairs
Tenants are responsible for giving the landlord notice of any repairs that are needed to the property. This is especially important when the defect (such as a water leak) can cause additional damage unless it is promptly repaired.
Remember to put all requests for repairs in writing. Keep a copy for yourself and remember to include the date. If possible send by certified mail with return receipt requested.
Renters are accountable for insuring their own personal property against loss or damage and obtaining liability coverage. Renters should consider looking into renter’s insurance because losses from theft, fire, and other misfortunes are not usually covered by the owner’s insurance policy.
Many insurance companies offer renter’s insurance specifically for students. Some students’ personal items may be covered under their guardian’s homeowner’s insurance or it is possible that they can be added for a small fee.
You must not interfere with the rights of other tenants. This means that you must control your family members, guests, and pets. Under the Just Cause for Eviction Act, a landlord can ask the court to evict you for being disorderly, making too much noise, and disturbing other tenants (but only after you have ignored a written notice from the landlord telling you to stop).