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Dec 21, 2023

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What To Watch Out For In A Tenancy Agreement

Before moving into your rental home, it is essential to sign the lease agreement with your landlord. Several people are eager to sign the dotted lines and often skip the fine print. To help you navigate your tenancy agreement, we have outlined key aspects to consider. 

The agreement should clearly outline the obligations for both you and your landlord, as it holds legal weight. Make sure you understand every point as you read each heading. Do not overlook any point that you do not understand. Speak with your lawyer, your estate agent, or the landlord of the property. The following are things you should look out for in your tenancy agreement:.  

1. The Basics

This is usually found on the cover page and includes:

  • Names:
    This includes the name of the landlord and yours. It states clearly that "THIS TENANCY AGREEMENT IS BETWEEN CHIROMA CHUKWUMA ADEKUNLE (the landlord) AND DIKKO CHINEDU OLADAPO (the tenant).
  • Property Type:
    It also includes the kind of property you are renting, which can be one of the following:
    Self-Contain
    1-bedroom flat
    2-bedroom flat
    3-bedroom flat
  • Address:
    It then goes on to show the address of the property.
  • Rent and Deposits
    The basics also include the rent you are paying for the property and any deposit you are required to make. The caution fee is classified under deposits.

Make sure everything is spelled correctly. Also confirm the start and end dates of the tenancy, and make sure it matches the verbally agreed date and amount you are paying.

Check if there is a clause that gives the landlord the right to review the rent, subject to any conditions. Conditions usually include the economic situation of the location or the market analysis of similar properties. The landlord could include a meaning of "landlord" that means either him or himself and any people who will take over after him. This only means that if the owner dies, the person named as his "successor" will be able to collect the rent from you (the tenant).  

2. Eviction Notice and Break Clauses

There should also be a clause in the lease that shows the notice period that should be given by either the owner or the tenant before the agreement can be broken. 

We have a guide for you here to help you know what to do when your landlord breaks the lease or evicts you. The notice length can be from 7 days to 6 months.

3. Bills

Your tenancy agreement should state what kinds of bills you are expected to pay as a tenant. You are usually required to pay electricity bills to the DISCO in your neighbourhood. If the property uses a prepaid metre, you can make payments electronically through your bank apps or through the website of your local DISCO. It includes "dustbin levies" paid to the waste management company that handles your location. This section should include information on who handles repairs to the property. As a tenant, it means you are to keep the premises in good condition, except for situations by the act of "God" Confirm the definitions of "reasonable wear and tear" and "damages by acts of God." Understanding and sticking to this will help you retrieve your caution fee at the end of the rent term. You may be allowed to decorate the property. Check the agreement to see if the landlord is willing to assume the cost of specific repairs, such as painting.  

4. Landlord-specific Rules
Some landlords have rules governing the conduct of tenants on their property.

These rules include:
Inability to sublet without express permission from the landlord
Inability to receive sleeping guests or guests of opposite genders who are not related to you.

The rules should be fair, and if you believe you cannot work with them, do not sign the agreement.

These are often underrated, but they are very important. Do not think that your landlord is "overdoing it" or that "you have basic human rights" to take certain actions.

Things to watch out for under landlord-specific rules include:

  • Are you allowed to have friends over?

Before allowing people to visit, carefully look over your tenancy agreement to know if your landlord will have issues with it.

You are only responsible for your actions and not those of your landlord, so do not test to know how he will react. If your visitors damage his property, then the repercussions are yours to bear. Let your guests know not to damage anything if you are allowed to have them over.

  • Smoking or doing drugsMost landlords are against the use of cigarettes and weeds on their property.  
  • Subletting
    Do not sublet any part of the house without the express agreement of the landlord.

Tenancy agreements often emphasise this, and you should take it seriously when you are in breach of it.

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DISCLAIMER

We try to make sure that the information here is accurate at the time of publishing. But the property market moves fast and some information may now be out of date. Zerodip accepts no responsibility or liability for any decisions you make based on the information provided. Graphics and images used here are for information purposes - we do not have ownership right over them.

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