In this day and age, statistics are now sowing that people who rent are between the ages of 29 to 35 and single. While this number does not include low income families that pay rent. Considering the rising cost of rent in the United States, we are now beginning to see that Americans have decided to rent rather than buy. It is now becoming harder to actually get into a rental as people are losing their homes due to the current housing issues that is plaguing the market. If you decide to rent, you need to know what your rights are. These rights are defined by the law and you should know how they affect you.
Your lease is the most important part of your tenant rights. A lease contains information that is of great importance to you. It will tell you on what day your rent is due, what happens if you do not pay your rent on time, and will spell out all of your allowable rent increases. Make sure you pay attention to all of these. Never, ever sign a contract or lease in which a landlord states that he can raise the rent at “his or her discretion”. Stay clear of any lease that states you must follow any rules that the landlord may want use in the future. Never sign a lease that gives your landlord unrestricted access into your home. Your lease is the most important document when you decide to rent, so be sure to have a copy and that your copy is notarized.
When you pay your security deposit, it is generally equal to one month’s rent and is paid when you move in. Although there may be exceptions to this, this is generally standard. When you pay your deposit, make sure you understand your rights under the terms of your lease. Of course normal wear and tear is normal but if you get angry and punch holes int he wall, expect to pay for repairs out of your deposit. Always ask for a list of any deductions that the landlord may make when you move and request the return of your security deposit. Your landlord is required to provide you with your deposit if you don’t have excessive damages about 14-30 days after you move out.
As a renter, you have rights regarding any repairs your home needs. Issues such as no electricity or hot water should always be the responsibility of the landlord and should have immediate action to resolve these emergencies and should be taken care of within 24 hours. It is extremely important that you let your landlord know of any maintenance issues immediately. For other non-emergency maintenance issues, make sure to let your landlord know of these issues in a timely manner and if he or she does not respond verbally, the next step to take is by writing a letter. Make sure to list your repair(s) and the date you would like them to be resolved by and always be sure to be courteous and respectful. If this still fails to get your necessary repairs done, your next move will be to the Code Inspector to handle the situation.They will inspect your apartment and document any violations on your landlord’s part. Always be sure to document and keep any copies of your outreaches.
Ending Your Lease
Sometimes you may find yourself in a position where you may need to end your lease early. Sometimes there are different guidelines and clauses that you should be aware of. For example, senior citizens over the age of 60 have the right under the law to end their lease if they have to go into a nursing home. The landlord is liable to end the lease and release the senior tenant from the liability of paying rent under the terms of the lease and return any money paid in advance. Another example is if the tenant is in the military and they are called onto active duty and can end their lease if needed.
Renting can sometimes be seen as a hassle but knowing your rights and executing them if necessary can lead to a happy landlord/tenant relationship. Always make every effort to maintain a good relationship with your landlord and your renting experience will be much happier in the long run. If you or someone you know is interested in renting, contact us today at the Kuchar Team for more information!