Rental what the owner cannot do

Rental: what the owner cannot do

When you rent a property, you sign a lease agreement with the owner. This contract has legal value and binds both parties. The law regulates and protects tenants as well as landlords. Therefore, there are rules that must be followed throughout the duration of the contract. Both you and your landlord commit to following these rules upon signing the lease. If either party fails to fulfill these obligations, legal action can be taken. We'll provide an overview to help you better understand the situation.


What are the Landlord's Obligations in a Rental Property?


A landlord who rents out their property is required to fulfill certain obligations towards their tenant. The lease agreement binds them to do so. These obligations are defined by real estate law and cover various aspects:


Provide a decent and well-maintained property


A landlord must provide a decent property, meaning they must ensure the health and safety of its occupants according to several criteria:


  • the watertightness of the roof, doors, and windows;
  • sturdy stairs, balconies, and railings to prevent falls;
  • construction materials and installations that comply with current standards;
  • sufficient natural lighting;
  • functional sanitary facilities;
  • a minimally equipped kitchen (outlets, sink, etc.);
  • an efficient ventilation system.


The property must be in good condition, meaning you should be able to move in and live there normally as soon as you sign the lease agreement. Major repairs are the landlord's responsibility, and minor finishing touches can be taken care of by the tenant if they wish. Likewise, the landlord is obligated to ensure that no pests have taken up residence in the apartment. They are not required to provide a diagnosis, but if you discover an infestation, its eradication is the landlord's responsibility. However, you are still responsible for daily maintenance.


Ensure peace and tranquility 


The law states that a tenant must be able to enjoy their property peacefully. This means that the landlord is responsible for ensuring that no disturbances hinder the tranquility, or for addressing them with the necessary means if they do occur.


For example, if a noisy road is located near the property, the choice of doors and windows must be made accordingly. If the neighbors are excessively loud, the landlord must intervene. If an installation in the apartment is dysfunctional and disturbs the peace, it must be repaired by the landlord.


Maintain the property and common areas


Every landlord has a continuous obligation to maintain their rental property. They are not supposed to wait for the tenant to complain before taking action. This means that they must ensure they provide a well-maintained property and address any aging installations by renovating or replacing the equipment as needed.


The landlord is also required to carry out maintenance work every 10 or 20 years to maintain the major structures (roof, facades, insulation, etc.). Only day-to-day renovations are the tenant's responsibility (light bulbs, filters, seals, etc.). If the property includes common areas, your landlord is also obligated to maintain them.


10 things the landlord is not allowed to do in a rental


Being a landlord doesn't mean having free rein. There are restrictions for landlords in order to protect the well-being and privacy of their tenants.


1. Impose a specific payment method for rent


For rent payment, the tenant's only obligation is to pay their rent and charges on time. They are free to choose the method of payment they prefer: check, bank transfer, cash; the landlord may suggest a convenient payment method, but they cannot demand it.


2. Prohibit a pet


Pets are accepted by default, as long as they can be legally owned in the territory and their owner complies with the law (identification, vaccination, etc.). You are not required to declare your pet when signing your lease, and your landlord cannot forbid you from living with it.


However, it is possible that you may have cause for concern if your pet is a nuisance to neighbors and they complain about it. Also, if your pet causes damage to the property, you will be responsible for the repairs.


3. Prohibit temporary accommodation


Your landlord cannot forbid you from having guests and accommodating your relatives in your home. As long as you are present, you are free to host whoever you want and for as long as you want. However, you do not have the right to sublet your property.


4. Impose rules of living


As a tenant, you are free to live as you please. Your landlord cannot impose rules of living on you. They have the right to write guidelines in your lease agreement, but these will not have legal value (prohibiting smoking, asking to limit water consumption, banning certain equipment, etc.). However, you may have cause for concern if your lifestyle causes damage, and you will need to address it when you leave.


5. Enter the housing without agreement


It is strictly forbidden for a landlord to enter a rented property without the tenant's permission, whether it is for a routine visit, renovations, or any other reason. This rule goes along with their obligation to preserve the tenant's peace and quiet.


6. Request the full payment for a partially started month


Your landlord cannot require you to pay for the entire month when you give your notice. For example, if you submit your notice on June 10th, you are required to pay your rent until July 10th. Your landlord cannot ask you to pay for the entire month of July, but only for the 10 days of occupancy.


7. Withhold amounts from the security deposit without justification


The security deposit exists to cover any potential damage caused by the tenant. If a portion or the entire deposit must be withheld for repairs, the amount of these repairs must be justified, with invoices as proof. A landlord cannot arbitrarily estimate the cost of repairs.


8. Prohibit making holes in the walls


The law states that a landlord cannot object to alterations made by the tenant, as long as these changes do not permanently transform the property. Holes in the walls fall under this category. However, it is the tenant's responsibility to properly fill them in upon departure.


9. Request money to reserve the housing


It is illegal for a landlord to ask for money to reserve a property, even if they state that the amount will be deducted from the first rent payment. Apart from rent and charges, we recommend not paying any money before signing your lease agreement in proper form.


10.  Demand to renovate the property before departure


You do not have to renovate the property to return it. It is normal for paint, wallpaper, floors, and equipment to age. As long as their wear is not caused by abnormal use, the renovation and replacement of equipment are the responsibility of the owner.

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