When needing your properties to be sold, finding the right real estate agent is very important. This will determine the success of the over-all transaction. You sure want to make the most out of the deal, right?
Given that more people rent their dwelling now than any other time in the last 50 years, landlords hold an immense power in the current economy.
From added fees, taxes, to apartment utilities, landlords often attempt to pass their costs to their tenants to save money and increase profits. However, this isn’t always legal and often is unethical, especially if it deceives their tenants from paying what they assumed they would be paying.
Here are three questions to ask yourself if your bill seems higher than it should be.
1. Did You Agree to a Fixed Rate?
Your lease should have laid out exactly how much you’ll be paying every single month. Even the most stripped down lease will tell you what you’ve agreed to pay and under what circumstances.
If you got your rent bill and see all kinds of charges and fees, you might have to check whether or not this is legal in your region. Anyone who signs a lease agreeing to pay a fixed rate is only required to pay that rate. Landlords who ask for more are in violation of the law.
Pay the fixed rate that you agreed to. If you have time, seek out a lawyer who can help you. Ask around and look on message boards to see if this is standard or not.
2. What’s the Breakdown?
Check out the actual breakdown of your fees. In some cities and regions, tenants pay water bills on top of cable fees, gas bills, and electricity. In other regions, it’s standards to roll them all into the cost of rent.
New York City rents are often called some of the most expensive in the U.S. However, in most NYC apartments, heat and hot water are required to be provided by landlords no matter what. There are standard temperature requirements and calendar dates that they have to have heat running during.
Depending on where you live, those utilities should be rolled into your rent, not added on top of.
3. What’s Legally Required for Owners to Pay?
See what is legally required for your landlord to pay. If you’re being charged for trash fees, your landlord may be violating the law. Charging their carefully chosen tenants for something that they should deal with is unethical and should be reported.
Call 311 or your local tenant protection services if your landlord violates the law. They must be held accountable. You could be a hero to many of your neighbors for blowing the whistle on your landlord.
Never assume that you’re the only one being hit by a certain fee or an added cost. It’s likely that other people are dealing with it too.
Apartment Utilities Might Not Be Your Problem
In some areas of the country, apartment utilities are the domain of the owner of the dwelling. Rather than having tenants pay, cities and townships hold owners responsible for the costs incurred. If your rent bill seems higher than it should be, ask questions.
If you’re considering turning your home into an Airbnb, check out this guide to ensure you don’t become a bad landlord yourself.
Even though America is largely a country of homeowners, over 75 million households still live in rented homes. While homeownership offers many freedoms (like you can live with as many pets as the property can accommodate), renting comes with restrictions.
But, when do these renter restrictions cross the line? Did you know that as a renter, you have rights entrenched in law?
This article is all about renters’ rights. A decent understanding of these rights will enable you to make the most of living in a rented property.
You’ve probably come across this statement in your rental or lease application forms. And rightly so, there are legitimate reasons a landlord can deny your application. Common reasons include:
No verifiable source of income
However, it’s illegal for a landlord to reject your application because of your race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, age, national origin, and disability (physical or mental). This is why if you’re disapproved, you have a right to know the reason, and the reason must be satisfactory.
The Right to a Habitable Home
Are you currently living in a rented home with exposed electrical wires, leaky plumbing, extensive pest infestation or in any other condition that makes the place inhabitable?
If the home ticks any of these characteristics, your right to a habitable home is possibly being violated.
It’s a legal requirement for landlords to ensure the units they are putting up for rent meet the standards of habitability. In the event that a house develops inhabitable conditions after you move in, you have a right to landlord repairs – at no cost to you.
The Right to Privacy
As a homeowner, no one can just storm into your residence and invade your privacy. Even law enforcement officers looking to search your property must have a search warrant– unless probable cause is established.
As a tenant, though, it’s easy to feel that the landlord can barge in at any time. They own the property, after all.
The good news is your right to privacy is spelled out in the Fourth Amendment, as well as in most state and local housing laws. Yes, your landlord can enter your property, but that’s after giving you notice beforehand. Still, they can only enter to inspect the property for structural issues, or when there is a fire or other emergency.
Many states give landlords the right to ask for a security deposit from tenants. The amount, though, can vary depending on the local laws, length of the lease, and whether you’re moving in with a pet(s).
When you move out, the landlord returns your deposit, less the amount used to fix damages, repaint and clean the house. However, security deposit disputes are very common.
Sometimes landlords won’t return the deposit, other times they return less than a tenant feels justifiable. And other times a tenant parts with more cash, often in cases where the current deposit cannot adequately cover the needed repairs.
As a tenant, know that you have a right to get your deposit back as soon as possible, usually within 30 days. If there’s a dispute, you can take it to a small claims court.
Understanding Renters’ Rights – An Attorney Will Help
While reading this article is a good place to begin in your quest to know your renters’ rights, it’s barely enough. Like most legal issues, landlord-tenant law can be complex.
When you’re looking to rent, or you feel that your rights have been violated, it’s essential to get a landlord-tenant lawyer. This professional will shed more light on your situation.
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