Posted July 01, 2011 by RentJungle
Moving in and setting up your new apartment or rental home causes you enough stress, dealing with a bad landlord is the last thing you feel like doing. Before your relationship with the landlord becomes a legal one, keep reading more to learn your rights as a tenant and what you should and shouldn’t do in certain sticky situations with the guy/girl who takes money from you every month.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
Don’t let your landlord pull the wool over your eyes. You as the renter have every reason to know all of your rights and responsibilities. The following link will give you access to the Landlord Association of America, where you can find Landlord Tenant Laws and Handbooks for all 50 states. http://www.landlordassociation.org/statelaws.html
INSPECT, INSPECT, INSPECT
Before moving into your new place, document everything including all the rooms inside, even the basement, and the exterior of the house or apartment. A good idea is to take pictures of everything inside and out of the house, so if your landlord tries to pin something on you that was broken before you moved in; you will have the evidence to prove you’re innocent. Another good thing to do is always to have a saved copy of the lease on hand, to use in your defense if a scuffle with the landlord were to happen. Make sure your appliances are working safely, that all your doors lock securely and properly, as well as that your rental was cleaned properly upon moving in.
RESPOND WITH KINDNESS
Knowing your rights as a tenant in your state, write a polite yet aggressive letter to your landlord stating what is wrong and what they need to do to fix your problems. Letting your landlord know that you are upset with them and that you may take further action if they do not comply, will most likely push them to take care of your problems as soon as possible.
IF WORSE COMES TO WORST
If your landlord doesn’t respond to your letter, and absolutely has been denying your rights as their tenant, file a lawsuit and take them to court. This should be the very last thing you do, because you don’t want to file a lawsuit by mistake and cause the landlord to evict you or break your lease. If a situation does arise that causes for an immediate lawsuit, show no hesitation. Here is where the documentation you have comes into play. Provide your copy of the lease with highlighted sections the landlord has broken, pictures(if needed) of the rental before moving in, old emails or voicemails between you and your landlord, letters, witnesses, etc. Make sure you have a strong enough case to obtain settlement in your behalf.
***Moving into an apartment or rental home is an exciting time, even if it isn’t your first time, but not all landlords will be fair. Follow these steps above if your landlord acts more as a slumlord and treats you like dirt. ***