Tips for new head tenants

RENTING

By Jeannine Welch

30-05-2018
Finding your first apartment is exciting, but it doesn't come without it's fair share of responsibilities, especially if you've decided to go on the tenancy agreement as the head tenant.

The head tenant gives you control of the apartment, at least, more so than the other tenants that is. You're responsible for ensuring things like rent and bills are paid on time, and as such, the role also involves having tough conversations with tenants who might be late with their payments. However, this situation can be avoided as long as you understand what the position entails and how to properly set expectations for your housemates, whether they be friends or strangers.

Duties of the head tenant
First thing's first, you need to understand what the head tenant is responsible for as you will be the one in charge of liaising with the landlord or property management company. If something on the property breaks, for example - like the hinge on the gate - it's typically the head tenants' duty to contact the property manager to have things sorted. Most importantly, you are in charge of ensuring rent is paid on time.

Putting together your occupancy agreement
When renting, fights in an apartment are not unheard of. To avoid unnecessary disputes, you'll need to make a plan that sets clear expectations regarding bond, rent payments and additional fees.

A complete occupancy agreement should include the following:

How much rent costs - are the rooms tiered based on size?
Rental rate - are tenants to pay weekly, bi-monthly or monthly?
How rent is paid - will you be requesting bank transfers, cheques or cash?
Leave notice - how much notice will you need should a tenant decide to move out?
Utilities - are utilities included in the rent cost or paid separately?
Eviction - what will it take to get evicted from the apartment?
A document that sets clear expectations for these areas can help avoid problems down the line.

Making the flat a nice place to live
It's worth having a quick sit down with all the house mates to discuss pet peeves.

Finally, you want to ensure the place is a nice environment that everyone feels comfortable calling home. It's worth having a quick sit down with all the house mates to discuss pet peeves and set some general rules. This can regard creating a cleaning schedule so not one person is stuck taking out the trash every week, or making sure everyone takes the shoes off at the door.

Be honest with yourself, if you hate it when people put the milk back in the fridge when there's hardly a sip left, tell your flatmates up front so you don't have to bottle it all up.

For more information on how you can make your rental situation go as smooth as possible, contact the team here at First National today.