Problems between apartment renters and landlords can be avoided if both parties take the necessary precautions. As a renter, most of the precautions that will help you should be taken before moving into your apartment. Here are three measures to take:
Understand Local Tenancy Laws
The first precaution is to have a thorough understanding of the local tenancy laws. These are the laws that govern your respective responsibilities as a tenant and landlord, respectively. You can turn to these laws, for example, if your landlord wants you to move out against your will or if you want the landlord to repair something, but they aren't willing to do it.
These laws vary greatly by state. For example, in some jurisdictions, tenants who have been evicted due to rent defaults are required to pay not only the unpaid rent but also the rent they would have paid until the end of the lease. So, take the time to reacquaint yourself with tenancy-landlord laws if you have recently moved to a new state.
Inspect the Unit
The second precaution is to inspect the actual unit you wish to move into. Don't rely on pictures, floor plans or similar units because they may not be the same as the one you are renting. For example, some landlords may take you to a well-maintained model while the actual one isn't as great.
Here are some of the things you shouldn't forget to do during the inspection:
- The condition of the floors (watch out for missing sections of the carpet)
- Signs of chipping paint or moldy stains on the walls
- Ensure the windows actually open
- Test the switches and electrical fittings
If you notice any problem, bring it to the attention of the landlord. Ideally, you should have it fixed before you move in. If that isn't practical, have the landlord's promise, in writing, that the existing problems will be repaired within a specified period.
Find the Other Tenants' Opinions
Last, you may know more about your prospective landlord and their property by talking to the existing tenants. If you are replacing a tenant, talk to them, so you get a true description of the unit you are about to occupy. Know which window is difficult to close during the summer or whether the plumbing acts up when the house is crowded. They may also tell you how fast the landlord reacts when they raise grievances and the state of security in the area.
Contact local realtors for professional assistance in finding a new residence.