Thursday, January 31, 2013

Spotting a Bad Landlord

The landlord is one of the last things you think about in all the hype about getting a new home. Funny thing is having a landlord is like having another spouse. Your making a large commitment to an individual that you may not know anything about, sounds scary right? Well here are a few tips that can make you more aware about what your getting yourself into when it comes to having a landlord. 

Ask Questions, you never can ask enough questions. You have the right to know what kind of a person you will be dealing with throughout your housing commitment. For starters make sure you take a walk through of the home your leasing with the landlord him/herself. This way you can ask all the questions you want face to face with them. This also allows you to get to know your future landlord and their management style. Don’t fool ourself, whether you like it or not this individual will become part of your life. Here are some sample questions to ask when completing a walk through: 

1. How long have you owned the property?

2. Do you handle maintenance yourself? Am I responsible for any repairs?

3. How long did the last tenants live here? Did they have pets? 

4. What kind of security measures do you take? 

5. What is the neighborhood like? Any crime in the area? 

Examine the property, is it clean? are there any visibly obvious damages? these clues can say a lot about the landlord. If your questioning damages that look like pest infestation, water leaks, mold or other damages get a second opinion. A inspector may be a good investment if you are making a long term commitment. If repairs are needed you want to make sure to include them in the lease or make sure the are completed before signing the lease and moving in. If they are not included in the lease or not fixed the landlord could hold you accountable if the deal falls through. 

Talk to others, see what other tenants think of their landlord. This can give you a large clue to what he/she is like after moving in. It’s good to hear both the good and the bad. Another option may be doing your research on the landlord using technology. If they are part of a property management group then their maybe some reviews online. You can also research the property via public records in your city. This will help you figure out if there are any set backs with the property or landlord. 

Read carefully, once you sign the lease you can’t take it back. It is important to re-read the lease you are about to sign, it is not uncommon for a landlord to sneak in or restructure the current sections in their favor. It may not be a bad idea to familiarize yourself with landlord/tenant laws in your state. This way you know your rights and what is supposed to be in the lease itself. You also want to ask about any sections you do not understand in the lease. The most important thing to remember is if you feel uncomfortable then do not sign the lease. There are a million different options for a new home out there you don’t have to settle! 

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