It’s the same old story. Kid grows up and needs to be independent. He leaves the family home and tries to look for his own crib in the city, near his place of work or favorite bar but preferably, near both J He finds the perfect 2-bedroom apartment in a safe location uptown but of course, houses in good areas are always off budget. So, instead, he settles for that puny 24 square meter condo room he found in the classified ads section of the local paper mainly, for practical reasons. He talks to the landlord, closes the deal and signs the lease contract. He moves in the next day to that cute box with a bed to sleep on, his 5 year old TV on a small table and a shelf full of pocketbooks for leisure.
Sounds simple enough, right?
NOT! Maybe first time tenants would think so. But for more experienced lessees, they know full well that the road to renting is not necessarily an easy one.
It is most likely that a tenant would encounter any, some or maybe all of these roadblocks at some point during his stay at the rented space: noisy neighbors, faulty wirings, floodwater, greedy landlords, no heat, cockroach and rodents or other icky stuff that Mommy would never allow inside the family home.
When any of these happens, the tenant has to be assertive.
For the tenant, the important key is to know your rights. Most are basic common sense, anyway.
1. You have a right against discrimination.
Landlords cannot deny housing to a tenant, no matter what race or national origin you belong to, or what religious belief you practice, or sexual preference, familial status or any disability you may have. Tenants are protected under the Fair Housing Act.
2. You have a right to peace and quiet.
Just because your neighbor next door cannot stand her own “good for nothing” husband, it does not mean you have to endure listening to them bicker at each other at 7 o’clock in the morning…EVERYDAY!
Your landlord should be able to protect you against nuisance and disturbance, among others. He should be able to provide a “habitable” living environment which also covers clean space and water.
3. You have a right to security and privacy.
The law states that security devices such as window latches, sliding door pin locks or sliding door security bars are essential to all residential units. It is the landlord’s responsibility to install these devices at his expense.
Also, no one is allowed, not even your landlord himself, to enter the premises of the apartment you are renting without your permission except when there is an emergency.
4. You have a right against eviction.
There is a proper venue to resolve issues pertaining to overdue rentals, landlords should file the proper petition in Court. There are legal remedies available without the need to resort to violence, intimidation or humiliation of the tenants.
Even if a tenant missed a payment or broke a stipulation on the lease contract, a landlord cannot forcibly remove the tenant from the rented premises. That is the law.
There are a lot of other laws and rights accorded for the protection of tenants. Ultimately, it is about being informed of those rights and having the will to assert the law whenever rights are ignored.