(Chapter 2 shows how.) But make sure you do your essential negotiating before you sign a lease or rental agreement. You’ll also find more useful books, software, online services, and downloadable forms. Janet Portman joined Nolo in 1994 and is the Executive Editor. Reviewed in the United States on July 3, 2014. Ask if tenants seem to stay more than a year—if so, that’s the mark of a well-run building. Your smartphone may have everything you need. Every Tenant's Legal Guide. This book is no exception. No_Favorite. To make this simple, we’ve prepared a Rental Priorities Worksheet, shown below. Nolo's Executive Editor, Janet Portman oversees editorial work on all Nolo books, articles, and websites. Here’s our approach to finding a rental house or apartment you can afford and will enjoy living in: Step 1: Firmly establish your priorities—such as maximum rent, desired location, and number of bedrooms—before you start looking. In many cities, Craigslist is your best resource. All positive reviews › British Gal. Once you find a place you like, you’re part, but not all, of the way home. We’d like to move within the next few months, but definitely by April 1 when Hannah starts her new job in New Brunswick. Especially in college towns and popular neighborhoods, apartments and rental houses move fast. (But try to overlook the sloppiness of a current tenant. Something we hope you'll especially enjoy: FBA items qualify for FREE Shipping and Amazon Prime. There are also many websites that offer national listings, including: Many of these sites provide more than apartment listings, offering information and links covering renters’ insurance, moving tips, and more. Craigslist offers this service, and their pages are chock-full of posts that run the gamut from sophisticated to self-defeating. This comprehensive website has hundreds of thousands of renter reviews of individual apartments and property managers nationwide. There's a problem loading this menu right now. Remember, however, you can always rent furniture yourself if you can’t find a furnished apartment—in fact, it might be cheaper. Walk, drive, and/or bike around the neighborhood. The landlord can make copies and mail, email, or fax them to the sources he wishes to speak with. Check for any consumer complaints, and avoid paying any hefty fees without thoroughly checking out a company and its services. Distance to nearest highway: Less than 5-minute drive. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness. Don’t let your interest in a particular rental go too far without running a Google search on the owner and/or property manager, and even the address. Or maybe a deck, patio, or balcony ranks high on your wish list. If there have been criminal incidents on the property, find out what kind and when, and what steps have been taken to provide reasonable safety to tenants and guests. To convince the landlord to screen you now (and to allay his fears that he would be wasting his time because you’ll probably end up living elsewhere before he has a vacancy), assure him that you are in no hurry and are not considering other properties. When choosing a property management company, follow our advice on real estate brokers (discussed above). Every Tenant's Legal Guide, 2nd Ed The only book of its kind, Every Tenant's Legal Guide gives you the legal and practical information you need (plus dozens of sample letters and forms) to find and keep a great home and … From how to find a tenant to what to do once they leave, it is a practical and thorough legal analysis of what Minnesota landlords need to know about complying with the relevant federal, state and local laws. To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. They’re geared to these twin goals: With these goals in mind, design your ad as follows: Use a new and dedicated email account for your posting. In talking with your past landlord or manager, prospective landlords will ask the following types of questions: We hope you enjoyed this free chapter. If you decide to offer a reward, such as a $50 restaurant gift certificate to the person who finds you the apartment you end up renting, mention this in your apartment-hunting note. Keep in mind that even with your consent to a reference check, you cannot force a prior landlord or an employer to provide information. Stewart writes and edits books on landlord-tenant law, real estate, and other consumer issues. You might just get a good lead on someone who’s planning to move soon. Get early editions of papers (for example, Sunday papers are available late Friday night in some areas) and start calling as soon as possible to get a jump on the competition. If you’re completely unfamiliar with the area you’re moving to, you’re at an obvious and serious disadvantage —you simply don’t have the basic information normally considered essential to locating a good place in a congenial location at a fair price. One of the worst—and most costly—mistakes you can make is to sign a lease or put down a hefty deposit at the end of a long, frustrating day of apartment-hunting, only to realize later that the place is completely unsuitable. Check for dirt, mildew, and signs of insects or rodents. If you are disabled and have special needs, and want a rental that is already compatible with your needs, mark these as priorities. (Chapter 4 covers security deposits.) The Nolo website includes a downloadable copy of the Rental Priorities Worksheet. Special offers and product promotions. Learn your rights―whether it comes to pets, guests, deposits, or privacy―including how to: While we’d all like quiet, considerate neighbors, you may prefer a building with certain types of tenants—for example, mainly seniors, college students, or families with children. Any activities that spell “property damage” or “party animal” may backfire. Hopefully, the wording on the form will remind (or instruct) both the reference and the inquiring