Renter Tools / Tips on How to Protect Yourself
- Before you move in to your new place, make sure that you walk through the exact home that you’re going to rent, NOT a model. If there are any things that are wrong with the house you’ll be moving into make sure you inform the owner what they are, and that you want them fixed, before you move in.
- If, for any reason, these items are not fixed by the time that you move in, document the things that need to be repaired or replaced in writing and with photographs. Send a copy to the owner and keep a copy for yourself. These things should include any chips in the walls, broken appliances and anything in the house that looks worn or deteriorated. In the event that a deposit is held for any of these items, you now have proof that they were in existence before you moved in.
- Purchase renters insurance. You might not think that you have a great deal of stuff to cover but when you start to add it all up it will probably amount to more that you thought. Depending on the terms of the policy that you purchase, renters insurance will protect you from fire, break-ins or other disasters at a low cost.
- Depending on your lease, the owner may or may not be responsible for minor problems like leaky faucets or problems with appliances. (Make sure you ask about this before you sign the lease.
- Make sure you understand all the terms and conditions of the rental agreement before you sign it. If there is something you don’t understand, seek legal advice. Once signed, the rental agreement is a legal and binding contract.
- Always keep a copy of everything you have signed in a safe place.
If the home owner is not receptive to repairing major problems or is hesitant to meet with you for any other major dispute after you’ve moved in, make sure you take the following steps, and take them exactly in this order:
- Submit a repair request in writing.
If this is not acted upon…
- Propose mediation with the owner. There are independent agencies that will be able to hear both sides of a case and help the parties in the dispute come to a reasonable agreement.
If mediation fails to bring about a resolution…
- Seek legal advice.