Tips for Handling a Nosy Landlord

Nosy NeighborWhile you might be a renter, that doesn’t mean your landlord has the right to invade your privacy. If your property owner seems to be too interested in your business or is always showing up to check in on you, you do have options for dealing with it.

What’s the Law?

It is your rights as a tenant to have privacy. There are state laws that designate when a property owner can and cannot visit you or the property. For example, landlords cannot enter your property without your permission unless it is in an emergency — such as a reported gas leak, pipe, etc. Most states require landlords to provide at a minimum of a few hours — to a few days — notice before entering.

Discuss It Over With Your Property Manager

Some landlords don’t realize they’re coming off nosy or intrusive. Be honest and communicate with your landlord. Let them know that you feel they are entering your property too frequently or not giving you adequate notice. There may be a way to work toward a solution. While it is their job to know the law, new property owners may be unfamiliar with tenant-landlord laws. So a gentle reminder could be all it takes to get them out of your personal space.

Create a Formal Request

If speaking to your property owner in person doesn’t yield positive results, the next step may be to send in a formal request. A formal, written complaint is important for your own records too. That way if you ever have to take your property manager to court, you have documentation of their behaviors. In the letter, make sure to include the dates your landlord entered the property, how much notice they gave, and the reasons for their entrance. Send it certified mail so that you have proof of delivery.

Get Help

If after speaking to your property owner and submitting a complaint they are still violating your privacy, you may need to seek out additional help. There are resources for tenants who feel that their landlords are violating the tenant-landlord laws. Visit your local housing authority and discuss your situation. Show proof of your communications with your landlord and the violations they conducted following that. You may have to consult an attorney if you want to break your lease because of your landlord’s violations. Remember that you may have to go to court to discuss the violations; therefore, have documented proof of how your landlord was behaving and also a copy of your lease — in case there are special stipulations listed in the lease.

Whatever you do, don’t move out without discussing the case with an attorney. Moving out without notice could result in your property owner suing you for violation of your lease and withholding your security deposit.

Jun 2014

Pool Etiquette For Renters  

Modern Apartments With Swimming PoolsJust because you have a pool at your apartment doesn’t mean you can go wild. The heat outside certainly makes you rush over to the pool to enjoy, but before you do, do you know the proper etiquette? It’s likely your pool already has some ground rules, but there are also etiquette rules most renters aren’t aware of. So, to avoid any embarrassments or confrontations with other renters, make sure you follow these rules too.

Know the Rules Already in Place

Your apartment already has some rules. Check your lease or look for rules posted outside the pool area and always adhere to those. Not listening could result in you losing pool privileges. If you have guests sharing the pool with you, make sure they follow those rules too. It is your responsibility to ensure everyone that enters the pool area under your name follows the rules.

Always Clean Up After Yourself

If you bring snacks and drinks to the pool area (and it’s allowed), make sure you clean up after yourself. That means picking up your trash and throwing it out, cleaning up any spills and not leaving crumbs for ants to find. If there is a poolside grill, clean it out so it’s ready for the next person.

Be Courteous with Sunscreen

We don’t mean share your sunscreen, just remember there are other people at the pool when you put it on. Spray-on sunscreen, while convenient, can get everywhere. Make sure no one is standing by you or move to an area of the pool that you won’t spray others while spraying yourself. Even better, spray it on at home before even coming out to the pool.

Don’t Give Out Your Key

The key to your pool area is your responsibility; therefore don’t give it out to anyone. Also, sharing the key to public areas like this could be a violation of your lease and could result in you being evicted. If friends or family want to go to the pool, go with them.

Make Sure Your Kids Aren’t Bugging Others

Your kids are there to have fun, and they should. But make sure that fun isn’t at the expense of others. If your kids are running around, splashing or screaming, make sure they quiet down and respect others who are there with them.

Pool Attire Should Be Tasteful

String bikinis might show off your figure, but they could offend others at the pool. Make sure to keep the pool attire tasteful and appropriate for all ages.

Keep Music Low

You can listen to music, but keep the volume low or wear headphones so that you don’t disrupt your other pool-goers.

Jun 2014

The Responsibilities of Your Landlord

Couple Get a Key to a New HomeRenters usually have the disadvantage, especially because they’re locked into a contract. But, renters often don’t know what responsibilities their property owner has — and what responsibilities they aren’t holding to.  While most landlords fulfill their duties, others bank on the fact their renters won’t know the law. So, before you rent, familiarize yourself with the legal responsibilities of your landlord.

Landlords are Required to Provide a Safe, Quiet Environment to Tenants

Most states require landlords to provide safe, quiet environments for their tenants. This is implied in a lease agreement, even if the lease agreement doesn’t straight out state that. That is why landlords often have quiet hours and noise restrictions in their lease agreements. In terms of safety, landlords have a few requirements that must be met, such as providing smoke detectors, having locks on the doors and performing background checks on all employees and potential renters.