landlord that only tenant-related questions should be asked. It should be able to provide data for individual schools and districts, including academic test scores, enrollment figures, racial and ethnic information, and even dropout rates. It may also provide information on rentals in the area (or you can contact fellow alumni for leads). Example: Nancy and her daughter rented an apartment from Lester. She successfully argued a case before the California Supreme Court. $34.99 Craigslist is enormously popular in the hundreds of cities it serves, and is the best place to begin your housing search, whether on your computer (www.craigslist.org) or via an app on your smart phone. How much information can you expect to learn from your landlord and from law enforcement? Even though I could afford the place he felt like I didn't deserve a home because I'm transgender. She takes pride in writing books for both landlords and tenants, without bias. Good lighting is especially important in common areas. Consent to Background and Reference Check, Agreement Regarding Tenant Improvements to Rental Unit, Typical Provisions in Leases and Rental Agreements, Late Charges and Discounts for Early Payments, Negotiating Partial or Delayed Rent Payments, Talking the Landlord Out of a Rent Increase, Interest on Deposits and Separate Accounts, Kinds of Discrimination Prohibited by Federal Laws, Kinds of Discrimination Prohibited by State and Local Law, Clarifying Important Terms of the Tenancy, Using Email or Text Messages for Notice or a Letter of Understanding, Tenant Rights to Use Airbnb and Similar Vacation Rental Services, Your Repair and Maintenance Responsibilities, What to Do If the Landlord Won't Make Repairs, Getting the Landlord to Make Minor Repairs, Improvements That Become Part of the Property, Improving Your Rental Unit Without Enriching Your Landlord, The Landlord's Basic Duty to Keep You Safe, Illegal Activity on the Property and Nearby, Retaliation and Other Illegal Tenancy Terminations, How to Stay When Your Landlord Wants You Out, If the Landlord Sells or Goes Out of Business, Suing Your Landlord in Small Claims Court, If Your Deposit Doesn't Cover What You Owe, Other Violations of the Lease or Rental Agreement, Violations of Your Legal Responsibilities as a Tenant, Stopping Eviction by Filing for Bankruptcy, State Rules on Notice Required to Change or Terminate a Month-to-Month Tenancy, State Laws in Domestic Violence Situations, State Laws on Rent Withholding and Repair and Deduct Remedies, State Laws on Landlord's Access to Rental Property, State Laws on Handling Abandoned Property, State Laws Prohibiting Landlord Retaliation, State Laws on Termination for Nonpayment of Rent, State Laws on Termination for Violation of Lease, State Laws on Unconditional Quit Terminations, List of Forms Available on the Nolo Website, setting clear priorities before you start looking for a place to rent, using a variety of resources to tap into available rentals, and. Nancy sued the offender and Lester, on the grounds that he knew about and failed to disclose a dangerous condition—namely, the presence of a known molester. If you know the exact area you want, list it. Seems reasonable though I still wish they focused more on specific rules. If you hear about a rental unit that seems likely, please phone us at 609-555-3789 (home). Describe your job, your interests, and how you spend your free time carefully. Think again. Do this at night (ideally, by car and with a friend) as well as the daytime. If you’re in a hurry to move, one sensible alternative is to leave your furniture in storage and stay in a hotel or take a short-term furnished rental. Even if you are going to be late pay your rent, if your landlord will take it late. If you know people who live or work near where you want to live, ask them for leads. I purchased many products from amazon, the book arrived quickly and was in pristine condition. Marcia Stewart writes and edits books on landlord-tenant law, real estate, small business, and other consumer issues. What type of search will work best for you will also depend on a number of factors, most importantly where you want to live and whether you want a lease for a year or more or prefer a month-to-month rental agreement. The state versions typically require certain convicted sexual offenders to register with local law enforcement officials, who keep a database on their whereabouts. Local online services may also be available, particularly in large urban areas, such as Apartable.com in New York City and San Francisco or Westside Rentals in Southern California. If you have a large dog or want room for a garden or for kids to play, a fenced-in yard will be important. Yet many people make bad choices—spending too much money; picking the wrong location, landlord, or neighbors; or settling on a place that’s too small, dreary, noisy, unsafe, or in bad shape. Although you cannot count on your landlord for a full answer to your questions, you may be able look online for help. Also, see Chapter 2 for information on disclosures landlords must tell prospective tenants, such as the presence of lead-based paint in the rental unit. Banks and other lenders must file these notices, in the courthouse of the county in which the property is located, when the owner has failed to make payments on a loan or mortgage for a specified number of months (two is common). Joining Nolo was a natural next step after the public defender’s office. While that might be fine with you (maybe you even hope to do the same), you may not want to live someplace where lots of different people are coming and going. Apply the rules from the book, you'll be happy and won't regret it. The Book on Managing Rental Properties: A Proven System for Finding, Screening, and... Every Californian's Guide To Estate Planning: Wills, Trust & Everything Else. 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