While most aspire to be a homeowner or investor with multiple properties, others just simply prefer to rent due to budget constraints or lifestyle preference. As a tenant renting other people’s property, we are renting from a landlord and the property does not belong to us. Therefore, not only do we have to abide by the rules set by the landlord, also need to be aware of our rights when being a tenant.

There are no hard and fast rules for a specific tenancy agreement, but a study is underway to introduce a much-anticipated Residential Tenancy Act by the government. The intention is to protect both the landlord and tenant should any dispute or disagreement take place.

Without a specific written law governing the acts of both the landlord and tenant, a tenancy agreement is often drafted out to ensure that both parties understand and abide by what has been agreed.

Both the landlord and tenant must go through the documents carefully and understand both parties’ responsibilities. When in doubt, always double check and confirm what the specific clauses mean, and make sure you check the property thoroughly before signing the agreement too. If the clauses need further details and breakdowns, do not hesitate to make sure they are recorded down.

If you are unclear of any of the clauses, seek a professional’s opinion as they would be able to guide you on what you need to do should you not be able to come to an agreement with your landlord. As a tenant, it is of vital importance (and also your responsibility) to ensure you maintain the property in good condition, and care for it during your tenancy.

Here are 5 basic tips to be a good tenant:

  • Read and understand your lease
  • Pay your rent on time
  • Treat the property like your own
  • Don’t break the lease, and get permission for any changes done to the property
  • Be nice to your neighbours and landlord

Do note that under current contract law in Malaysia, if you sign a two-year rental agreement, then choose to cancel after one year, you may be liable for the 12 months of outstanding rent. One must take note of this as this can be a huge financial implication.