Housing is an essential need for humans, and renters need to know their legal rights. Usually, renters seek justice when landlords fail to fulfil their obligations in the lease contract. In Australia, the network of Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services (TAASs) helps to promote awareness amongst renters. Other free legal aids providers show support too. In this article, we shall see how renters can benefit from tenant advocacy works programs.
Common Causes of Disputes
For tenancy advocacy to work, tenants need to avoid loopholes that put them at fault. Some issues of oversight and ignorance can lead to weeks of resolving the case. Here are some things to avoid with your tenancy agreement.
Failure to Sign a Lease Document
Making payment for your room or apartment without signing a lease agreement doesn’t protect your rights. This mistake can be avoided by signing it on the day of payment. A cunning landlord might threaten to evict the tenant without a good cause if there’s no formal agreement. In some countries, failure to sign a written tenancy agreement both parties is a crime.
In the commercial and private rental business, disputes arise when people are ignorant of tenancies law. Ignorance is not an excuse in law, and silly mistakes can put the renter at a disadvantage. Join a tenancy advocacy group and become aware of your legal rights. Normally, advocates clamour for good practice of commercial property rental business. They also ask for a change in unfavourable rental law.
Non-Refund of Damage Deposits
Before you move into a new apartment, the landlord might need a deposit to cover unforeseen damages. While this damage deposit is refundable, tenants don’t get it when they violate the terms and conditions in their lease. When there’s damage on any part of the property, the landlord can use this deposit for repairs.
It’s important to record the property’s condition with a digital camera before you move in. Also, make written reports if there are damages before you take possession. If you don’t, the property owner could blame you for the poor condition of the property in the future.
When renters terminate their tenancy agreement without advance notice, they could forfeit the deposit. To avoid losing your damage deposit fee, notify the landlord at least 30 days before quitting the property.
Increasing rent and failure to pay your rent duly time could cause issues. If you live with housemates, ensure that bills are paid promptly. Landlords are not happy when service providers disconnect utility services to their property. Also, late and non-payment of rent can lead to an eviction notice from agents and landlords. It’s unacceptable for homeowners to increase rent outside the allowable limit.
Conventionally, tenancy laws require at least a 90-day notice before effecting the rent increase. To avoid disputes, speak with your landlord or real estate agent when you disagree with an increase. For utility bills, beg your housemates to cover your share and make a refund later.
Failure to Maintain the Property
While tenants have obligations to keep the property in good condition, landlords must make timely repairs. A leaky roof could damage the tenants’ belongings, and cause disputes. Real estate agents and landlords must effect repairs to a reasonable standard.
How Tenancy Advocacy Works
Most advocacy organizations work with lawyers to ensure speedy resolution of disputes. You can find these advocacy groups in many communities, and they offer the following assistance.
- Provide legal aid to lodgers, social, commercial and residential tenants
- The use of smart negotiation skills during dispute resolutions
- Advocacy groups protect and the rights of tenants and promote community education
- Research housing laws and provide legal resources for tenants
- Educate tenants that have questions about their rights