Moving into a new home can be very exciting. Sure it takes a lot of hard work to get the job done, but when all is said and done, you are given an opportunity to start fresh. After all the hard work you spent moving in your new home, though, what if you find out your landlord is, well, let’s just say not the best? This is a problem that can easily take away most or all of your post-moving exciting. So what do you do? Here’s what to do if you end up with a difficult landlord:
Review the lease prior to signing. Before you ever sign your name on something as serious as a rental lease, it is critical that you read the entire document (this includes the fine print!). When reading, making note of any restrictions – overnight guests, noise, pets, smoking, etc. If any of these restrictions don’t comply with your lifestyle, then moving into this particular place can put you at risk for many problems – problems that can lead to a less-than-nice landlord.
Another thing to look for when reading over your lease agreement is any extra fees, such as amenities charges or a monthly pet payment. You should also find out if any utilities, like water, are included in your rent. Knowing this type of information is very important when renting a property because it ensures you know exactly what you are paying for and how much you owe each month.
Be sure to pay particular attention to any penalties you may face if you break the lease before the term is up, and also what is required in order for you to get your security deposit back after moving out. Not having an exact understanding of what you are signing is risky and can lead to many problems, so be sure to read the fine print before signing your John Hancock.
Research Local Laws. Another good thing to do when moving into a rental property is to know your rights as a tenant. This knowledge has the potential to save you a great deal of pain if you end up with a difficult landlord.
When renting, your landlord is kind of like your boss – in the sense that you have to play some some of the rules they set. But don’t think this means you have no rights as a tenant, because you do! So be in the know and learn your rights to protect yourself during any negative rental problems you may encounter. Tenant renter rights are laws that govern the standards landlords are required to meet when providing domicile to tenants. These laws also detail how tenants can legally exert their rights int the event of abuse.
Keep Records. If you begin to experience problems with your landlord, it is incredibly important to keep any and all records. Having records of problems that take place is the best way to protect your rights as a tenant. It can also eliminate any “he said/she said” situations because yo will have the visible proof right at your fingertips of the events that played out. Keep copies of any canceled rent checks and detailed records of any phone conversations, including the date and time of exchange and also what was discussed.
Pay Your Rent. The ideal way to avoid problems with your landlord is to stay on top of your rental payments. Even in the event of a dispute, it is wise to continue paying your rent while you and your landlord work out the issue(s) at hand. This way, you won’t have any negative strikes against you as a tenant, especially if you are dealing with a landlord that doesn’t play fair.
Maintain Communication. If you encounter a problem with your rental property, it is best to maintain open, clear and respectful communication with your landlord. No matter what the issue is that you are having, raising your voice, making inappropriate remarks, and overall being a total hot head will never work out in your favor. If you ever wind up in court over issues with your landlord, you’ll want the judge to look kindly toward the interactions you had with your landlord. Losing your cool has a way of biting you in the butt later.
Request Repairs in Writing. There is any of things that can go wrong with a rental property. Your plumbing may malfunction, your garbage disposal may stop working, or your air conditioner may go on the fritz. Yes, it can be frustrating, but it’s how efficiently your landlord takes care of situations like these that matters. Landlords – especially those with many properties to take care of – are very busy. Leaving a message on their voicemail is okay, but there is a chance your landlord may overlook your message. That’s why it’s a good idea to also turn in a written repairs request. A written request serves two purposes:
- To provide your landlord with notice of a problem.
- To provide documentation for your own records, just in case the request is ignored.
Find a Peaceful Solution. Along with maintaining calm verbal communication with your landlord, you will also want to ensure you find a peaceful solution to any problems that may arise. No matter what the disagreement or issue there is, law enforcement or the court system should always be used as a last resort. If you hope to continue living on the property, involving the law can damage the long-term relationship between you and your landlord. Not to mention, it also costs time and money. To save yourself a lot of unpleasantries, opt to keep the peace and settle any issues calmly and rationally.
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