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What is included in my rent?
Clear language definitions to common legal terms.
In return for paying rent you get the right to live in a place and treat it as your home. If your building or complex has more than one rental unit, you also have the right to use the common areas. Common areas include things like hallways, elevators, driveways, lobbies, and grounds.
You also have the right to have your unit and all common areas properly repaired and maintained by your landlord.
Your rent could include other things, such as electricity, cable, parking, cleaning, or meals. Make sure your written agreement or lease clearly says what is included and what is not included. If something you thought was included is not in writing, you may have a hard time proving it if you and your landlord disagree later.
Check the rental agreement
If you are renting a new place, make sure the written rental agreement lists what's included. For example:
- energy, such as electricity or gas
- locker or storage space
- laundry room
- cleaning services
Before you sign, make sure the written agreement accurately says what you and the landlord are agreeing to.
It is usually best to have a written agreement. But if there is no written agreement, speak to your landlord to make sure you both have the same understanding of what you are agreeing to and what is included in your rent.
If you are renting in a care home, for example, a retirement home, there must be a written rental agreement that lists the costs of any services not included in your rent. And the landlord must give you an information package before you sign a rental agreement.
Get a copy of your rental agreement
Once you sign a written rental agreement or lease, your landlord must give you a copy of it. If your landlord does not give you a copy within 21 days, you can stop paying rent until they give you a copy. But it is usually a good idea to tell your landlord before you do this.
Take action if you are not getting what you're paying for
There are things you can do if your landlord:
- is not doing proper maintenance and repair
- is interfering with your quiet enjoyment of your home (for example, harassing you or invading your privacy)
- isn't providing a service or other thing that they agreed to
It is usually not a good idea to hold back rent in these situations.