Renting in the United States is steadily becoming more common these days; especially amongst the younger generation. When relocating, this can be the better option over purchasing a home due to money saved, not being tied down to a property and having certain things taken care of that you don’t have to worry about.
Like buying, renting comes with some things that everyone should be aware of. Going into signing a lease, keep in mind that you might have to do some research on your own. Knowing the following 8 things your landlord might not tell you ahead of time, just might save you a headache later and not set your expectations too high.
1. Your home is still my property. Technically this is true but it isn’t meant to sound harsh. You need to keep in mind that you don’t own the unit you are living in; the landlord does. While you have every right to settle in, you should remember that when your lease is up, the landlord will be taking it back…unless you renew your lease. You may or may not be able to do everything you want and keeping in mind that other people will be living there shortly after you, might help you understand you can’t paint your living room walls bubblegum pink.
2. I really should be charging you less. It’s all part of the rental market process. This is the reason you should be prepared to negotiate with your potential landlord. Look around at communities nearby and see what the norm is for the area. Also, if you know someone who lived where you might be leasing before, ask them if they were able to get any fees lowered. There may be some room to lower the rent, perhaps cut out application or administration fees that will help with your decision. If they can’t cut them out, ask if they can be credited toward your first month’s rent.
3. I’m technically not allowed to rent to you. This is a big one. Brush up on what is and isn’t legally considered a rental unit. That basement that seems perfect for you due to the short lease and ridiculously low monthly rent may be illegal for the landlord to rent to you. Inadequate lighting, ventilation or inexistent exits in case of an emergency are all things a rental must have in order to be leased.
4. Do a background check on me. Did you know you can do this? Your landlord will most likely do a background check on you and you should do the same. You can call the city or property management office to make sure there haven’t been any reported problems you should know about. Visit www.checkyourlandlord.com for more information.
5. You may have more rights than you realize. Housing Lawyer, Janet Portman says, “Tenants have the right to a livable home—even if they sign lease documents accepting the property as is. Every state other than Arkansas has some form of a law guaranteeing tenants the right to a safe basic shelter that keeps out rain and snow and is free of health hazards like asbestos, lead and mold.” If these things aren’t being met, Tenants can legally, if approved, withhold rent until necessary repairs are made.
6. Your neighbor really isn’t my problem. You may think that your landlord will be able to help with the noisy neighbor next door, or talk to the parents of the kids who are pounding into the floor at all hours of the night however, that’s not the case. They’re leasing their property to dozens, sometimes a hundred, renters and they can’t worry about minor disputes between neighbors.
7. The mice aren’t my problem, either. Think that your landlord should take care of the mice you saw running across your kitchen floor? Like talking to your pesky neighbors, they don’t have to. You may get lucky if they stop by and help out, but there is no telling what brought the mice in and that might be an issue.
8. I’m not going to repair that. Not everything is the building’s fault. Just because you broke the kitchen sink in a building that doesn’t belong to you, doesn’t mean it’s going to be someone else’s problem. Be courteous of your rental unit and treat your space with respect.
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