Posts Tagged ‘law’

5 Things You Must Know Before Renting a House

Searching for a new residence can be stressful and time consuming. Creating a “must have” list not only eliminates houses efficiently, but will set you up for success for the duration of your stay.

  1. Know Your Lease: As a renter, in most cases you are not protected by the leasing laws of the local government, but rather by your signed lease. Because of this reality, it is incredibly important that you take time to read over your lease, ask for clarity where needed, and ask for changes (using your tenancy as leverage) where you believe things may be unfair or not make sense within the lease itself. Do not settle a change in the lease in the form of a verbal agreement. If you do this there is no way of proving this agreement in the event that you need it. Don’t be afraid to protect yourself and get any changes and agreements in writing.
  2. Know What Needs to be in Writing: Certain items that are often left unclear and left out of the lease should be addressed and added into the agreement. Particularly, things like lawn care. Who is going to maintain the grass and landscape? Is there a lawnmower provided? Are you paying for lawn services? Sometimes there are laws against leaving your lawn unkempt so clarifying this will prevent any surprises. Also, clarifying who is to fix and pay for large appliances in the house that are already provided. Payment and method to dealing with these in the event they break is essential. Lastly, privacy rights. Many people assume that the landlord must give at least 24 hours, written notice in order to enter the premises. This again, is not always true—only if it is included in the lease agreement.
  3. Know Your Rights: According to the Fair Housing Act it is Illegal to discriminate against applicants because of race, sex, religion, ethnicity, mental or physical disability or family status. However, if you are denied due to your financial, job, references, or income status this is completely legal.
  4. Know the Terms of Your Security Deposit: Protect your money! Renters most of the time are walking into a previously lived in home so keeping track with a written report of your findings in the house should definitely be your first move. Next you should walk through the area and take pictures of the entirety of the apartment so that any previous damage is noted in the photos. Make sure that you are not using a digital camera but rather a 35mm. This is generally the only type that will hold up in court because of the date inscription (digital cameras can be changed)
  5. Know About Renters Insurance: Important! Worth it! Renters insurance protects you against unexpected tragedies such as fire, flood, robbery, etc. Being able to have your things protected will not only save you money but let you sleep a little easier at night.

Terminology Tuesday

At times understanding the mumbo jumbo in a lease can leave you scratching your head and feeling like you need a lawyer just to sign it. Take these glossary terms and terminology will most definitely help you in your journey through moving.  

Co-tenant– A person who agrees to a lease or rental agreement together with one or more other persons who will also occupy the premises.
Domicile- The state in which one maintains a permanent home to which he or she intends to return (even though residing in another state).
Forfeiture- Loss of the tenant’s continued rights under a lease.
Guaranty- An agreement as it pertains to a lease, whereby a person who will not occupy the premises guarantees that the tenant will perform his or her obligations under a lease or rental agreement.
Joint tenancy– A means of owning property by two or more owners. If one of the owners dies, the other owner or owners automatically take over that person’s portion of the ownership.
Periodic tenancy– A rental agreement that runs from week-to-week, month-to-month, or year-to-year.
Rent– The compensation paid by the tenant to the landlord for use of the premises.
Rent control law– A law (usually enacted by a city, but sometimes by a county or state) that limits the amount by which a landlord may raise rents.
Security deposit– An amount of money given to the landlord by the tenant at the outset of the tenancy, to secure the tenant’s performance of certain legal obligations specified in the lease or rental agreement – such as payment of rent and cleaning the premises at termination of the tenancy.
Sub lessee– A person who subleases a tenancy from a sub lessor
sub lessor– A tenant who subleases his or her tenancy to someone else.
Tenancy in common– A form of owning property by more than one person, in which each person owns an undivided interest in the whole property. Unlike joint tenancy, the interests do not have to be equal, and upon the death of a tenant in common, his or her interest does not pass automatically to the co-tenants, but is disposed of in the same way as all other property.
Tenant– Some who enters into occupation of property with the permission of the owner.
Tenant association– Another name for a tenant union.
Tenant at will– A person who occupies property with the landlord’s permission with no clear agreement as to how long the tenant may stay. The law will usually allow either party to terminate a tenancy at will on 30 days written notice.
Tenant union– A group of tenants who organize in order to further their common interests as tenants.

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