Real Estate

Renter Alert: 5 Things You Need To Know About Tenant Rights

If you’re renting your home, Atty. Tricia Villar answers questions you might have in mind


Renting a place entails a lot of responsibilities and important things to take note of. Whether you've just moved into an apartment or planning to rent a unit, it's vital that you know your rights. Keep these in mind:

1. Is the deposit the same as the advance?

“The deposit is the landlord’s form of security. It’s meant to answer for unpaid rent and damages you as tenant may cause on the leased premises. It will be returned to you at the end of the lease contract after any charges have been deducted. The advance is just rent paid early.” 

2. What if I can’t make payments?

“The landlord can have you ejected by filing a court case. As a general rule, the landlord may file the case only after demanding that you pay, vacate his property, and if you fail to comply within five days or the period stated in your contract.” 

3. Who repairs broken pipes?

“The landlord. This falls under wear and tear that he must answer for. It’s his job to keep the property safe and fit to live in. This includes pest control. If the landlord refuses to make repairs, you may suspend paying rent until repairs are made. Or make immediate repairs charged to the landlord.”

4. I want to install a heater in the bathroom. Is it okay to do this and can the landlord pay for it?

“Check if the contract allows you to make leasehold or practical home improvements (pipes, exhaust fans, doorbells, laundry area, etc.). Your landlord may pay you half the cost of the improvement. Otherwise, remove it when the lease expires.”

5. What about a new glass door? Should the landlord shoulder it?

“This is an ornamental upgrade, which the landlord isn’t obliged to reimburse. A new pocket garden, blinds, rug or mirror would fall under beautification. When your lease expires, such enhancements may be removed only if doing so wouldn’t damage the property. The landlord may also keep these enhancements by paying you what you’re worth at the end of the lease. If your contract doesn’t mention improvements, ask permission from your landlord first.” 

Read the original article (“Your Tenant Rights”) in the July 2004 issue of Real Living magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.

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