Repair Requests Must Be Responded To

It is the landlord’s job to make sure their units are well maintained. That means responding to repair requests in a timely manner. While every state has their own definition for what “timely manner” means, it usually means quick. This is especially true for major repairs that could be potential life hazards.

Your Security Deposit Is Stored

You might hand over a check to the landlord, but security deposits aren’t just deposited into the bank and used for whatever. Instead, states require landlords to store them in a separate account so that they can be refunded promptly. Some states may even require a landlord to store them in an interest-bearing account.

Laws and Responsibilities Vary By State

While there are general laws for most states, the responsibilities and laws for landlords can vary. In California, you can find the landlord responsibilities regarding repairs on the California Department of Consumer Affairs site.

Check Your Lease

Always read your lease thoroughly and see what laws are listed in your lease. Most landlords include applicable tenant/landlord laws and responsibilities. Also, read your lease carefully to ensure you understand:

  • How repair requests are submitted and how long the property owner has to respond to them.
  • How and when your deposit is due, when it will be refunded, etc.
  • How your rental payments are handled, when they are due, etc.
  • Your responsibilities for maintaining your apartment. Some landlords require cleaning and other routine maintenance performed by their tenants — and you will only know that if you read your lease.


Jun 2014

Things to Consider When Looking for Kid-Friendly Apartments

Happy Family At HomeNot all apartment complexes are kid-friendly. In fact, some are designed for young adults or single individuals. Finding a kid-friendly apartment is a big priority when you’re relocating. You need an apartment that suits a growing family, but also provides you with a safe environment to raise your children. When looking for apartments, there are some things that are better for families with children. Consider these tips first for finding the perfect kid-friendly unit.

Safety First

It’s not just the apartment that has to be safe, but the neighborhood too. Will your child be walking home from school? Do they have to cross through dangerous parts of town or busy streets to get home? Also, check for safety features at the apartment complex, like a gated pool to prevent drowning, a well-constructed balcony, etc. There should be common areas for your children to play, but they should be childproof and safe.

Proximity to Schools and Physicians

How close is the apartment to your child’s school? If they get sick, will they have a long drive to the physician’s office? You need an apartment that is close to your work, of course, but also close enough to school and the doctor’s office.

Kid-Friendly Amenities to Look For

There are some amenities that make apartment living with kids a little easier. Some amenities you may want to look for include:

  • Swimming pool (with gate)
  • Playground
  • Play area
  • Closeness to library or park
  • Daycare center or closeness to a daycare center

Neighbor Considerations

While you cannot control your neighbors in an apartment complex, you can talk with your apartment manager about the type of neighbors you will have. You want people who also have kids. If your apartment complex has only a couple of families, it may be difficult to keep your neighbors happy or understanding at the noises your children are likely to make. Stick with complexes that have a lot of children and families present if you can.

Finding an apartment with kid’s means putting some of your own needs aside and making sure the needs of your children are met. While you might not see apartment living as a permanent thing, you still need your children to be safe, comfortable and happy while you are living in an apartment. By taking your time to find a kid-friendly unit, the entire family can enjoy the lease term. 

Jun 2014

Why Renting is Better Than Buying

FirstTimeRookieMistakes_0326Most people want to own a place of their own someday, but not everyone feels the same about home ownership. Depending on your lifestyle, age and the point you are in your life, renting could be a much better option than buying your own place. For some people, the benefits of renting outweigh the benefits of owning a home. Here are some reasons renting could be a better choice.

Options are Unlimited

There are usually more options for renters than homebuyers. That is because you’ll have multiple vacancies in apartment complexes, different types of units to consider, etc. — all in the same area. If you’re looking to buy a home, your options are not as open and you’re limited to what the market has to offer.

You Might Pay Less Renting

When you buy, you build equity, but you often have other costs too. Renters don’t have to deal with the costs of homeownership, such as maintenance or repairs. Some apartments pay a few utilities as part of your rent too — so you could save even more.

Also, a renter may have to pay a security deposit, but it isn’t even close to what a buyer has to pay in a down payment on their home.

Relocating is a Breeze

Renters have lease terms, but these are six to 12 months long. So if a renter wants to relocate, they can give notice to their property owners and find somewhere else. A homeowners can’t just pick up and move when they want. Instead,they need to list their home — and hopefully have enough equity to not lose money on the sale — wait for it to sell and then relocate.

All of the Work is Done by Someone Else

Homeowners have to do it all — repairs, keeping up the lawn, etc. All a renter is responsible for is their own unit. The property managers handle the lawn care, cleaning the swimming pool, maintaining the fitness center, etc.

It’s Easier to Meet People

Apartments are closer together, have more community areas, and make it easier for neighbors to meet. While you could meet a next door neighbor in a home you own, it’s hard to get to know the whole neighborhood.

You Get Perks

Renters get amenities that homeowners have to pay extra to add to their own home. Some of those can include a swimming pool, business center, community center, fitness center, private parking, event room, playground, dog walk area, barbecue grill, free Wi-Fi, etc.

Jun 2014