Ways to Identify Irresponsible Rental Property Owners
It’s easy to see why so many renters view landlords in an antagonistic light. While some property owners are attentive to tenants’ needs and do everything in their power to retain renters, others adopt the opposite approach. In addition to making life miserable for their tenants, landlords who fall into the latter category are often guilty of numerous municipal violations, placing them at odds with local officials. Anyone looking for ways to discern responsible landlords from irresponsible ones should keep an eye out for the following signs.
Lack of Attention to Maintenance
A lack of attention to property maintenance says a number of important things about a landlord. First off, they don’t care enough about their investment to properly look after it. Secondly, they don’t care enough about tenant well-being to treat upkeep with due importance. Furthermore, depending on the scope of the maintenance issues being ignored, a landlord may be opening themselves up to legal repercussions.
If you reside in a rental property where maintenance has been allowed to fall by the wayside, get in touch with the proper authorities. An inspection by a certified professional may reveal that the landlord is guilty of various code and safety violations. Fortunately, the code enforcement process can be rather seamless in municipalities that use high-quality government software systems. Just remember – if a rental isn’t being properly maintained, you have every right to make your displeasure known.
Leases with Unclear Terms
Before proceeding to sign a lease – or any legally binding contract, for that matter – it’s in your best interest to know exactly what you’re agreeing to. For this reason, many landlords make the terms of their respective leases as clear as possible. This ensures that tenants understand exactly what’s expected of them and don’t get hit with any unexpected surprises after signing. Additionally, if there are any parts of a lease that you find confusing, a good landlord will be happy to provide clarity.
On the flipside, landlords who are less-than-trustworthy often present prospective renters with leases whose terms are extremely vague. Unsurprisingly, this type of lease tends to heavily favor landlords and subject renters to a variety of unfair – and sometimes downright illegal – terms. So, if a landlord presents you with a lease that’s severely lacking in clarity, refuses to provide satisfactory answers to questions or doesn’t offer up any kind of rental contract, it’s generally a safe bet that this person is not someone to be trusted.
Scathing Online Feedback
In the age of instant feedback, it’s become easier than ever to seek out reviews for rental properties and their respective owners. So, before committing to a lease, take some time to peruse feedback from the landlord’s previous tenants. You may come to discover that a rental property and/or its owner are not at all what they appear to be.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of places to find relevant feedback. From social media platforms to sites devoted exclusively to renter feedback, tracking down reviews should prove anything but difficult. Additionally, when making your way through reviews, keep in mind that every rental property and landlord is bound to garner a negative review or two. However, should you discover that negative reviews vastly outnumber positive ones, you want to start looking at different rentals.
Illegal Rent Increases
Depending on where you’re based, landlords may only be allowed to raise rent a certain number of times per year and by a certain amount. In many cases, tenants must also be made aware of rent increases a certain number of days before they go into effect. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that landlords in these areas always comply with these laws.
The next time you receive notice of a rent increase, take some time to research your state’s laws on the matter. Should you discover that the increase is in violation of said laws, take care to alert the proper authorities.
As any current or former renter can attest, not all landlords are equally obliging. There are good ones and there are bad ones, and your experience is liable to vary wildly from rental to rental. This is why it pays to familiarize yourself with the tenets of irresponsible landlords. By knowing what to look for, you can effectively prevent yourself from entering into a rental agreement with someone who does not have your best interest at heart.
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