Renting

Signs You Are Renting From A Slumlord

Before committing to a lease, keep on the lookout for these possible problems from my landlord. The location and layout might be the most important factors to your renting hunt, but don't overlook the landlord most importantly. Since they run the show, having a bad landlord experience can become a nightmare. Pay attention to these warning signs before you sign any lease.

Slumlord signs

  1. Common areas of a building are in bad shape

Having a smelly home, cracks throughout, and a nasty laundry room are perfect warning signs of what is happening throughout the whole house. If the public places of a building or not maintain, the individual rooms won't be either.

2.Individual units aren't in good shape either

Not maintaining a property is a huge red flag. If you're checking it out and notice a bunch of little things wrong, there's probably a few bigger things wrong too. This should tell you the absolute minimum is used in keeping up the living spaces. 

  1. Can't put your finger on the landlord

If the landlord almost appears more as a magician, by not being able to get a hold of them, there's a good warning sign. It almost cannot get any worse than needing your landlord to fix a maintenance problem and not be around to make the fox happen. 

  1. A confusing lease, or no lease at all

Having a lease that is unquestionably clear is helpful if you want to avoid unmet expectations, and problems down the road. A couple details it should be laid out clearly besides the obvious amount and time rent is due.

You will want to know the terms of the lease termination, occupancy limits,...

How to Rent With Poor Credit

Trying to get your first apartment? Having poor or no credit won’t be your only hurdle to clear. Even with less-than-desirable credit, you can still become an attractive candidate for your first apartment. Landlords look for more than just credit scores, and they may even offset your bad credit score.

Excellent rental history

One of the most important things landlords look at is your rental history. Considering you are trying to find your first apartment, you will unlikely have a rental history. If this is the case, you will want to add references such as past employers, teachers, etc. who can vouch for your personal character.

If you must have rental history for a certain place you want, you need to establish it. Start by paying rent to your parents, or try moving in with a friend and rent out a room in their house. This shows landlords you are dependable, and have shown you pay your rent in full, and on time. Make sure to get receipts, or have some form of proof that you have paid rent.

Make bank

If you are lucky enough to have a high salary, your landlord very well could forgive your poor credit score. In most markets, an income of $48,000 a year would be quite sufficient. In order to prove to your landlord what you make, show them your paystubs over the past year.  

The savings

Sometimes making bank won’t be enough for some landlords when you have poor credit. If you have a lot of debt, it can quickly grab most of your monthly income. The next best thing you can do is show your landlord your bank account, proving you have a pile of cash sitting there. They will want to see several months’ worth of rent saved up. Upon knowing you have cash, they will feel more confident that you pay rent, and on time.

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How to NOT Break Your Lease

No matter what your reason may be, breaking a lease is always a grave and nerve-wracking decision. Before you throw your money for last month’s rent, you should explore every option with the property owner.

Start with a conversation with them

If you are displeased with your rental, or you must leave for personal reasons, don’t assume your hands are tied. Call your landlord, and set up a time to meet with them. If you prefer to do it online, as millennials do, get over it and find your courage and go talk to them in person. Find your words carefully and let them know why you must change your living situation.

Before you meet with your landlord, take a good hard look at your situation and see if you absolutely have to break your lease.

If your issues concern a troublesome neighbor, or a roommate is leaving and rent is too expensive, your landlord will probably work with you to keep you there and settle your concerns. Your landlord wants to keep you (assuming you are a good tenant) so they will do what they can to keep you in their property.

You have options

After you have told your landlord your problems and moving is the best course of action, it’s time to consider your options. Your options will be dependent on the size of the management company, as well as the terms of the lease.

One option is to simply up-size or down-size into a different unit in the complex. This can be a great option if you need more space, or if your roommate is leaving.

You can also check to see if they have a sister company, and see if they have any units available. Management companies often times have their sister-companies in other states, so you could end up transferring.

Don’t be alarmed if they still come with fees to transfer units, or complexes. It should all be written in your lease.

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How Landlords are Fighting Back Against Terrible Tenants

There are plenty of stories about crappy landlords who don’t hold up their end of the deal, and just as many horror stories about disastrous tenants. Social media happens to be the medium each side uses to gripe and complaining about the others behavior. More often than one would believe it is the renter who is causing the trouble.

There’s a new Facebook page called “Disgusting Renters” which gives property owners a place to vent their frustrations about their gross tenants. Some of the time their properties look like a garbage truck blew up inside and others a bomb went off and left only the structure intact.

There are pictures and videos of all the evidence left behind. Some of it isn’t for the squeamish as it can be quite gross.

The page was created in April and already has more than 2,500 likes and plenty of video posts. Some of the highlights are below, and beware, it’s meant to gross you out.

