Tenant Rights and Responsibilities
As a tenant, you are responsible for various things related to the property. You must:
- Help maintain a safe and sanitary living environment. This includes properly disposing of trash, and keeping the area as clean as possible.
- Use all equipment (i.e. electrical and plumbing) properly, and ensure that all appliances are in good working order. Do not damage the premises.
- Comply with the health and safety standards of the building.
- Conduct yourself in an appropriate manner. You are also responsible for your guest’s conduct. Ensure that you are not disturbing the neighbors.
- Permit the landlord to enter your apartment if proper notice is given, and the time is reasonable.
- Abide by the rules and regulations outlined in the lease agreement.
- Ensure that you and your guests comply with state and municipal drug laws with the apartment/house.
- Be respectful neighbors.
- Be proactive! Get to know your neighbors by the first week of moving in to your apartment/house. Exchange phone numbers and let them know that they can speak to you if there are any concerns. This can alleviate potential issues that may arise in the future.
Tenants have the right to quiet enjoyment.
Tenants have the right to peace and possession of the property. A landlord cannot interfere with possession and use of the property by harassing a tenant, in person or over the phone. A landlord cannot withhold utilities or deny a tenant access to the property.
Tenants have the right to habitability.
The property must meet the minimal construction, maintenance, and safety standards. In California, properties are inspected annually to ensure that the properties comply with the health and safety standards outlined by the municipality and state requirements. The tenants are responsible for notifying landlords of any concerns regarding water, sewage, waste, heating, or ventilation systems; in addition to doors, smoke detectors, lighting, fixtures, and bathrooms. The landlord is responsible for ensuring that these things are fixed, repaired, or replaced.
Tenants have the right to notice.
Landlords must give tenants notice if they believe that they are in violation of the lease agreement. This allows tenants to discuss and correct the problem with the landlord, or prepare for legal action, if necessary. Some lease agreements have a “Waiver to Notice” section. Read this section carefully, and discuss this with the landlords. By waiving the right of notice, a tenant is waiving the opportunities to correct an issue, and the landlord is permitted to file for legal action immediately.
A Few General Reminders…
- Remember to keep a copy of the signed lease agreement.
- Keep a receipt of rent and utilities payments made throughout the lease term.
- Maintain open lines of communication between you, as a tenant, and the landlord(s). This will help with reducing potential issues or concerns in the future.
- Document communication between you, as a tenant, and the landlord (i.e. repair requests, lease violations, etc.).
- DO NOT be afraid to take advantage of court to enforce action and your rights, as a tenant.
- DO NOT hesitate to contact the Off-Campus Housing Office for assistance or additional information (724-938-4444 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
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