5 Things Tenants Are Not Allowed to Do While Renting

As an independent property owner, you need to find good tenants, set fair rules, and keep everyone happy. However, there are certain things tenants are not allowed to do while renting, and you should know about these to save you from any potential headaches.

It’s essential to be very clear about tenant responsibilities and prohibited activities in the lease agreement so there are no surprises down the road. The last thing you need is a call at 2 am about burst pipes or police at the door due to a noise complaint!

Read on to ensure you cover all the bases in your lease and set proper expectations. Your tenants will appreciate the clarity, and you’ll, in turn, avoid issues down the line.

Before we go into details, here’s a quick summary of things tenants are not allowed to do while renting:

  • Unauthorised alterations or damages to the property ;
  • Subletting or assigning the lease without consent ;
  • Failing to pay rent on time ;
  • Noisemaking and disturbing neighbours ;
  • Illegal activities on the premises.

Unauthorised Alterations or Damages to the Property

As a landlord, there are certain things your tenants aren’t allowed to do without your permission. Unauthorised changes or damage to the property are at the top of the list.

You don’t want tenants knocking down walls or stripping floors without first asking for permission. Significant renovations like these can devalue the property and reduce your control over the space. They also pose safety issues if not done correctly.

It’s best to set clear rules in the lease for minor changes. Things like hanging pictures, painting walls, or basic repairs should require advance notice and approval. You’ll want to specify the limits of what’s allowed, like the number of holes in walls or types of paint colour.

Of course, normal wear and tear is expected, but tenants are still responsible for negligent damage. Burn marks, water damage, or pet destruction should be charged to the tenant accordingly. It’s a good idea to do routine inspections to check the property’s condition and ensure everything is well-maintained.

In all, open communication is vital. Set fair policies, document everything in the lease, and address issues early. Also, make it easy for tenants to come to you with questions about what they can and can’t do. If a tenant knowingly disregards the rules, you may need to consider whether they’re fit to keep staying at your property.

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Subletting or Assigning the Lease Without Consent

One of the biggest headaches as a landlord is when tenants sublet or assign their lease without your consent. This is a major cause for concern when it comes to things tenants are not allowed to do while renting.

Subletting occurs when tenants rent out your property to another party for a portion of the remaining lease term. Assigning a lease, on the other hand, means transferring the entire remaining lease term to another tenant. Either way, these actions are prohibited unless clearly stated in the lease and approved by you in writing.

Why is consent so important, though?
Firstly, you must vet new tenants to ensure they meet your criteria. You also want tenants that will care for your property responsibly. Additionally, there are legal implications, like ensuring proper contracts are signed.

It’s also essential for you to be aware of who’s occupying your property. An unauthorised tenant could refuse to pay rent or damage the property, leaving you little legal recourse.

If you discover your tenants have sublet or assigned the lease without consent, take action immediately. Issue a formal letter explaining they’ve violated the lease and must either evict the unauthorised tenants or face eviction themselves. You may also issue a notice to quit, followed by a court order to regain possession.

The moral of the story?
Screen your tenants thoroughly upfront and make sure your lease prohibits subletting or assigning the lease without the landlord’s written consent. Be vigilant, and don’t hesitate to take appropriate action if needed. Your property and investment depend on it!

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Failing to Pay Rent on Time

Failure to pay rent on time is one of the most common issues landlords face. As an independent landlord, having clear policies that label this as one of the things your tenants are not allowed to do while renting is essential.

Outlined below are different steps landlords can take to prevent tenants from defaulting on rent.

a. Late Fees

Charge reasonable late fees to discourage tenants from paying late and offset costs to you. Typically, a fee of 5–10% of the monthly rent for payments more than 5–7 days late is standard. Be sure late fees are clearly stated in the lease agreement so there are no surprises.

Sometimes, tenants fall on hard times through no fault of theirs. If a tenant comes to you with a reasonable explanation for why the rent will be late and a plan to pay, consider waiving the late fee as a courtesy, especially for long-term tenants with a good payment history. However, if late payments become a pattern, don’t hesitate to charge late fees to curtail the behaviour.

It is also a good idea to encourage tenants to set up a standing order so that the rent payment is automatically taken from their account on a specific date each month. This will help put your mind at ease.

b. Notice to Pay or Quit

If rent isn’t paid within a certain number of days of the due date (often 5–15 days), issue a formal notice demanding payment. This notice should state the tenant has 3–5 days to pay the total amount owed or move out. You may need to consult an attorney to ensure the notice meets the legal requirements for your area.

c. Eviction

As a last resort, you may need to begin eviction to remove tenants from the property for unpaid rent. This can be a lengthy legal process, so try to resolve payment issues before starting eviction. However, if tenants still don’t pay after receiving notices, eviction may be necessary to avoid rent loss and damage to the unit.


