If you’ve ever felt taken advantage of by your landlord or property manager, you’re not alone. While countless people manage properties for a living, a few bad apples may have soured your lived experience. Don’t let them spoil the bunch!
In this article, you’ll learn your rights as a tenant and renter. Before you even need to fight back against unfair price gouging or confrontation, prepare yourself and your lease with these helpful tips at the outset.
Consult with a Lawyer
Unfortunately, people often take these steps when they’re in a boiling pot. We recommend implementing them early as preventative measures, including speaking with a lawyer.
Know that it’s within your legal rights to bring your renter’s agreement to a lawyer or firm like zdfirm.com, and your landlord doesn’t even need to be notified. Ask your lawyer about the fairness of various fees, charges, clauses, and conditions within the contract.
Check Rental Application Fees
It’s worth looking into protected tenants’ rights within your state’s constitution. There is no federal bill of tenant’s rights, so be sure to look them up on a state-by-state basis, like this robust package from Massachusetts.
Be on the lookout for sneaky “cleaning fees” and “rental application fees” that you absolutely can push back on, with or without a lawyer’s assistance. And a small note: this won’t make you appear combative to the right landlord. Conversely, you’ll present as a person of integrity who advocates for themself – a win for everyone!
Look for Rent Increase Limits in the Lease
Rent-controlled units and apartments with rent increase limits are more common than you’d think. Every city in America must create a certain number of rent-controlled properties, making rent increase caps a common occurrence.
Check your lease before signing that dotted line to see if you are guaranteed limits on rent increases. As we saw with the “post-pandemic rent hike” as city dwellers moved back from their quarantine bubbles, it’s helpful to know when these limits have been enshrined and stabilized in your lease.
Assess How Repairs and Requests are Handled
It’s a fact of a renter’s life: repairs and requests. More often than not, you may have to call a property manager intermediary rather than relying on an informed and well-vetted handyperson.
Pay attention to how your landlord responds to and honors your requests. If they neglect to respond quickly or at all, you may be experiencing overcharges in repairs. Communication and advocacy are key here!
Talk To Your Neighbors
And one more life hack for you: neighbors. If you’re new to a building, talking to the neighbors is a foolproof method to see if you’re being overcharged. Ask those in identical or surrounding units, knowing that situations and prices may vary. Still, you’ll receive valuable intel from talking to neighbors – and now you know where to go for a cup of sugar!
Protect Your Assets
We hope these tips defend you and your loved ones from potential manipulation and that you have only good luck with landlords in the future.