Renting a room that is easy on your pocket has become super important for the working class, especially people who are living in different cities for work or for higher education. There are so many rental options for people according to their need and budget, and often people find very good rental deals too.
As a tenant when you’re renting a room in someone’s house, or a studio apartment, you make sure that the landlord is cooperative and that he will hold up his end of the deal. For this, a written lease agreement is the best option: the landlord writes the terms and conditions of renting the place and both parties have to sign it in agreement.
But sometimes, there is no written lease. And for contracts that are less than 6 months, there is none anyway. However, there is ALWAYS mutual consent and a verbal agreement.
There are certain rules and regulations that are outlined in the written contract, however, these are also mentioned verbally and the tenant agrees to them too before moving in. As a landlord, there are some rules and regulations that you can verbally point out, such as:
- If the tenant has a boyfriend/girlfriend and whether they are allowed in the house. And if so, what would be a reasonable time for them to leave. Normally, agreements don’t allow significant others or guests to stay over with the tenant.
- Whether large gatherings like noisy parties or game nights are allowed or not. If you’re renting out a house, you need quiet space and privacy that the other person should not invade. So you could explicitly mention loud gatherings in the agreement.
- An agreement can also mention if smoking and drinking is allowed, and whether the tenant is allowed to keep pets.
- When you’re quoting the rent, you need to mention if extra services charge more, and what is not covered in the rent. What expenses are to be paid by the tenant other than rent like maintenance charges, and what is typically included in that too.
- You could also mention some privacy boundaries too, like the tenant shouldn’t be having guests over at odd hours and that your sleep, privacy and routine should not be disturbed.
What are my Rights as a Tenant without a Lease?
Even if you don’t have a written lease, the condition is always implied: there is still a verbal lease in place and as a tenant there are certain rights that protect you from unfair treatment.
Lease termination: You can terminate your lease and move out by giving your landlord a notice, even before the contract. And you won’t have to pay any penalty because technically there is no written lease in place.
Security deposit: When you move in the property you will have to give a one-time fixed security deposit to the landlord in case you cause damage to the property. When you move out, the landlord has to return the whole security deposit to you.
Eviction notice: Your landlord cannot randomly decide to evict you without giving you at least a notice period of 30 days.
Can a Landlord evict you if there is no Lease?
Assuming you’re on a month-to-month contract basis with your landlord, they can evict you at any time, however, they are still required to give you a notice period. Your landlord can also not evict you without a court order, and the process of eviction begins when the person doesn’t comply with the terms like doesn’t pay rent on time etc.
The landlord can only evict you through a proper structured procedure, and cannot throw out your belongings or change the locks. If that happens, whether you have a written lease or not, you can take this up with the small claims court.
There is always a verbal lease in play through the offer given to you of moving in and the fact that you, as the tenant, have paid the rent or security.
How to fight an Eviction?
The only legal way to fight an eviction is taking up the case with the court and getting legal help to set up your own case. You can hire an attorney who may help you fight the eviction by making sure all government documents are in place and you have all you need to strengthen your case.
If your landlord tried to evict you without court order by taking your belongings or shutting off utilities or by deliberately keeping you off the property, you could prove that. It would really swing the case in your favour if you prove that your landlord tried to evict you illegally.
Renting a Room Laws
As a landlord, there are some legal obligations that you must know before you rent out a room in your house. One such example is your income is taxable, meaning whatever income you’re getting from the rented room must be reported to the IRS.
The good news is that as a landlord you qualify for particular tax benefits that allow you to offset partially or even completely your taxable income against expenses.
Items you can deduct that will reduce your tax liability include:
- Cleaning and maintenance fees, This includes any laundry or cleaning materials that you supply
- Property insurance. You may need to get a different insurance policy than a homeowners policy. Speak with your insurance provider
- Service fees charged by sites like Airbnb
- Utilities (water, gas, electricity, TV, internet, etc.)
- Repairs and maintenance costs. this includes repairs that might need to be made to furniture and appliances
- Mortgage loan interest
- Advertising and listing fees for finding tenants
Other than this, you must also set a reasonable price as rent for the room, making sure that it is not too expensive. Of course, each room’s rent differs according to their size, utilities present, how well the room is furnished and whether the rental contract is short-term or long-term.
As a landlord you must outline all this information while dealing with a potential candidate and make sure both of you are aware of the laws.
There are certain legal rights that a landlord has and some rights that a tenant has. Even if a written contract doesn’t mention these rights, it is better to do a little research and know exactly where the two parties stand. It is always better to have a written agreement signed by both parties that outlines rules and regulations, pricing and the facilities that will be given to the tenant in the price quoted, but the same apply to the situation even if there isn’t a lease in place.
The tenant also likewise has certain responsibilities in the place they’re living on rent, like taking care of the property, paying the rent and dues on time and respecting the landlord’s privacy. Having good communication is key to maintaining a healthy tenant-landlord relationship so make sure you’re responsible, organized and not fussy.