A tenancy transaction is an extended financial interaction between a landlord and tenant that may range from a few months to several years. In this transaction, the temporary possession and the proprietary rights that lie therein are transferred to the tenant by the landlord in exchange for monetary consideration in the form of rent to be paid on a monthly basis. Due to the possibility of the duration of the transaction being long, the parties need to ensure that their interests are safeguarded and the performance of the transaction is smooth.

The tenancy transaction is regulated by the terms and conditions contained in the rent agreement which governs the relationship between the landlord and the tenant. The rent agreement needs to be clearly worded with precise terms and conditions and unambiguous explanations. There is a certain degree of preparation required before entering into a tenancy transaction.

With the presence of a minimum lock-in period usually found in rent agreements where it may prove detrimental for a tenant or landlord to terminate the tenancy prematurely, it is best that the parties know what they are getting into. This article seeks to address the checking and preparation a tenant needs to undertake before renting a house.

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What should tenants check for before renting a house?

A tenancy may commence from a stipulated date stated in the rent agreement and may start with the landlord giving the keys to the tenant and the tenant moving into the rental property and premises with his or her possessions. However, when you walk into the house, you are in for a rude shock. The house does not satisfy any of your criteria or meet your preferences. You know you have walked into trouble because you did not conduct any preliminary checks or undertake any preparations before entering the tenancy and the rented house.

To steer away from the avoidable problems, the prospective tenant needs to take a few measures that could ensure the protection of his tenancy rights and interests during the performance of the rent agreement. The following are the things tenants should check before renting a house:

When a prospective tenant and prospective landlord interact to enter a potential agreement, they need some vital information before taking the plunge.

  • While a landlord will diligently conduct background checks into the tenant’s credentials and verify his or her claims of financial standing, the tenant often fails to conduct any background checks into the landlord’s previous tenancies.
  • This information is vital for if the landlord has a history of harassing his or her previous tenants or demanding excessive rental amongst or security deposits, such a landlord is definitely trouble.
  • Over and above that, for a landlord to transfer certain proprietary rights and interest in the rental property to the tenant, s/he needs to have the ownership rights to do so. It would be prudent for a tenant to verify the title of the landlord in the property to avoid regrets and disputes in the future.

Before contracting with a prospective landlord, the tenant needs to ensure that the rental property in which s/he is going to reside during the tenancy tenure is habitable.

  • The rental property of the landlord needs to be habitable with the basic facilities and amenities that are required for modern living.
  • Amenities like the unobstructed supply of electricity and water are of vital importance for residential purposes.
  • Access to adequate residential space and the right to easements like light, the right to way etc. are also required for healthy living.
  • The condition of the house needs to be examined. The structural integrity of the rental property is of paramount importance for the safety of the tenant. A life-threatening mishap is very much possible due to structural decay and failure of maintenance of the property.
  • Why would you pay a substantial sum in rent for a rental property which is in a bad condition and lacking in amenities?

The rent agreement is the document that serves as a legal record of the rights and obligations of the parties to a tenancy transaction.

  • The tenant needs to read and examine the terms and conditions of the rent agreement carefully.
  • This has to be specially done for ascertaining the obligations to which the tenant will be subject and the expenses s/he may have to bear during the tenure of the tenancy.
  • The intention of the parties to the tenancy needs to be expressed in the clear, precise and unambiguous language for the protection of the interests of the parties and the smooth performance of the agreement.
  • Often, tenants come across landlords who hold an advantage over the tenants in the interaction, due to the tenants’ desperate need for residences. This may result in the imposition of unfair terms and conditions on the tenants which they are compelled to accept to secure access to the residential property.
  • A tenant should interact with previous tenants of the landlord and ask the neighbours about the property and the landlord’s character for verification.
  • However, there are several legal provisions in the Rent Control Acts enacted by the states where the rental properties are located. These provisions are for the protection of the tenant’s interests and safeguarding their rights. In the case of violation of rights of the tenant or the breach of the landlord’s duties, the tenant can take recourse to the mechanisms provided by the State Rent Control Act to seek remedies.


The tenancy transaction has a landlord and a tenant who contract with each other for the transfer of certain rights in rental property in exchange for periodic rental payments during the tenant tenure. Their relationship is governed by the terms and conditions found in the rent agreement which was the result of the discussions and decisions taken by the landlord and tenant. This agreement is to be clearly written and expressed in unambiguous language.

However, before entering into a contract with the landlord, the tenant needs to conduct background checks into the landlord to gain information about his previous tenancies. The tenant needs to ensure to check the rental property for the uninterrupted supply of basic amenities and the structural condition of the dwelling. S/he also needs to examine the terms and conditions of the rent agreement to secure his or her interests and ensure s/he is not getting an unfair deal.