Mistakes first-time tenants should avoid

In Summary

Some first-time tenants are not sure what is expected of them or even their rights. Here are a few tips if you are a first-time tenant.

By SHABIBAH NAKIRIGYA

Every step we take in our lives we always have that first time moment, which means a lot in our journey to success. If you are a first-time tenant, here are a few legal tips that will save you.
Jonathan Kaweesa, a legal officer, says apart from the information landlords normally issue in the tenant’s agreement, you must be aware of the legal side regarding your rights as a tenant.

Avoid oral agreement 
Kaweess says normally people get property agents through their close friends thinking they have got genuine managers who will provide according to the demand but they end up getting disappointed.
“Once you agree to have a deal with someone, you have to make sure everything is written. These documents will act as back up if something happens at any time, the document will consist of date, signature of both parties and witness,” he says.
Kaweesa adds that it will be very hard for anyone to change the written agreement because the document will indicate what you agreed on from the beginning.
With oral agreement, it is very easy for anyone to change their word.
Being indecisive
Kaweesa says if you get a good house, move in fast or you will miss out.
“After making the final decision, do not hesitate to move in as a new tenant, delay to move in, you may end up occupying a house which was already given out to another tenant because property agents depend on commission they get from each client,” he says.
He adds that if you do not occupy the house in time, the landlord may think that you have changed your mind and start looking for another occupant who can even pay more than what you paid and they refund your money of which the refunded money may not be enough to get another house.

Agree on allowances
Muhammed Kizito, a property manager, says if you are a first time tenant, you have to agree on the commission you are supposed to give the property agent when the work is done to avoid double payments.
“Normally property agents tends to get double commission from both the landlord and tenant and sometimes this money is paid by the tenant alone, which is not fair. That’s why you have to agree on the right person who is supposed to pay commission,” he says.

Who makes the agreement? 
Kizito says you have to know whether you are dealing with the rightful owner of the property.
When you are signing the contract, make sure you get firsthand information from the landlord because you may find that you are stuck somewhere and you do not have someone to talk to about the matter.
Kizito adds that the landlord can even give you an alternative to occupy the house and pay later or give you some time.

Paying bills and utilities
Kizito says If you are a first time tenant, you have to ask the property agent about the bills and utilities, and who will be responsible for paying them.
You may find that without proper regulations, some tenant pay for more than what they consume, that is why independent accounts and metres are preferred.
“Unless the agreement states how you’re supposed to pay these utilities, the landlord will not mind about the utilities instead they will care about rent being paid on time,” he says.
He adds that you can agree to share utility bills with fellow tenants. If the agreement says the bills are included on your rent, you have to make sure all the accounts are at zero balance to avoid paying someelse’s bills.
“If you’re ready to move in make sure you make an appointment with a utility to shut off the pending bill so that the metre can start afresh to start afresh,” he says.

Occupying a house with unresolved issues
Hajarah Namuli says when she started renting, she wanted to get a newly constructed house and the one she got was not fully furnished. The landlord promised to have evrything in place withinn a week but it did not happen.
“I spent two weeks without occupying my house thinking that the landlord had already done everything. When I reached the house, I was surprised to see that nothing was worked on,” she shares.
She adds that this happens when a landlord wants to rent his or her house and starts convincing the tenant that everything will be fixed shortly.
“You should not sign any contract when the landlord has not completed repairs or put in place anything they promised to avoid inconveniences because you may end up paying more money than what you budgeted for,” she advises.

Other key issues

Security: If you are a first-time tenant, you have to make sure security is good in the new place. For your safety and that of your property, make sure you have your own door locks to avoid intruders.
Know your Neighborhood:
Get time and do research about the neighborhood at-least to have an idea of what the security is like some areas have dangerous natural hazards and others are insecure.

All Rights Reserved by; SHABIBAH NAKIRIGYA & DAILY MONITOR UGANDA.

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