Tenant Duties

Tenants likewise have several general duties to landlords:

Pay rent

Tenants have a duty to pay rent. The amount to be paid and the date rent is due may be determined in the lease agreement. Typical arrangements are for the rent to be due on the first of the month, to be considered late after a specified number of days, after which reasonable penalties (e.g., $100) may apply.

Make repairs and avoid "waste"

Unlike a landord's duties to repair major issues, a tenant's duties are typically limited to minor repairs caused by the tenant's negligence or intentional harm. The degree and scope of this duty can be determined in the lease agreement.

Likewise a tenant has a duty to leave no "waste," here defined not as garbage or toilet waste, but rather excess wear and tear. There are three kinds of waste to consider:

Affirmative waste involves intentional acts like nailing pictures to a wall and failing to patch the nail holes. Permissive waste involves tenant's failure to repair damages they caused. And somewhat counterintuitively, ameliorative waste are improvements to the home that the landlord for whatever reason did not want or otherwise approve.


Fixtures are any thing -- or "chattel" -- that are so physically affixed to the home that they become part of the land. Chattel that is incorproated into the physical structure of the buildling, for example bricks or roof elements, are like wise a fixture and become part of the actual real property.

Factors to consider include (a) the degree of attachment, i.e., how easy is it to remove; (b) whether removal will cause harm to the premises; (c) whether it was specifically made for the realty in which case it is likely a fixture; (d) the intent of the party who physically attached the chattel in question; and (e) the degree of ownership or length of lease of the property in question.

Some fixtures may be considered a part of the tenant's trade or profession. In this case, factors to consider include (a) the degree of attachment; (b) the harm to the property if removed; and (c) whether the fixture is custom. If the tenant can argue that the fixture in question is used in his or her trade, then it can probably be removed.

If a fixture is indeed removed, the tenant must furthermore ensure that any damage is repaired.