Higher inflation and lower salaries have made it increasingly difficult for many people to purchase their own homes. This has paved the way for a ”boom” in the property rental market. Many people are now faced with all kinds of rental lease agreements, many being confusing and in most cases tenants are not properly informed of the particulars of these lease agreements. The largest problem which a tenant might be faced with is a tyrannical landlord. Though now days this should not be common practice, we will review some of the obstacles and rights of the tenant.
As a general rule many prospective tenants tend to believe it is better to rent from the owner directly. In an attempt to avoid high commission rates of rental agencies. Though this might be true, one easily tends to forget that rental agencies take specific measure to protect themselves both against breach by the tenant as well as breach by the landlord. In essence that small 8 to 15% extra on your rent is there to not just protect the landlord but to protect you the tenant as well. Firstly, you must ensure that your lease has a fixed term for example, twelve months. There must be a stipulated annual or bi-annual escalation percentage in the lease agreement or amendment agreed upon on signing of the original lease.
This escalation will come into place when both parties agree to extend the duration of the lease agreement. Your lease agreement should also include the notice period, both for cancellation and for extension. If the landlord wishes to terminate the lease at the time of its expiration you should receive sufficient notice as per the lease agreement, ensure your lease gives ample notice for example, two months. Naturally you would have to notify the owner of your intent to cancel as well.
If you and the landlord agree to not extend the lease agreement but to go on to a month to month basis, the landlord has the right to increase the rental by the agreed upon escalation rate. He also reserves the right to cancel the lease with 30 days notice. Essentially a month to month rental agreement is not ideal.
The landlord will also have the right to cancel a lease agreement early if the tenant fails to meet his obligations, including failure to make rental payments or gross neglect of the premises. All these details must be included in the lease agreement. If the tenant feels the landlord has been unjust in such a termination they can make an appeal with the rental housing tribunal.
Unfortunately all of these actions will take time, and it is vital as a tenant to ensure your rights are being protected by the lease agreement and that you uphold your responsibilities to it. The best way to protect your rights against exceptional rental increases by greedy landlords is to ensure you are protected from the moment you first sign the lease.