Landlord and Tenant: A Self-Help Guide for Renting Your Home
Landlord and Tenant: A Self-Help Guide for Renting Your Home

Landlord and Tenant: A Self-Help Guide for Renting Your Home

With property prices still very much unaffordable in Malaysia, it is expected that renting will always be popular due to the flexibility it offers.

We hope this information will assist in keeping your costs of renting low, and allow you to have the option to do so until you have the budget to buy a property.

This guide is for Malaysians who are about to rent a house, apartment, or condominium for a term not exceeding 3 years.

1.Tenancy Term

In Malaysia, any tenancy or sub-tenancy for a term not exceeding 3 years shall be valid and enforceable via a contract or an agreement, whether by verbal terms or in writing.

2. Tenancy Agreement

An agreement in writing called ‘tenancy agreement’ is preferred for all kinds of tenancy arrangements, as it should clearly express the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved.

3. Importance

A tenancy agreement is important in creating a positive relationship with your landlord. It will also assist your lawyer in advising legal recourse for you if things go wrong.

4. Eligibility

In Malaysia, everyone has a right to rent a property so long as you have the legal capacity to enter into a tenancy agreement, which means being 18 years old or older, and have not been declared bankrupt.

5. Tenant’s Rights

As a tenant, you will normally have the rights as follows unless parties involved agreed otherwise:

(a) to view the property before renting

(b) know who your landlord is. If you do not know who your landlord is, do get legal advice on the necessary due diligence which are to be conducted.

(c) see the utilities bills that you will be paying for the property to ensure no outstanding amount remains

(d) quiet enjoyment of the property

(e) have security of tenure for an agreed tenure of tenancy

(f) live in a property that is safe and in a good state of repair in respect of the property’s structure and exterior, and any damage they cause by attempting repairs, including walls, roof, gate, windows, electrical wiring, gas pipes and common areas including entrance halls and stairways

(g) have your deposit returned when the tenancy ends

6. Tenant’s Responsibilities

On the other hand, a tenant’s responsibilities normally entails:-

(a) allow landlord access to the property to inspect it or carry out repairs as long as you were given reasonable notice to visit at a reasonable time of the day.

But, if it is an emergency, you might need their immediate access

(b) take good care of the property “in good tenantable repair” throughout the tenure, subject to fair wear and tear

(c) pay the agreed rent, even if repairs are needed or that you are in dispute with your landlord

(d) pay other charges as agreed with the landlord, for example water, electricity bills, and sewerage charges

(e) to keep the property and all fittings and fixtures (except with fair wear and tear)

(f) repair or replace for any damaged fittings and fixtures caused by you, your family or friends

(g) only sublet a property if the tenancy agreement or your landlord allows it

7. Breach of tenancy agreement

Your landlord has the right to take legal action to recover the rental from you (refer article on: Distress Action), or even recover possession if you do not meet your responsibilities (refer to article on: Writ of Possession) as well as other remedies available for breach of contract.

8. Rent increases

For tenancy running for a set period (fixed-term), your landlord can only increase the rent if you agree.

If you do not agree, the rent can only be increased when the fixed term ends when you exercise your option to renew.

Parties can agree on a rent increase and have it recorded in an agreement that both sign.

About the Author: 

This article is written by Chia Swee Yik, Partner of this Firm, who has provided practical advice on renting property.

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