28 Jul 2022


Tenancy Agreement: The Landlord-Tenant Law

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The landlord-tenant law clearly stipulates the rights and responsibilities of both parties in the tenancy agreement. The constitution in the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015 lays out the legal rights of tenants and obligations of the tenants and the landlords. It serves as a guideline for trying cases presented to law courts as a result of disputes and complaints from either party. Larry is the landlord who neglects his property maintenance obligation and Roger is the exemplary tenant who suffers damages from the negligence of the landlord. An examination of the Larry Landlord and Roger Renter case with the tenancy laws as the basis will inform the mediation recommendations on the case. 

The tenant is entitled to a serene and an exclusively enjoyable abode. He is protected from domestic noise pollution, and it is within his or her legal rights to ask neighbors to stop the noise failure to which they should report to the landlord, and if the landlord doesn’t act, they can file a formal complaint to the district court (Adams & Lother, 2015). The tenant is entitled to minimum standards of accommodation which entail the good condition of the property, proper artificial and natural lighting and well-ventilated housing structures (Faizi, Iyer & Kaur, 2015). The amendment of Article 8 of the 2008 regulations stipulates that the landlord should provide laundering machines and cooking and food storage machines to their tenants. They are also legally required to provide sinks with hot and cold water, adjoining room with sanitary facilities like the toilet and a bathroom (Adams & Lother, 2015). The recently amended act will take effect on July 2017 and provides for the fitting of windows built beyond a certain height with safety restrictors and also requires landlords to provide permanent heating systems in bathrooms and to provide carbon monoxide detectors and alarms. 

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However, any damage caused by the facilities in the house to the tenant’s property is not covered by these laws. Therefore, the landlord is not liable for any damages (Faizi et.al., 2015). The tenants are advised to take personal belongings insurance cover since the owner's insurance cover is unlikely to insure all tenants' properties. Additionally, the tenant is entitled to a rent book which is a documentation of all rent payments (Adams & Lother, 2015). The book should contain the address, the landlord or agent’s details, the start and duration of the tenancy, deposits, the due rent plus any other additional charges and their modes of payment (Stewart, Warner & Portman, 2016). It also states the rights and duties of both parties and lists the various appliances the landlord provides for the tenant (Faizi et.al. 2015). Failure to the provision of a rent book by the landlord can attract a legal action if the landlord fails to honor a notice given by the local authorities to provide the same. The tenant is entitled to up to date contact information for the landlord or agent and can contact them at any reasonable time (Adams & Lother, 2015). Privacy is provided for in the constitution, and the landlord should only enter the tenant’s house under admission by the tenant except during emergencies. In the event of repairs, a prior notice should be given, and the tenant should be refunded for any repairs made on behalf of the landlord (Stewart et.al, 2016). The tenant is entitled to host visitors for a short duration unless contrary stated in the tenancy agreement but should inform the landlord in case an additional person is moving in. 

The tenant is also entitled to a certain amount of notice determined by the length of their tenancy before the landlord terminates their tenancy (Adams & Lother, 2015). The amended Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 stipulates that a tenant can appeal a lease termination in ten days with the tenancy cycle being extended from four to six years (Faizi et.al., 2015). The landlord can, however, terminate a lease within the first six months without reason beyond which he can only terminate the tenancy on the 34 grounds provided for in the 2004 Act. The tenant is also entitled to take up any disputes with the landlord with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) without attracting penalties in presenting their case (Adams & Lother, 2015). The tenant is also entitled to a copy of the Building Energy Rating (BER) document which shows the energy efficiency of the house for informed consent when signing the tenancy agreement. 

The legal rights come with obligations that the tenant should adhere to regarding their tenancy agreement (Stewart et.al, 2016). They should honor their rent deadlines and any additional charges stipulated in the lease agreement like garbage collection charges and the utility bills. They are legally expected to maintain the proper condition of the property they found when moving in (Faizi et.al, 2015) . They should inform the landlord or agent whenever there is a need for servicing and provide access for the repair and maintenance of the property (Adams & Lother, 2015) . They should also make their houses accessible for routine inspections as per the tenancy agreement, and they should disclose any stranger living in the premises to the landlord. They should also observe order and desist from involving themselves in activities that could disturb their neighbors' peace or cause damage to the property (Adams & Lother, 2015) . They should also not compel the landlord to break the law and observe compliance to all the provisions of the tenancy agreement (Stewart et.al, 2016) . They should issue correct details to the landlord to register with the RTB and sign the necessary documents when called upon to do so. They are also obligated to issue a proper notice when vacating the landlord’s house. 