  • “A photo of a kitchen with a recliner in the middle of it, amid a several-foot-high selection of snack bags, empty soda cans, and even less palatable trash”.
  • “A picture, simply titled, “Wow,” showing a former yard taken over by any number of coolers, construction pails, and what appears to be a partly functioning aquarium”.
  • “A bare mattress atop a soiled wooden floor with this description: Bird feces all over the floor. The smell is horrendous.”
  • “ An artfully shot photography of hundreds of roaches swarming over a bathroom wall and toilet”

The page’s creator, a landlord in Florida, had first-hand experience when the mobile home they rented out was trashed by a family with kids. They left the home infested with fleas, trash everywhere, and even feces. It was eventually gutted and sold for a $25,000 loss. It left such a sour taste in their mouth, they are finished with renting.

He urges other landlords...

Cleaning Hacks: How to get Your Security Deposit Back

Moving is always stressful, and wondering if you are going to get your security deposit back is one of the worst things to worry about. If you’ve been a good tenant and left the place like you found it you will probably get it back. Sometimes there are things you are responsible for like the typical wear and tear, like nickel sized holes in the walls, scratches on the floor, etc.

In order to not pay for damages that you didn’t do, do a little prep work before you move in. Request an inspection with the landlord noting every little scratch you see. Doing this will make it known what was already there, and you’ll get a feel for how strict the landlord is.

Here are some other helpful hacks to get your security deposit back.

Buff out scuff marks on the floor – Find yourself a tennis ball and a stick, and attach the ball to the end of the stick and start rubbing all marks on the floor and watch them fade. Don’t be afraid to use some muscle here, you won’t hurt the floor.

Get rid of mildew on grout – Most apartment complexes will take care of requests, so if your tile has a shade of green to it, ask them to clean it. If you fail to do anything about it, and it grows worse during your stay, they might charge you for it when you decide to move out. The best way to get rid of dirty grout is to soak a piece of cotton coil in bleach and scrub the grout. After a gentle scrub, leave the cotton on the grout overnight and it will come up with the cotton when you peel it off the next morning.

Repairing holes in walls – If you’ve mounted TVs, pictures, or anything with some weight there will most likely be holes in the walls. GO to the hardware store; grab some lightweight spackle and a putty knife. Put ample amounts of spackle on the hole and...

Negotiating with Landlords in Winter

Winter time usually becomes a renters market. As the temperature drops, so does your competition for available units. Few people are going to leave their lease to go look for a new one during the winter months, making this a renters market.

If you are looking to rent this month, you should try to negotiate the best deal you can for yourself. Here are six strategies to improve your living situation.

Use the cold to get a good deal

Because it is a renter’s market, this means you have more leverage while bargaining with your landlord. Landlords usually lower their prices after their property has been empty for three months. Keep an eye out for the units that sit empty, and reach out to the landlord once it’s evident they’ve been empty.

Grab a temporary discount

This is a national fact: renters want to pay as little as possible, and landlords always want the highest margins they can get. Whatever you do, don’t ask them to negotiate rent, because they won’t go for it. They will see you as trying to devalue their investment. Other terms like early payments could be negotiated.

Get a longer lease period

If you know you will be in this spot for longer than the normal 12 month lease, it’s well within the possibility to lock in a payment without having to worry about if it will ever increase.

If your lease ends at the end of the year, and you know what you want to renew, ask them for a 16, or 18 month lease. The odds of this being granted to you depends if your payment is on time. This way their place becomes free again in the middle of the summer, and new tenants are likely to move in as opposed to winter.

Let your perfect record do the talking

If your renting track...

Apartment Amenities You Don't Need

Searching for an apartment with the luxury amenities is not only a waste of time, but a bigger waste of money. You probably got super excited when you saw this complex has a gym, pool, washer and dryer combo, and a game center, but with the amount of time you will actually be using these things doesn’t compare to what it could cost you. Here are the seven top amenities that can end up biting you in the end.

Outdoor pool

Pools only work in Florida because the rest of the country has only a couple months in which they can use it. You’ll have four months tops to enjoy something you’ll be paying for all year. There may be a year here-and -there when summer ends and you realize you never even got in. There’s also a good chance this pool will be pretty puny, which isn’t conducive to a ton of fun.

Community deck

One giant deck serves a place for everyone to share a place to grill out, read the morning paper, and watch the sun go down. As great as all this sounds, the entire complex will be sharing it also, meaning there will be a battle for space. We all know the one guy who treats communal spaces as their own, and is anal about it, so keep him in mind thinking this is so great. There could also big crowds a few times a week who aren’t exactly quiet. If you are a social butterfly this could work for you, if not, you won’t be fond of this area.

Gym

Gyms are tricky because there are two sides to this story. Yes there’s a gym right below you and you’re all out of excuses to not workout. The other side is it’s tiny, and packed with other sweaty people. Chances are it doesn’t have a lot of little things we take for granted at a regular gym, like a kettlebell. The good news is you don’t have to pay for your membership...