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Educational Consumer Tips

Apartments

Author: Rachel Gelb
Published:
Category: Home Improvement

Regardless of the reason, if you are interested in moving into a new apartment you must do your homework to find a reputable apartment complex with a reliable landlord. Refer to these tips when searching for an apartment to rent.

Tips for Renting an Apartment:

Determine Your Needs.  Before you start apartment hunting, it’s important to determine what amenities are a necessity to you and what your budget will be. Decide how important location is and how much space you would like. If you live with pets make sure they are welcome in the apartment complex and find out if there are additional fees involved. Find out the maximum occupancy if you are planning on expanding your family.  

Do Your Research.  Ask friends, family members, and co-workers to recommend an apartment complex where they’ve had a positive experience living and dealing with the management company.  Always check out the apartment complex’s reviews and complaints at bbb.org.

Visit the Apartment Complex.  Do not base your decision solely on the photos of the apartment online, they can be deceiving. Be sure to visit the apartment complex before sending in your deposit. When walking through the actual apartment inspect all doors, locks, windows, toilets, faucets, and make sure all appliances are working properly. Check out all the amenities that were listed online and make sure they are up to your standards.

Ask About Insurance.  In the event of an incident such as a fire or break-in, the apartment complex is usually not held accountable for their tenant’s damaged or stolen items. If you purchase renters’ insurance, your damaged or stolen items will be covered. Carefully review deductibles and coverage when choosing a renters’ insurance policy.

Take Note of the Apartment’s Condition.  Before signing the lease, provide the landlord with a list of damages and repairs you discovered while inspecting the apartment. Be sure the landlord signs the maintenance list, acknowledging that the damages and repairs existed before you moved in. This list will protect you from being liable for the damages from previous tenants.

Carefully Review the Lease.  When reviewing the lease be sure to understand the maintenance repairs you are responsible for and what the apartment complex will cover. Be sure to ask what your security deposit covers and when you must make your payments. Be aware of the consequences if your payments are late. Ask how repair requests will be handled and the timeframe it will take to resolve them. Make sure to always keep a copy of the signed lease in a safe place.

Know Your Rights.  If you’re having difficulty getting your landlord to address your repair request, send the landlord a dated request letter in the mail. If the issue is not addressed in an appropriate timeframe you have a variety of options. You may be able to end the lease, hire your own person to repair the damages and subtract it from your rent, or have a court force the landlord to fix the repair. Discuss with your attorney to clearly understand your rights.  However, you should not halt payment on your rent because it could lead to eviction and damage your credit score.

About the Author: Rachel Gelb is Communications and Marketing Manager for BBB serving Eastern Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont. Find Rachel on Google +.

Questions and Comments

Question Submitted 7/23/2015

My lease is being terminated at the apartment that I'm living at and I need to know what my rights are because I have not done anything wrong but ask the maintenance manager which is sent owner about children under 10 years old without parent supervision at the pool and he's kicking me out because of that

BBB's Answer:

Contact the TX Attorney General for your rights as a tenant at https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/cpd/tenant-rights

Question Submitted 7/30/2015

We have had 2 incidences of carbon monoxide alerts in our apartment. The fire dept came out and I have reports from both visits, stating the level of C02 in the apartment. It took me 4 calls in 2 days before someone finally came out to check it out. Once the maintenance guy was in the apartment he began to replace the alarm and said that the alarm probably went off because the batteries were low. He stated he would return the next day (tomorrow) with his reader to see what it says. I don't trust that the apartment manager is taking this seriously, and Im not sure what my next step should be, assuming they cant figure out what is causing the leak.

BBB's Answer:

Contact the Colorado Department of Local Affairs to learn more about your rights as a tenant - http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/DOLA-Main/CBON/1251622384906

Question Submitted 10/20/2015

Are there any restrictions to how much an apartment operator can charge for a non-refundable an application or move in fee? Can an operator charge an application fee of $300-$400 non refundable?

BBB's Answer:

The Texas Real Estate Commission may be able to assist you with these questions. 

https://www.trec.state.tx.us/

Question Submitted 11/6/2015

My old apartment complex is charging me for rent I already paid, I have the check to show it was cashed on my checking account, and she is stating that she will sent me to collections. This is from North Dakota apartment complex. What show I do? Can I report her to the BBB? Thank you.

BBB's Answer:

This link may assist you - https://www.ag.nd.gov/Brochures/FactSheet/TenantRights.pdf
Disclaimer:
Views expressed on this page are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Better Business Bureau.

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