The landlord’s rights are also provided for under the law. The landlord is entitled to decide who rents his house (Faizi et.al, 2015). The landlord is however legally obligated not to discriminate unlawfully by race, creed, nationality, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, and age, marital, recipients of public goodwill or housing subsidy (Adams & Lother, 2015). The landlord has the right to do background checks on prospective tenants for security and financial purposes (Faizi et.al, 2015). The landlord can ask for employment details, salary level, chances of remaining employed as well as references from the immediate landlord and the one before that. The landlord has the right to generate leasing terms like the payable rent, pet policy and the maximum number of tenants who can occupy one house at once and receive the right amount (Stewart et.al, 2016). The landlord also has the right to furnish the house in whichever way he pleases without consulting the tenants and has a right to evict trouble-making tenants (Adams & Lother, 2015). The landlord also has the right to terminate a tenancy below 6 months or at a later stage if the tenant fails to comply with the tenancy agreement or any other reason as stipulated in part 4 of the 2004 Act (Faizi et.al., 2015). The landlord also has a right to be informed about visitors staying over for long periods of time and be informed in case there are repairs needed. He also has a right to access the property for routine checkups or during repair and maintenance (Adams & Lother, 2015). He has the right to refer disputes regarding tenancy to the RTB and the right to review the rent every two years. 

Like the tenant, the landlord also has legal responsibilities. He is obligated to register the tenancy with the Residential Tenancy Board and provide the tenant with the rent book when renting the property to them (Faizi et.al, 2015). The landlord is obligated to ensure that the property meets the minimum standards by making pre-rental preparations before the tenant moves in. The property should meet the sanitary and safety requirements provided for in the constitution. He should de-lead the apartment in case the tenant moving in has a child less than six years of age and the apartment has an unlawful amount of lead (Adams & Lother, 2015). The landlord is also obligated to repair and maintain the interior property to the condition it was in when the tenant moved in as well as the exterior of the building. He is also obligated to provide the Building Energy rating to the tenant and provide refunds to tenants who carry out repairs which are the landlord’s responsibility (Faizi et.al, 2015). He should pay for property insurance, provide up to date contact information to the tenants and provide a 90 days’ notice for rent review or written notices for rental termination cases. 

Roger Renter had the legal right to seek for mitigation of damages since the law clearly stipulates that it is the landlord’s duty to maintain a property to the condition the tenant got it in (Adams & Lother, 2015). When Larry Landlord condescendingly dismissed the pleas of his tenant to repair the leaking roof, he breached this contractual obligation, therefore, making him liable for the damages. The law stipulates that the landlord should not pay for damages to personal property during the tenancy and encourages the tenants to take up insurance covers (Adams & Lother, 2015).However, the damage to Roger Renter’s property was as a result of negligence on the landlords side. Legally, it is within the tenant’s right to take legal action against a landlord who breaches the rental agreement, and Roger therefore has a case to present to the RTB (Faizi et.al, 2015). As a mediator, I would rule that the landlord also has cause for mitigation of damages for the damage caused by the baseball bat since Roger should have exercised self-control. They should therefore both mitigate for damages. 

Larry Landlord has no legal rights to evict Roger Renter on any grounds since the property damage caused by the baseball bat was minimal (Faizi et.al, 2015). The damage was also not intentional but was a result of a reaction to the landlord's negligence, and although it could have been controlled, it would not have occurred in the first place had the landlord met his legal obligations (Stewart et.al, 2016). Roger has a legal obligation to pay for the damage he caused because it is within his legal responsibility to foot any damages that occur to the property during his tenancy (Faizi et.al, 2015). However, if he can prove beyond reasonable doubt that the damage was inadvertent, he will not be held legally liable for the accidental damage. Larry is responsible for the direct damages because they occurred as a result of the breach of his contractual responsibilities (Stewart et.al, 2016). He was not liable for the damages the first time the roof leaked, but the subsequent damages were caused by his negligence. 

Therefore, Larry Landlord violated his legal obligations and violated Roger Renter's constitutional rights by ignoring his request for the repair of the leaks. The exploration of tenant/landlord rights and responsibilities clearly shows that Larry is liable for the damages and as a mediator I would recommend that he pays for the loss of property from the second incident. 


Adams, R. S., & Lother, C. (2015). Revised Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (2015) of the Uniform Law Commission . Willard, MO: Adams Convention Reporting. 

Faizi, A. A., Iyer, K. G., & Kaur, A. (2015). Tenancy laws and practices: emerging issues . Mussoorie, Uttarakhand: Centre for Rural Studies, Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in association with Manak Publications Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi. 

Stewart, M., Warner, R., & Portman, J. (2016). Every landlord's legal guide . Berkeley, CA: Nolo. 

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