Before looking at apartments or rental houses, evaluate your living needs: Number of rooms, location, distance from shopping and public transportation, price and facilities.
Friends and newspapers provide inexpensive advice. Real estate agencies can help, but may charge a fee for their services. Avoid apartment finders who charge merely for lists of vacancies that are simply taken from newspaper classified ads.
Consider the following before renting:
The Rental Application:
Your new landlord may ask you to provide credit references and a list of past landlords, addresses and your employment history, including salary.
An application fee may be charged and may be non refundable if you are not approved. At the landlords option, he may apply the application fee to your first months rent or security deposit, but it is not required by law.
Signing a Lease:
A lease between a landlord and a tenant is an oral or written contract. Your best protection is a written lease signed by both parties.
Make sure your lease contains:
A security deposit is money which actually belongs to the tenant, but is held by the landlord for protection against damages or unpaid rent.
During the first year of a lease, the amount of a security deposit cannot exceed two months rent.
At the beginning of the second year of a lease, a landlord cannot retain a security deposit of more than one month`s rent.
At the beginning of the third year of a lease, the landlord must put any security deposit over $100.00 in an interest bearing bank account.
A tenant who occupies a unit or dwelling for two or more years is entitled to interest on his security deposit, beginning with the 25th month of occupancy. The landlord must give you the interest earned by the account (minus a one percent fee which the landlord may retain for his costs) at the end of the third and each subsequent year of tenancy.
Before moving in, make a list of any existing damages and repairs that need to be made. Keep a copy of the list, give one to the landlord and attach a copy to the lease. Such records will assure that the security deposit will only be applied to damages for which you are responsible.
To have your security deposit refunded, give the landlord a forwarding address and return the keys to the property. Within 30 days after you move out the landlord must either return the security deposit or send you a list of damages, the cost of repairs and any money remaining from the security deposit.
If the landlord does not provide a written list of damages within 30 days, he may not keep any part of the security deposit. You may then:
If you are experiencing any landlordtenant problems, contact the Bureau of Consumer Protection.
If your apartment building is being converted to condominiums, the new owner/developer must give you one years written notice before you are required to move and he can not raise your rent or change the terms of your lease. If your lease is for more than one year, you may remain in your unit until the termination of your lease.
You have the first chance and exclusive rights to buy your rental unit within the first six months after your receive the conversion notice.
You can give 90 days notice and terminate your lease without penalty after receiving a conversion notice.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified landlord tenant lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact an attorney in your area from our directory to discuss your specific legal situation.