The Rights and Responsibilities of the Tenant

Here’s a guest post written by one of my colleagues who has been living in Malaysia since God knows when. His name is Jake Carruthers, a brilliant web developer who is also keen on investing on several Malaysian properties or two. He currently resides at a posh KLCC 6-star apartment. Here are his tips on how to be a great tenant.

I’ve been a tenant for the last I-don’t-know-how-long. As I am not quite ready to have my own house, tenancy is the best way to (1) be independent, (2) be free to do as I please and (3) not be a burden in my own family’s house. Over the years of investing on property and meeting different landlords, (I move places every time I change jobs), I have memorized by heart what every landlord should and should do. I could easily represent a rights group for apartment tenants around the world!

But then again, I realized, just as much rights as I have as a tenant, I have responsibilities. I have every right to demand of my landlord just as he – after all, this is a mutual relationship. I have had tons of landlords ever since I got here in Malaysia, but my relationship with my current one has been the most fruitful. I stay at a serviced apartment in KLCC after I found about it online at, and I’m pretty thankful that I did.

So in the name of fairness, and a wake-up call to all tenants around the world, here are my lists of Tenant Rights and Responsibilities:


  • A tenant has the right to have a livable room or apartment unit that is fairly priced for its size
  • A tenant has the right to demand security for his/her unit and property and the whole unit; the landlord must provide for this
  • A tenant has the right to demand the landlord for the maintenance and/or repair of the utilities, furnishings that come with the room (i.e. lights, water pipes, bathroom furnishings, etc)
  • The tenant has the  right to demand from the landlord for damages not incurred by the tenant (i.e. flood, fire, storm, robbery)
  • The tenant has the right to a legal contract that states the duration of her stay in the apartment unit or room, the monthly rental, any down payments and other fees that the rental comes with, as well as the binding rules and regulations on rent
  • The tenant has the right to end contract with possibility of refund if the landlord violates any of the stipulations on the contract


  • It is a tenant’s responsibility, foremost of all, to pay his or her monthly rents on time and in the exact amount. It is also his/her obligation – both moral and legal – to inform the landlord if she or he cannot make the payment on time.
  • It is a tenant’s responsibility to take care of his/her rented unit. Keeping the premises clean and the furnishings in tiptop shape are part of these responsibilities.
  • A tenant is supposed to obey whatever the conditions on the rent contract say. The landlord has the right to kick a tenant out for violation of such contracts.
  • The tenant is also responsible for whatever or whoever lives with him/her in the unit, as well as for everything he decides to put in it. This includes keeping the pets off the common areas or where they cause disturbance as well as on people who live with the main occupant and the visitors we take in once in a while. Oh, and playing disturbing and extremely loud music is a violation of this.

Just because we pay rent does not mean we own the house or we have the right over our landlords. Remember, do your research online before doing property acquisition to make sure that you’re making the right choice. Again, mutual benefits should also mean mutual respect. Here’s from one tenant to another!

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