Tenants have responsibilities which are clearly laid out in their provincial Residential Tenancies Act. It is valuable for tenants and landlords alike to know the responsibilities stated in the RTA. However, since landlords and tenants have a symbiotic relationship, it’s also important for discuss what renters are expected to do in order to uphold their end of the bargain. Aside from the obvious, such as paying rent on time and keeping the rental property clean, here are some things you’ll be responsible for as a renter.
Damages to your own belongings. Did your fridge stop working? The question of whether you’ll have to pay for maintenance yourself or not depends on whether the appliance was in the home or apartment when you moved in. While landlords are typically responsible for emergency repairs to appliances the property came with, if you bring your own into the space, you automatically assume responsibility for them. One way to prevent damage to appliances is to keep all windows and doors locked, test your smoke detector regularly and keep your home clean.
Obtaining tenant’s insurance. You may not own your property, but you likely own valuable assets that you keep in the home. Landlord’s insurance will cover damage to your home’s interior and exterior in the case of fire, water damage or a break-in—but you are responsible for acquiring tenant’s insurance to cover everything else. Tenant’s insurance not only covers the cost of replacing lost or damaged items within your home, it helps pay for additional living expenses should you need to move out after a crisis.
Keeping everything safe and legal. Illegal activity in a rental property goes against the standards laid out in the RTA. Landlords expect their renters not to endanger, threaten or harass neighbours and other tenants in the unit. On the other side of the coin, if you feel you have been mistreated by another tenant in a common area, or you feel unsafe in your own unit, you have every right to reach out to your landlord with concerns.
Upholding contractual obligations. As a tenant, you are also expected to respect other clauses your landlord has specifically included in the contract. Rather than skipping over the fine print, be sure to review your contract with a fine-toothed comb to ensure you are following the rules. For instance, some landlords may permit smoking on the property, while others may be less lenient. When it comes to things like pets—there are rules set by your local Landlord Tenant Board that can’t be broken even if your landlord asks for no pets the contract, so be sure to know your rights when it comes to things like that.