A tenant has the duty to:
- Pay rent on time.
- If you do not pay your rent on time, your housing provider can refuse to accept your rent and evict you. Try not to pay in cash, but if you do, get a receipt each time you pay the rent. Do not agree to have a receipt sent to you by mail. If your housing provider does not give receipts, you can create one and ask your housing provider to sign it. If you pay by check or money order, keep your bank statements showing that the check was cashed or your money order receipt to prove you paid the rent. (Remember that a money order receipt only proves that you purchased the money order, not that you gave it to your housing provider.
- Keep the premises safe and sanitary.
- Dispose of rubbish in the proper manner.
- Keep the plumbing fixtures as clean as their condition permits.
- Use electrical and plumbing fixtures properly.
- Comply with housing, health, and safety codes that apply to tenants.
- Refrain from damaging the premises and keep guests from causing damage.
- Maintain appliances supplied by the property owner in good working order.
- Conduct yourself in a manner that does not disturb any neighbors and require guests to do the same.
- Permit property owner to enter the dwelling unit if the request is reasonable and proper notice is given.
- Comply with state or municipal drug laws in connection with the premises and require house-hold members and guests to do likewise.
Your relationship with your housing provider …
- It is important to understand that by agreeing to rent your housing provider's property, you are entering into a business relationship and not a friendship with your housing provider. You should keep this in mind when dealing with your housing provider.
- Treat your housing provider politely and respectfully
- Try to get along with your housing provider, which means trying to work problems out before getting angry and arguing with your housing provider. It also means keeping your temper if you have to talk to your housing provider about the need for repairs
- If something breaks, tell your housing provider right away, preferably by giving a written notice. If you delay in having something repaired, it may cause further damage (for example, leaking water can cause the floor to rot), and you may be responsible for the costs of the repair
A housing provider has the duty to:
- Give a receipt for all rent payments.
- Put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition.
- Keep the common areas safe and sanitary.
- Comply with building, housing, health, and safety codes.
- Keep in good working order all electrical, plumbing, heating, and ventilation systems and fixtures.
- Maintain all appliances and equipment supplied or required to be supplied by the property owner.
- Provide running water and reasonable amounts of hot water and heat, unless the hot water and heat are supplied by an installation that is under the exclusive control of the tenant and supplied by a direct public utility hook-up.
- Provide garbage cans and arrange for trash removal if the property owner owns four or more residential units in the same building.
- Give at least 24 hours notice, unless it is an emergency, before entering a tenant's unit, and enter only at reasonable times and in a reasonable manner.
- Evict the tenant when informed by a law enforcement officer of drug activity by the tenant, a member of the tenant's household, or a guest of the tenant occurring in or otherwise connected with the tenant's premises.
What the law says a housing provider CANNOT do — even if the tenant is behind in rent ...
- The housing provider may not increase rent, decrease services, evict, or even threaten to evict the tenant(s) because they complained about needed repairs, asked for the home to be inspected by the local government housing inspector, or participated in a tenants' group or union.
- A housing provider is not permitted to shut off any utilities, change the locks or threaten any of these acts in order to make a tenant move out of a home.
- A housing provider cannot harass a tenant by demanding over and over to enter a home or by entering at unreasonable times of the day or without a proper purpose.
- A housing provider is not permitted to evict a tenant or remove any of property from the home without a court order signed by a judge.
- A housing provider is not permitted to keep a tenant's belongings to try to force them to pay rent.
Content courtesy of Tenant Information Line of the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.
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