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Knowing your rights and avoid real estate scams

What are the requirements of landlords and renters in a rental contract?

Written by Delphine Denys

To whom does each task regarding the apartment apply? Who is in charge of insurance in case of a robbery? What are the requirements of the landlord and what are those of the renter? This can be a motive for litigation: not having clearly defined the requirements of each party. Normally these are indicated in the contract, but they could be insufficiently detailed, giving space for interpretation and conflict. We have outlined a list explaining details to help you better understand:

Requirements of the landlord:

They should offer a clean apartment in good condition for someone to move into immediately.

They should be capable of providing the energy certificate and the certificate of livability.

They should assure the continent of the apartment (not the content).

The landlord pays all co-property costs, superintendent rates if there exist, and the Real Estate Tax (IBI).

They should replace the furniture in case of malfunction or lack of function due to age.

Requirements of the renter

They should pay the rent at the start of the month, stay at least six months in the apartment, and maintain the space in the same condition as when they arrived.

They should alert the landlord to the end of their stay at least one month before their departure.

They should pay all costs for gas, water and electricity that apply. They should update data during meter readings. They should inform the landlord or agency if they wish to change utility companies or regarding any irregularities during payments. Attention-if the renter changes companies, once they leave the landlord can demand a direct payment of the readings to the previous suppliers. All costs they assume are the responsibility of the renter.

Common disputes:

  • Apartment maintenance

The renter does not have the right to paint the walls without notifying the landlord or agency beforehand, and

they cannot use too personalized of a color (dark, a tone other than beige or white, wall prints).

After a certain period of the contract, (+5 years), if the apartment needs renovation, it is up to the landlord to cover the costs. However, if the problem results from poor care on behalf of the renter, they will pay the costs of painting (for example, if there are bike marks on the entrance wall, shoe marks in front of the island in the kitchen, or marks from the

edge of the chair against the wall….) In general, be careful with footprints or marks caused by objects or animals by fault of the renter.

On the other hand, white paint that becomes a darker color or starts to chip off in certain places is considered normal wear (unless it´s caused by a lack of ventilation on behalf of the renter).

Holes in the wall are not permitted, and any made by the renter must be covered and painted again when they complete their stay.

  • Maintenance of home electronics

The renter is responsible for the repair and maintenance of the heater (or water heater), at least once a year; the air conditioning, at least once a year; and cleaning out the filters of the washer and the dishwasher, at least once a year. In case of malfunction, if the maintenance cannot be justified, then the cost of repair or replacement is charged to the renter.

  • Changing of small utensils

The renter should change out all nonfunctioning lightbulbs at the end of their stay. They should leave the apartment clean and restored (for example: without stains on the couch).

  • In case of humidity

If dampness appears due to bad ventilation, the cost of cleaning is charged to the renter. If it appears due to a defect in the apartment or another problem not resulting from the renter, costs will be the responsibility of the landlord.

In case of dampness, it is easy to detect the cause. If there is dampness on the roof or in the upper part of the walls, it´s a problem of bad ventilation. When there are damp stains not in humid rooms or that appear in the middle of the walls or around windows, they should be studied by a professional to discern their origin and supply a solution.

  • Decorations/furniture of the landlord

As a renter, it´s possible that you will not like the decorations or furniture when you visit the apartment, but if you do not negotiate a changing of decor (or have it in writing in the contract) and decide to do it yourself, you will have to replace the decorations and furniture, in a best case scenario. Worst case scenario, you must trust the price that the landlord tells you if there weren´t receipts and pay this quantity.

  • Insurance

The landlord is responsible for insuring the apartment by its continent and not its content, meaning the apartment is covered in case of fire, water leakage, etc. However, they do not insure against robbery and or against the theft of personal items. In these cases, they need to sign up for personal insurance. It´s their responsibility to sign up for insurance for which they are the holder (for example: in a fire, the landlord has to contact their insurance company). On the other hand, they have to be at the disposition of insurance experts to confirm cause of harm, and at the disposition of workers who make reparations. Ask the landlord exactly what insurance they have for the apartment. Not having the apartment or belongings insured in counterproductive and absurd.

  • Sharing the apartment and subleasing

This it strictly prohibited, unless it has been stipulated clearly in the clauses with the landlord and is stated in the contract.

  • Rent raise

The price of rent cannot be raised during the duration of the contract (only reviewed according to the annual consumption index). When the contract is finalized, on the other hand, the landlord has the right to alter and raise the price of rent, according to what is convenient. The renter in this case has no right or resource unless, of course, they have the opportunity to accept or reject the new contract offered by the landlord when deciding whether or not to continue with their old rental.

Our advice:

We recommend that you are always on your best behavior. If you cannot come to an agreement with your landlord and you believe you are in the right, refer to legal entities to learn about resources. The renter should always advise the landlord as early as possible regarding any irregularity in the maintenance or payment delegated to them. We also recommend that landlord keeps the renter informed regularly in case of plans not to extend the contract or to sell the property, or anything else having to do with the co-property (construction notices, change of security, etc.) as early as possible.

What are the requirements of landlords and renters in a rental contract?
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Delphine Denys

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