The rights of tenants are generally discussed in great detail, while the rights of landlords are often ignored.
Student Attorney Randalyn Rowe examined the rights of Landlords for the Law Made Simple series for the Hugh Wooding Law School Human Rights Law Clinic. Randalyn’s article was published in the Trinidad Guardian newspaper on Monday 23th November, 2014.
A tenancy is formed through contractual relations between two parties, namely a landlord and a tenant. The essence of a tenancy is a grant by the landlord to the tenant of exclusive possession of a property, coupled with an intention to create the relationship of landlord and tenant. Since the basis of the relationship is contractual, the rights of parties are dependent on the terms of the agreement. There are however, certain rights and obligations which are featured in all tenancy agreements or are implied by law. In this article, some of the usual rights and obligations of landlord will be noted.
RENT: A landlord has the right to set and receive on a specified date, the rent for the property occupied by the tenant.
ENTRY: The landlord has the right to enter the property for the purposes of inspection and repairs. He must however give the tenant at least 24 hours prior notice of his intention. In cases of emergency however, the landlord can enter the property without the tenant’s consent.
RESTRICT ASSIGNMENT / SUBLETTING: The Landlord can reasonably withhold his consent or absolutely prohibit the tenant from assigning his interest in the property to a third party or sub-letting the premises.
TERMINATE TENANCY: Landlord can end a tenancy by giving the tenant a valid and written ‘Notice to Quit’. If the tenancy is fixed, that is, for a specified number of years, the tenancy will end at its expiration. If the tenancy is periodic, for example monthly or yearly, the notice must reflect that time; one month and six months respectively. A landlord can also approach the court for a possession order against the tenant for reasons such as non-payment of rent or on the grounds that the property is required for personal use.
RECEIPTS: The landlord must provide the tenant with receipts for payment of rent.
REPAIRS: The landlord is obliged to ensure that the property is in repair and in all respects fit to live in at the start and duration of the tenancy. He must maintain both the interior and exterior of the property. To carry out this duty, the landlord must be informed of the necessity for repairs and given reasonable access to the property to effect such repairs. If the tenant after reasonably informing the landlord of the need, undertakes such repairs, then the landlord must reimburse him.
QUIET ENJOYMENT: The landlord must ensure that neither he, nor anyone claiming under him, does not interfere with the tenant’s right to peacefully occupy the property.
FITNESS: When the property is furnished, there’s an implication that it is reasonably fit for human habitation, that is, it has met the minimum health and safety standards such as water, sanitation and proper ventilation.
RETURN DEPOSIT: Where the landlord received a security deposit, at the tenancy’s expiration, he is obligated to return it to the tenant. It may however be retained if the tenant has for example, failed to pay rent or has damaged the property.
Students of the Hugh Wooding Law School Human Rights Law Clinic were each given the opportunity to write an article for the “Law Made Simple” column in the Trinidad Guardian newspaper.
These topics ranged from analysis of specific legislation, to general legal concepts. The aim of this exercise was to teach the students how to write about complex legal issues, for the average newspaper reader.
This article was re-published with permission from the Human Rights Law Clinic.
The featured image used in this post is by Adam Lederer, used under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license. Visit Adam Lederer’s flickr photostream.