We have all experienced the wrath of a horrible landlord. Whether they are a slumlord or just inexperienced as a landlord, there are some things that you as the renter should do to protect yourself. Renting can be a great experience and not all landlords are bad.
However, there are many situations that can come up while renting a home or apartment so be prepared for anything. Here are some tips that will help.
Tip 1 – Stay on top of them because things are going to break. From a leaking roof, leaky sinks, to a stove that breaks on Thanksgiving morning, most tenants have seen it all. Some landlords don’t have the urgency that you do to get these items fixed. Call or email them every day until the situation is resolved.
Tip 2 – Get the lease before you have to sign it. Some renters are surprised on the day that they are signing the lease to see a two-year commitment instead of a one-year lease. It is important to not sign a lease the first day you saw it. Request a early copy and have a friend or family member experienced with renting look it over to make sure there are no red flags. Never sign a bad lease just because you have to move.
Tip 3 – Ask for references. Your landlord is going to run a credit check, ask for your employer’s information and possibly for references from you. Why not ask them for a reference of a previous tenant before entering into this relationship? This can give you an impression of what type of person that you are dealing with.
Tip 4 – Stand up to bully landlords. A friend once had a landlord who was threatening to charge her for an entire new refrigerator because a glass shelf inside broke during cleaning. The landlord was being lazy and used this threat as a leverage point for not returning the deposit on time (see Tip 5). Stand up for yourself and don’t put up with nonsense like that.
Tip 5 – Know your rights. Many states have laws about how long a landlord can keep your deposit. In many states that limit is 30 days from when you turn the keys over. Research the laws in your state and don’t be afraid to put pressure on the landlord when they are not returning your deposit. Some experts say that if taken to court the landlord could owe you double the deposit if they miss the 30-day mark.
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