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10 Things You Should Not Do in a Rented House

Although most lease agreements set out precisely what a tenant can and cannot do, some tenants fail to read the fine print. Do not do these 10 things in a rented house to avoid expensive penalties and time-consuming legal issues—unless you have the landlord's specific permission, of course.

1. Change Locks

You may want to alter the locks on your rental home for security reasons, but never mess with the latches before speaking with the landlord. Changing the locks may jeopardize the owner's rights (for example, if you're on holiday and a neighbor observes water seeping from the house, the owner is legally permitted to enter). Getting approval for a lock replacement and then giving the landlord a duplicate of the spare key is your safest choice.

2. Trees and Plantings should be removed.

There's nothing wrong with adding your own personal touch to a rental property. However, landscape items such as trees and shrubs are considered to be part of the property and cannot be removed without the permission of the landlord. If you destroy plantings, the owner may accuse you of defacing the property and chatge you for damages!

3. Painting a rental property

When it comes to painting, each landlord has their own set of restrictions. While some tenants are forbidden from ever picking up a paintbrush, others would be encouraged to repaint the walls. Always acquire authorization before starting an interior or outdoor painting project, and getting color selections approved doesn't hurt either.

4. Sublet the Property 

Are you planning to vacate the property before the lease expires? If that's the case, you might want to consider subletting the house to someone else. Unfortunately, the landlord is likely to have stringent tenant vetting policies and will most likely refuse to consent to this arrangement. Subletting without authorization usually constitutes a breach of the lease agreement, making you liable for any damages to the property.

5. Sneak In Animals

Attention, animal lovers: Dogs, cats, and other furry pets are prohibited in many lease agreements. Attempting to sneak Fluffy or Fido into a rented property is a lease violation that could result in eviction. If you're moving with a pet, look into just renting apartments that allow pets.

6. Allow others to reside in the home.

Property owners are not allowed to set a limit on the number of individuals who can live in a rental unit based on discriminatory considerations like race or family status. They can, however, impose restrictions on inhabitants in accordance with local legislation. For example, if the law finds that a rental's maximum safe capacity is six people, the landlord has the authority to enforce this rule. Visiting guests are an exception, but the homeowner should always be informed about visitors and their expected duration of stay.

7. Property Detriment

Your security deposit should not be affected by normal wear and tear, such as loose cabinet knobs, soiled grout, or tarnished fixtures. Landlords, on the other hand, can keep the deposit to repair serious damage, such as a broken window or cracks in the wall. Please remember that if the cost of maintenance exceeds your investment, the landlord may sue you for consequential damages.

8. Get Out Before Your Lease Ends

Is it necessary for you to quit the property before the lease expires? You must still pay rent on the dates mentioned in the lease agreement, or the landlord may sue you for the remaining money. If unanticipated circumstances develop, always contact the property owner. The homeowner may be willing to rent the property to another party, or she may allow you to leave but insist that you pay the rent.

9. Make Repairs That Aren't Authorized

You must acquire the landlord's permission before doing repairs, with the exception of emergency situations. State laws differ, but tenants are generally required to adhere to the conditions of the lease unless a situation emerges that jeopardizes the property's or inhabitants' safety (in which case, tenants can organize for repairs if they are unable to reach the landlord).

10. Become a nuisance in your neighborhood

It's basic courtesy to respect your neighbors, so don't throw late-night parties, leave stinky trash in the driveway, or let your dog bark nonstop all night. Angry neighbors may file a lawsuit against your landlord, who will most likely evict you.

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