Renter's Rights - Memphis, TN

Know Your Role as a Tenant & When to Call the Landlord

As a tenant you know to pay your rent on time and abide by the lease but what happens when the tap in your bathroom starts to leak, or your sink becomes clogged? Do you try to fix the problem yourself or do you call your landlord? What if you repair something in your apartment and get penalized at the end of your lease? The question really is, how do you know what your role is as a renter and when it is necessary to speak to the property manager or the landlord about a concern or repair?

While your apartment lease serves as an important guideline for your responsibilities, what happens when you come across a problem that it doesn’t address?

The purpose of this guide is to explore the common rights and responsibilities of tenants but to also understand when it’s the right time to have your landlord or property manager step in to handle a rental issue.

Two "for lease" signs in front of an apartment building.
Before you move make sure you know your rights.

Why is it Important to Know Your Role as a Tenant?

When you sign your lease, you are committing to the terms and conditions that are presented in the contract. After all, it is a legal document, and every complex has its own set of rules and regulations. These terms also differ between cities and states but what it all comes down to is playing your part so you can maintain the lease, avoid eviction, and ultimately get your security deposit returned.

But your role as a tenant is much more than this! When you can resolve problems quickly and you are confident in your home, it makes for a happier and healthier tenancy. You deserve to enjoy your apartment and with our guide, you’re sure to become a confident renter!

Tenant Rights and Responsibilities: The Basics

Every city & state has its own lease with clauses and conditions, but we’ll cover the basics or the most common terms that tenants are expected to abide by.

What is Your Role as a Tenant?

Paying Your Rent

As a tenant, you are expected to pay your rent on time every month. If you cannot pay your rent by the due date, always notify your landlord well in advance. While this doesn’t give you a free pass, it may help you better plan your payments and prevent penalties or eviction warnings. Most landlords are more accommodating than you may think so if you ever have a problem, be open, honest, and communicate with them.

Stick to the Community Guidelines

Some apartments have “quiet hours” or general rules against noise disturbances, so being considerate of your neighbor can prevent unnecessary warnings or penalties issued by management.

Illegal or Business Activities are Not Allowed

Apartments can only be used for residential purposes. If you were considering running a business from your unit, it could end up in an eviction.

Illegal activities are not permitted in any complex and if you are found guilty, the landlord has the right to end the tenancy.

Stick to the Number of Occupants Allowed

If your lease agrees to tenants having 3 people living in the apartment, then a fourth individual is out of the question. Don’t risk the terms of the agreement especially with it being so hard to find apartments to rent and get approval.

Maintaining the Apartment

As a renter, you’ll find a breakdown of what you can and can’t do in your apartment, but it is your responsibility to keep the apartment in good condition. This means keeping it clean, eliminating clutter, and reporting any changes in condition such as wear and tear.

Renters cannot damage the property of course, but you also can’t make any alterations. So, adding fixtures such as floating shelves, changing the light fittings, or removing wall-to-wall carpets are considered a no-go! If you really need to change something to make the apartment more practical, you can approach the landlord with your idea. They can give the go-ahead or they may think it unnecessary. Either way, the apartment has to be restored to its original or “move-in” condition by the time your lease expires. Landlords will perform a “move-out” inspection so any damage or changes will be recorded.

What are Apartment Maintenance Services?