Individuals residing in residential areas have a right to tenant advocacy. Tenant advocacy can be defined as activities involving representing, supporting, and promoting the rights of tenants. Tenant advocacy is also characterised by seeking justice for tenants by protecting residential tenants’ rights and interests. These interests involve ensuring tenants receive and access to essential services for their day to day needs and their ability to choose what they will.
Under tenant advocacy, tenants can exercise their rights and their freedom to choose. According to the relevant laws, tenants can make their own informed choices and exercise what they are entitled to when leasing office spaces.
Tenant advocacy differs from mediation, conciliation or offering alternative housing solutions for the tenant. In mediation, a reconciliatory is majorly involved to ensure the conflicting parties agree, whereas in mediation, resolving a dispute between two parties is usually the main objective of conciliation. However, tenant advocacy involves educating tenants on their rights and responsibilities in residential areas to ensure they are treated well regarding the law. They also perform their required duties while renting a house.
Factors Leading to Tenant Advocacy
Several instances may make a client seek tenant advocacy. This type of advice is usually sought from a law firm, especially in cases requiring legal procedures. Some of the factors included in tenant advocacy are:
- Legal representation
- Representations at Housing Appeals Office
- Negotiation with the client or real estate manager concerning tenant needs is often carried out on behalf of the client
- Advice when in need to file a lawsuit on a dispute or problem experienced in a residential dwelling. Lawyers guide the tenant on all the relevant information they should know to make appropriate decisions regarding their complaints.
Aspects of Tenant Advocacy
Tenants residing in any residential area should be aware of some of the aspects that constitute their rights and interests while living in a condo, apartment or house.
- Renting Space
Anyone can rent a space to live, despite who they are. Tenant advocacy demand that one cannot be denied to apply to rent a place based on their colour, race, age, sex, religion, nationality, family status or any form of disability. In case of the above discrimination, the landlord/person responsible will be convicted under the ‘Fair Housing Act.
- Deposit on Rentals
Most countries demand that tenants pay security deposits as part of the rent payment before settling in a new place. However, some landlords use this requirement to treat tenants unequally. This is by imposing higher deposits on some tenants and lower deposits on others. Tenant advocacy ensures that landlords treat all their tenants equally by setting equal charges in rent and security deposits. However, if you need to pay an extra amount as your deposit, a written explanation should be given to you stating the need to increase your security deposit. This could be the case, such as when you have a pet or you need a significant renovation to your apartment before you move in.
The tenant law allows the landlord to evict you from your apartment if you breach any of the rules you signed for. This includes causing significant disruption to your fellow tenants, housing many pets, or accommodating a much higher number of individuals in your house than what you’re required. Therefore, you need to read and understand all the requirements of your housing contract and adhere to them so that you cannot be unlawfully evicted.
As a tenant, tenant advocacy is meant to protect your rights and interests. You need to understand your rights and responsibilities and adhere to them. If you’re faced with any discrimination, tenant law in the housing act will protect you.