What you should know about tenant’s responsibilities

That’s it: You have the keys to your new apartment. What does that imply now? The first thing that most likely comes to mind is to pay your rent on time. But it does not stop here. Let’s find out the tenant’s five main obligations according to the Régie du logement du Québec, the reference on these matters.

Paying the rent: We do not necessarily hand over a series of 12 post-dated cheques to our landlord nowadays, and he is also less prone to collecting them singly every month. Owner and lessee can, for example, agree on direct debits or Interac transfers, and sometimes even credit card payments. Generally, the due date is the first of each month.

Use of the dwelling in a safe and responsible manner: A tenant who is witness to deterioration or defects must notify the landlord quickly (plumbing, electricity, other). If he is responsible for causing said damages, he must take charge of the required repairs (paint retouching, plugging holes after the installation of a picture-frame, for example). If he can prove that they are not of his doing (broken plumbing, electrical short circuit…), then the landlord must proceed to the required work.

If repairs deem necessary or require urgent attention, the tenant must grant access to his unit to the owner or the tradesmen mandated to perform the work (electrician, plumber, other). He cannot refuse that they be carried out.

Maintaining the form and function of the dwelling: Your apartment is loaned to you, it is not yours. Thus, you require the approval of the owner of the premises before modifying the divisions of a room. Since the dwelling must be returned to its original state at the end of the lease or when you leave, opt for additions/modifications that will not damage the partitions.

Take note that, unless otherwise specified, your lease will be residential, and not a commercial one. Before opening a hairdressing salon or turning your home into a workshop, validate this possibility with your landlord. He will inform you about the zoning by-laws in force for said building and sector.

Playing the card of respect and cleanliness: No one likes to be disturbed by the noise of others. Turn down that volume so everyone can enjoy their favourite show! Your chores and tasks do not need to be done in the early hours of the morning as well. Wait until the day has risen before tackling them.

And what about those garbage bins left out in the entrance or the stairway, depending on the configuration of the building. Same thing for those shoes clogging up the shared hallway giving access to the apartments. Pick after yourself!

Allowing visits: Never change the locks without prior authorization of the landlord. The latter must have at all times a copy of your apartment keys in case of emergency. The landlord must also be granted a right of access for scheduled apartment visits with prospective tenants or a potential buyer, with, of course, the tenant’s prior authorization.

Note that if a tenant decides to paint one or more rooms of the apartment, he may be required to put those walls back to a pale, neutral colour before he leaves. He will have to leave the premises clean and, as much as possible, in their original condition.

By Julie du blog Bohos.ca