Landlords and Tenants Basic Rights and Responsibilities

You finally, rented a house/apartment and escaped becoming homeless. Huge pressure off your shoulders, right? Being a tenant can sometimes get very frustrating when you have a landlord/landlady who just doesn’t seem to care anything about your tenancy beyond your rent payments. As a tenant, your responsibilities include, but may not be limited to maintaining decency of the home; making minor repairs that are as a result of your own negligence or carelessness and paying utility bills (if they are not included in your rent). However, it’s not all responsibilities as a tenant. You have rights too, which are mostly responsibilities of the landlord/landlady. Here are a few of them:

  1. Zero Landlord Disturbances

    microphone highlighting landlord disturbancesLandlords/landladies may need access to the property to inspect it and conduct repairs from time to time, but they are required to do this at a time you have both agreed on prior to their coming. Otherwise, they are obliged to by law let you live in your home without unnecessary interference. Your landlady/landlord can’t come into your home whenever they feel like it, and they should give you reasonable notice and arrange a suitable time if they need to visit. This notice period is usually prescribed in your tenancy agreement.

    Your landlord/landlady, or anyone employed by them, should not harass you in your home or make it difficult for you to stay there. They could do this by entering your home without your permission, visiting at unsuitable times or stopping you from using all the rooms; or by using the water or electricity. You, on the other hand, must keep the peace in the neighbourhood and not disturb other tenants or neighbours with noise or unsavoury behaviour. This is, usually, spelt out in your Tenancy Agreement.

  2. Repairs

    repair tools any landlord should have handyLandlords are responsible for most repairs to permanent parts of the structure of the property. This means that problems with the roof, walls, gutters, drains, etc. are the responsibility of the landlord/landlady. They are also responsible for keeping the water tank (if included) in good enough condition to serve its proper purpose.

    You, as the tenant also have a responsibility to repair the non-permanent parts of the house without expecting to be reimbursed by the landlord. Examples of such things you are responsible for include, changing faulty light bulbs, filling your gas cylinder, fixing internal decorations, maintaining the garden or yard, etc.

  3. Follow the Agreed Upon Rules on Rent

    landlord landlady rental agreementBoth you and your landlady/landlord must follow the provisions of the tenancy agreement and not violate any of the provisions. They must also follow the provisions of the agreement in the event you are in breach of the agreement and they intend to evict you. However, the provisions must not be in breach of the nation’s laws regarding tenancy. Your rent can be increased, but discussions concerning such an increase should be had around the time when renewal is coming up. This depends on your rent period – if it is a one year or two-year contract.

In the end, it’s not really a vacation being a landlord/landlady either, and tenants who understand this and empathise with their landladies/landlords create the right conditions for a very enjoyable stay. Outside of the agreements, rights and responsibilities, maintaining very cordial relations with your landlord/landlady is always a great thing. It reduces the chances of friction between you and makes both your lives easier.

Watch the minister explain some important rights and responsibilities of tenants in Ghana.

Are there some important rights and responsibilities we missed out on? Please let us know in the comments below.