Leasing As a Tenant? Understanding Your Rights as A Bermuda Tenant

Friday Apr 15th, 2022


As a tenant moving into a private rented home or condo in Bermuda, you, like your landlord, have certain rights and responsibilities. These rights and obligations are frequently outlined in your tenancy agreement, so consult it first if you're unsure. As a renter, you have certain rights and duties, which are outlined in this guide.

General Rights & Laws

As a tenant in a private rented house, your tenancy agreement (which should be co-signed by you and your landlord before you move in) gives you the following rights according to the Bermuda Tenant and Landlord Act of 1974:

  • The right to live in a safe and well-maintained home.
  • The right to have your deposit back at the end of the lease (provided that you meet the terms of your tenancy agreement).
  • As part of this, you will be able to contest any charges that you consider are 'excessively high.'
  • The right to know who your landlord is.
  • The right to reside in the property without interference.
  • The right to be safeguarded from unfair rent and eviction
  • If you have a fixed-term tenancy of more than three years, you have the right to a written agreement.

How Rental Leases Work in Bermuda

Tenancy agreements (sometimes known as leases) in Bermuda can be written or oral if they are for less than three years. Oral agreements are risky since there is no written record of terms and conditions. Oral agreements for less than three years contain certain implied terms such as monthly rent in advance, tenant liability for utility payments and ongoing repairs to the interior — and with a landlord right of entrance on 24 hours' notice.

All terms are flexible, however if a property is rent controlled, there is a maximum allowed rent and the security deposit should not exceed two weeks' rent. Whether the landlord or tenant has the upper hand in talks is determined by the status of the market and the degree to which each party is willing to compromise in order to achieve an agreement.

Deposit deductions are common in rental agreements for non-payment of rent, righting tenant wrongs, eviction, and legal costs. If the deposit is insufficient, a well-drafted leasing agreement forces the tenant to make up the difference.

More importantly, when a lease expires, a tenant has the option of moving, continuing to pay rent on a month-to-month basis, or signing a new lease. If a renter continues to pay rent after a lease expires, the conditions of the expired lease are usually carried over into a month-to-month tenancy.

What A Landlord Can Evict You For

In Bermuda, a landlord can evict a tenant for the following reasons:

  • Failure to pay rent or a breach of any other condition of the rental agreement;
  • if landlord requires the property as a residence for himself or for specific family members — his parents, an adult child or grandchild;
  • where a landlord specifies that a tenant is undesirable and the landlord has given the tenant an opportunity to correct the matter complained of and the tenant has failed to do so;
  • or if the landlord is carrying out major renovations.

However, a landlord cannot evict you unless the tenancy is terminated first. This normally entails providing you with enough written notice in a specific manner and format. If you do not move after receiving proper notice, the landlord may reach out to the Provost General Marshal to evict you.

The Tenant and Landlord Act of 1974 specify the steps landlords must take to end a tenancy. Each parish may have its own procedures for writing and delivering termination notices and eviction papers to tenants ("served"). Landlords must strictly adhere to parish regulations and procedures.

When Might a Landlord Send a Notice of Termination for Cause?

There are three fundamental sorts of termination notifications that you may receive if you have violated the rental agreement or lease in some way in Bermuda:

  1. Pay Rent or Quit Notices are often sent to tenants who have not paid their rent. These notifications offer you a few days to pay the rent or vacate the premises ("quit").
  2. Cure or Quit Notices are generally issued to tenants who breach a lease or rental agreement provision or condition, such as a no-pets clause or a vow not to make excessive noise. You usually have a specified period of time to fix, or "cure," the infringement.
  3. Unconditional Quit Notices are the most severe of all. They order the tenant to remove the premises without giving him or her the opportunity to pay the rent or fix a lease or rental agreement breach. Most parishes allow unconditional quit letters only if you have:
      • Persistently broken a substantial lease or rental agreement clause,
      • Been late with the rent on multiple occasions,
      • Badly damaged the property, or engaged in serious unlawful conduct, such as drug dealing on the grounds.

Can You Get Them Back Your Rent Deposit?

