What is a tenant?

We explain what a tenant is, what are the rights that it contemplates and the different obligations that it must fulfill.

  1. What is a tenant?

The tenant is called   the figure opposite to the lessor in a lease or rental agreement. That is, the natural person or  legal entity that acquires the rights of use (usufruct) of a particular asset (movable or immovable) is called, under contractual conditions by mutual agreement and for a certain time . In return, the lessee agrees to meet the regular payment, usually monthly, of a timely amount.

Put simply, a tenant  is the one who rents something: a building, an apartment, an office, a vehicle, etc. , and acquires by contract  the right to use it, without in any way considering its legitimate and definitive owner.

The specific terms of the legal contract between the lessor and the lessee will always be defined in writing, in a legal document protected by the judicial institutions and in accordance with the protocols  and considerations established by the legal framework of the country where the lease occurs. Under no circumstances what appears and is accepted in the contract may be illegal , as it will render the contract invalid.

Among the terms agreed by contract are usually: the time that the lease will last, the conditions in which it will be given, how the unforeseen or disagreements between the parties will be resolved and, in addition, the amount of the rental payment (together with its possible changes in time). If the terms of this agreement are violated or breached by any of the parties, the institutions and mechanisms that the law contemplates to do justice will take part .

  1. Rights of a tenant

The lessee has the right to use the rented property as he sees fit.

The rights of a lessee will always be contemplated in the respective code of the laws of the country where the lease takes place, regardless of the nationality of those involved. However, it is usually considered that:

  • The lessee has, first and foremost, the right to use the rented property as he sees fit, provided that it does not harm third parties, nor deteriorates or destroys the property in question, beyond what its correct use implies.
  • The lessee has the right to demand that the leased asset be in the conditions promised by contract, and that the duration of the usufruct be exactly as stipulated in the contract.
  • The lessee has the right to use the leased property as his own, and to share it with those who so wish, as long as he becomes responsible after the possible consequences that this may cause.
  • The lessee has the right to legal consultation, to review the contractual document to ensure that it does not breach the law or damage its interests, as well as to be protected by law in case of discrepancies not contemplated in the document.
  • The lessee has the right to be notified of the owner’s decisions regarding the property leased with time and consideration for their welfare (especially in real estate).
  • The lessee is entitled, in some jurisdictions, to the first purchase option in case the lessor puts the leased property for sale.
  1. Obligations of a tenant

In the same way it happens with the duties of the lessee, stipulated by law. However, roughly, he is forced to:

  • Preserve the state of the leased asset, causing only damage and deterioration that its proper use will cause.
  • Comply fully with the payment of the rental amount, respecting the provisions of the contract.
  • Respond to the owner and to the laws, if necessary, for activities that occur in or involve the leased asset, as well as for their loss, destruction or deterioration, except in cases of force majeure or catastrophe.
  • Do not sell, sublet or negotiate the leased property to third parties without at least notifying and consulting the owner first.
  • Do not impersonate the owner under any circumstances.
  • Consult with the owner the radical or structural changes that could be made on the leased asset, and respect their final decision in the matter.

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