Renting property is, for many Malaysians, an accepted way of life. It affords them mobility (the ability to up and leave at a month's notice), less responsibility for maintenance and a ready-to-live-in residence minus the hassle of renovation and touch-ups.
Tenants from hell are the staple stories of every landlord coffee shop gathering but can the situation be reversed? You could very realistically find yourself dealing with a pretty crummy landlord.
Here are some of the common quirks of a bad landlord that you shouldn't have to put up with!
1. Refusal to Repair Structural Damage
Has the pipes started leaking, the roof damaged or the wall cracking? These are all problems the landlord is required to fix for you and if it is not done in a timely manner (or at all) - you have a right to demand it be done.
Many busy landlords own more than one property and this often makes them negligent in their responsibility to keep the house in good repair. If you are forced to fix any damage out of your own pocket - inform your landlord that you will be deducting the cost from the rental owed to him!
2. Showing Up for Inspection Without Notice
Granted that it is within a landlord's right to visit the property to make sure you aren't misusing it in any way, but he/she needs to give you notice before the fact. Usually, tenancy agreements state that three days notice must be given but you will have to check yours for the exact number.
Landlords are not allowed to interfere with your enjoyment of your home and if they do show up unannounced, you are at liberty to not let them in!
3. Willy-Nilly Increasing Rent
The point of a tenancy agreement isn't just to make sure that you pay the rent you agree to but also to safeguard your interests in the matter. For the time stipulated in the agreement, you should not be asked to pay more rent as and when the landlord so chooses.
However, at the end of the period stated in the agreement, the landlord is well within his right to increase rent - you can always decide if you want to continue with the rental in such a case!
4. Foregoing Fire Insurance
Depending on the terms of your tenancy agreement, your landlord is tasked with taking out and paying for fire insurance for the house. The details of this may differ and usually will not cover your furniture (you can purchase your own home contents insurance if you like).
This may not seem like a big deal to you now but if your neighbour's house unwittingly catches fire and your home is caught as well, you'll be happy to know your landlord did his duty and paid his fire insurance premiums!
Bad landlords can certainly put a damper on your home life happiness. The best way to safeguard yourself is to read the terms of your tenancy agreement carefully before signing. Ask your agent all the necessary questions and keep it handy for reference in the future.
Of course, as with anything in life - renting is a two-way street. If you hope for good treatment from your landlord; do return the favour by taking care of his property and paying rent on time!
If however, you're tired of being a pawn in someone's rental investment game - why not consider buying your own place? Plenty of schemes exist and more are in the works to help Malaysians own homes. Mortgages don't have to be a bother either if you take a look at our home loan calculator for your house buying needs.
Whatever you choose, good luck!
*Disclaimer: The above points were taken from generic landlord covenants in a Malaysian tenancy agreement. To be sure if they apply to you; do refer to your own agreement. This article is not meant to constitute legal advice.