Following through with late fees, notices, and, if needed, eviction for nonpayment of rent helps set clear expectations for your tenants. While it’s unpleasant, taking appropriate action will ensure you can continue providing housing for renters who pay on time. Rentila affords you the ease of monitoring rents that are due or late, ensuring you continually keep tabs on defaulters.

Noisemaking and Disturbing Neighbours

As a landlord, one of the most common complaints you’ll receive from tenants is noise from neighbours. Loud music, barking dogs, and sounds of renovation are the most frequent offenders. Setting clear rules about acceptable noise levels and periods in your lease agreement is essential.

Specify the hours when tenants need to keep noise to a minimum, such as after 10 pm on weekdays and midnight on weekends. Excessive noise during these times can disturb other renters and damage the enjoyment of their living space.

Let your renters know these are things tenants are not allowed to do while renting, and multiple noise complaints may result in penalties like fines or even eviction for repeat or egregious offenders.

Here are approaches you can take as a landlord to curtail various forms of noise:

  • Loud Music: Politely ask tenants to turn down speakers, radios and other devices if the volume is audible outside their unit or in neighbouring apartments.
  • Barking Dogs: Issue a warning if a dog is barking for long periods, especially overnight, when most people sleep. Require the owner to reduce excessive barking before further action is needed.
  • Renovation Noise: Set time limits for when work can be done, especially for projects involving tools, hammering, or other loud activities. Ask tenants to inform you and their neighbours in advance of renovations.

Landlords should handle noise issues promptly and judiciously. Courteously speaking with tenants about specific complaints and coming to an understanding can help resolve many problems. However, you may need to take further steps to enforce the rules in the lease agreement for repeat or unreasonable offences. The goal is to promote a quiet, comfortable environment for all renters.

Illegal Activities on the Premises

As a landlord, there are illegal things tenants are not allowed to do while renting. Failure to enforce these restrictions could get you into legal trouble or negatively impact your rental income.

Most illegals activities by tenants fall under either of these two categories:

a. Illegal Substances

Under no circumstances should tenants partake to do any of the following:

  • Growing, manufacturing, or selling illegal drugs on the premises. This includes cannabis, even if it’s been legalised in your area.
  • Operate an illegal drug production operation. The health and safety risks are enormous.
  • Sell prescription drugs or allow the premises to be used to buy/sell them illegally.

b. Dangerous Activities

Some other activities that should be prohibited in the lease agreement include the following:

  • Discharging firearms, explosives or any other dangerous weapons on the property. This poses an obvious safety risk.
  • Gambling, prostitution, or any other criminal activity. Kick against your tenants using the rental for unlawful commercial or recreational purposes.
  • Breeding fighting animals like dogs. This is illegal and inhumane.
  • Dumping hazardous materials, trash, or other waste on the property. This can create health code violations and legal issues.

Make it clear in your lease agreement that any illegal activities on the premises will result in immediate eviction and potential legal prosecution. Conduct regular inspections to check for signs of unlawful behaviour and be alert for any complaints from neighbours or others.

Your rental property’s safety, security and lawful use should be top priorities. Failure to prevent illegal activities could damage your reputation as a landlord and hurt your business.

FAQs: Things Tenants Are Not Allowed to Do While Renting

What should a tenant not do?

A tenant must not do the following:

  • Sublet without permission.
  • Cause damage to the property.
  • Fail to pay rent on time.
  • Alter the property without consent.
  • Disturb neighbours or engage in illegal activities.

What are the new rules for tenants?

The Renters (Reform) Bill in the UK aims to abolish section 21 evictions, which allow landlords to evict tenants without providing a specific reason. Instead, it seeks to strengthen landlords’ rights of possession by enabling them to terminate a tenancy in certain circumstances defined by law. This change is intended to provide more security and stability for tenants while balancing the rights of landlords.

Do tenants have to pay for repairs?

It depends on the nature of the repair. Generally, tenants are responsible for minor repairs and day-to-day maintenance. However, major repairs and structural issues are typically the landlord’s responsibility. The specific responsibilities and obligations regarding repairs can be outlined in the tenancy agreement.

Things to remember

So there you have it, a helpful list of things tenants are not allowed to do while renting. As a landlord, setting clear rules and boundaries to protect your investment property is essential. However, also try to maintain an open line of communication with your tenants and address any concerns directly and respectfully.

Stay on top of property maintenance, handle issues promptly, and keep those rental payments coming in on time. Do your part to be a good landlord, and hopefully, your tenants will follow suit by being model renters. And don’t forget to use our proprietary software to manage your properties for easy documentation and compliance. Sign up today to get started.


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