Your security deposit is subject to specific landlord-tenant rights. When you rent, you are usually required to pay a security deposit to safeguard the landlord from any harm you may do. Some parishes may limit these deposits, but even if they don't, your landlord must treat all renters equally and not levy a greater deposit for no reason (a pet can be a reason for a higher deposit).

The deposit, however, should not be more than a fortnight's rent or half of one month's rent. If the renter has paid more than that amount, he should not be afraid to demand a return from his landlord. If the tenant does not wish to take it up with his landlord, he should seek counsel from the Rent Commission.

Bermuda Tenant and Landlord Act govern how long the landlord has to return the deposit and whether or not interest will be charged. If a portion of your deposit is retained, you are entitled to detailed documentation of the damage for which it is being used.

Can A Landlord Evict You If They Sell the House?

While all landlords are well within their rights to sell their properties at any time, the tenant's rights to his lease remain in place before any rights of the buyer, and the tenant can remain in the property until his lease expires.

In addition, you cannot be evicted just because the property is about to be sold. This is not a reason to be evicted or for the eviction to be expedited. If the landlord wishes for you to vacate the premises, he or she must do so in accordance with the law.

And if you are on a periodic tenancy, the landlord must give at least 90 days' written notice to stop the periodic tenancy so that the property is unoccupied for the purchase upon settlement. Consult an Attorney or Contact the Office of the Rent Commissioner if you feel your rights is being trampled upon.

What Can You Do If A Landlord Is Not Fixing Things/Making Repairs?
If the landlord fails to make any necessary repairs, the tenant can apply to Bermuda Magistrates' Court to withhold rent until the repairs are done. Once the repairs are completed, the tenant must pay all back rent to the landlord.

Can Tenants Get Out of Lease Legally in Bermuda?

Under the landlord-tenant regulations, tenants MAY be allowed to lawfully break a lease if the apartment or condo violates habitability rules, if the landlord harasses the tenant, if the tenant's military station orders change, if the tenant is a victim of domestic violence, or if the apartment is illegal.

However, if you do not have a legal justification, you may be able to terminate a lease, but your landlord may impose a financial penalty. It could be a proportion of the amount of rent you still owe.

Ways You Can Be a Model Tenant

Here are some tips on how to be a model tenant:

  • Be truthful on your application form.

Begin on the right foot by providing accurate information on your application form. This includes revealing information such as the number of pets you own, if you smoke, and other pertinent details. It may be tempting to stretch the truth a little, but doing so will only cost you in the long run. Remember that the ideal location is one in which you can live comfortably for an extended period of time. If a rental does not meet your requirements, look for one that does.

  • Always be asking questions.

One of the most important things to remember while renting a house for the first time is to always ask questions. Before you sign the lease, it's a good idea to clarify anything that's confusing to you. To minimize future misunderstandings, you and your landlord should be on the same page from the start. Misinterpretation of a lease provision or term may result in significant fees and fines, eviction, or even legal action.

  • Read the lease carefully and adhere to the rules.

Before you move in, be sure you understand what you're getting into. Examine the lease agreement to see what you may and cannot do with the property. Pay particular notice if there are any unique rules about having visitors over or changing the furniture. Understand the security deposit return policy as well as any stipulations in the lease agreement. After you've signed the lease, make every effort to abide by its terms.

  • Make your rent payments on time.

One of the easiest ways to maintain a positive relationship with your landlord is to pay your rent on time. No landlord likes to harass their tenants about rent payments, and no renter wants to be reminded of their late payments on a daily basis. You don't want to have trouble paying your bills as well, so examine your finances and make sure the monthly rent is something you can comfortably afford.

  • Maintain the property

Maintain a clean and tidy environment to demonstrate to your landlord that you care about the property. Leave unclean dishes in the sink to attract ants or rodents. Garbage should be disposed of in accordance with building regulations, which may necessitate the use of tie-off bags or the flattening of large boxes before disposal. Take care of your rental as if it were your own home.



This article is only for educational purposes and the figures used throughout the article are estimates and subject to changes by the Bermuda Rent Commission. Like with any decision, it is important that you reach out to a lawyer for proper guidance before renting a house in Bermuda. Consult with a lawyer, before making any decisions to break a signed lease/contract and/or vacate the property.


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