We’re gonna be talking about something that most of you have likely already done or going to be doing very soon, which is renting your house or apartment,
Renting is obviously a great option, especially if you’re just starting out just out of college and are not in any position to be buying a home. But renting is also a power dynamic, which can often put the renter at a disadvantage, especially if they don’t know their rights. So everyone’s bound to make a few mistakes when they first start out.
For example, when I first started renting, I didn’t take photos of the unit and I also didn’t ask for a receipt for the first and last month’s rent. But you should always do this.
Even though you’re likely to make a few small mistakes like that there are definitely ways to protect yourself against the bigger ways you might get screwed over.
The unfortunate truth is that a lot of people in the renting world do not have the best intentions and are looking out for themselves and their money. So these are the top five ways that you might get screwed over when renting an apartment. The purpose of this quick blog post is to help you!
Number one is landlords overcharging or hiding certainties: So in nearly every rental situation, you’re going to have to put some money down up front. This could be anything from the first and last month’s rent security deposit, to other fees.
First and foremost, you want to make sure that all the fees that you’re paying are legal ones that your landlord can actually charge you. In an extremely competitive rental environment like NYC it’s not uncommon for landlords to charge exorbitant and even illegal fees because they know the market is so competitive.
Make sure that you’re clear on what is and isn’t refundable what you can expect to get back when you move out.
You have every right to ask for receipts and documentation of every payment that you’re making. If you’re working with a broker l, and therefore paying a broker’s fee, remember that that fee is often negotiable and should always at least be asked about.
Number two is the landlord or management company being dishonest about damages. It’s extremely important when you move into a new place to take photos. Ideally, time stamped photos of the state of the apartment when you moved into it. This is especially important if there are any damages or repairs that need to be made or old fixtures that may soon break.
You must keep a record of these photos because IF IT ever comes down to your word, versus your landlord’s on who damaged what, you would be surprised how many landlords will lie. The landlord will insist that you caused damages. They will keep your deposit, and you’ll have to take them to court.
In an ideal world, you would never move into a place that has outstanding repairs to be done. But sometimes you can’t avoid it. What you must do in that situation is have a written record, where you tell your landlord that you demand those repairs be made along with photographic evidence that they were there.
It may never become an issue.
But if it ever does you need to be protected.
Number three is having ineffective management or unreliable landlord. As a renter, you’re typically not on the hook to pay for repairs needed in your place if the landlord’s job to make sure that the building and the apartment is both safe and comfortable to live in. If you have a lazy, slow, unreliable, landlord it means that those essential repairs are not getting made.
Depending on where you live there are often renter’s rights in place, legally speaking, that allow you to withhold rent payment if essential repairs are not being made. Another thing that landlords are responsible for is giving you back your security deposit once you move out if there were no damages in the apartment that were your fault, depending on where you live there.
Your landlord has to pay you back this deposit in a timely fashion, and this should also be outlined in your lease when it comes to your rent each month, as well as your deposits.
About any issues in the apartment should be happening from day one via email or snail mail.
Now, for example, if you come to a time when you need to break your lease because of issues in the apartment, your landlord can easily withhold your deposit. If you do not have written proof from day one that you’ve been demanding repairs be made its up to you to prove that your landlord violated the terms of your lease. Otherwise, you have essentially no recourse.
Many people have made the mistake before of doing all of my complaining about an apartment issue via phone. And then when the time came to request the deposit back – there’s no proof.
Number five is having shady roommates. Of course, Landlords can try to screw you over from time to time, but it’s not only them that could do damage. It’s also roommates you’re moving in with remains that you don’t know.
We all want to assume the best in people. But the truth is that renting is often an extremely imbalanced power dynamic in which everyone involved is just trying to save a buck. Sometimes you look out and get a great landlord or great roommates. But sometimes you can end up in a really messed up situation because you didn’t protect yourself. So before you go into any rental situation, know your rights and be prepared to fight for them.
If you’re looking for an apartment for rent in NYC, consider viewing some of our listings today!