Ways You’re Violating Your Lease and Don’t Even Know It  

signing a leaseThere is a lot to read in your lease — you know it. Most likely you skimmed over the important material, such as when rent is due, when you can end the lease, etc. But, if you are like most renters, you’re violating your lease and you don’t even know it. While most landlords won’t call you on it, if they do, you could risk not only being evicted, but lose out on your security deposit.

Your Cousin Is Staying With You for a Few Weeks

Your lease most likely specifies that any guest that stays for an extended period of time must be placed on your lease. A lot of renters don’t realize that their landlord stipulates what constitutes a guest and what is considered a “tenant”.

You Hung Up Your Photographs

You wanted your rental unit to feel more like home, but any improvements or alterations could reduce your security deposit. Some leases prohibit putting any holes into the walls what-so-ever. That means even a minor change like hanging a picture could mean you’ve just violated your lease.

You Have a Home-Based Business

Perhaps you do freelance art work or you’re a writer. But, make sure your lease doesn’t say “residential” only. Because, running your own business out of your home could be a violation. In most cases, however, if the business is just you and no one else — and clients don’t enter your home — you should be alright. But, you may want to discuss the situation with your landlord to clarify it.

You Display Campaign Signs on Your Windows

You’re political and it is within your right. But, displaying those campaigning signs might violate your lease agreement. Some lease agreements directly prohibit any display on the premises that doesn’t have to do with the apartment complex. So, check your lease before proudly displaying who you will be voting for this year.

You Got a Waterbed or Fish

Most leases have specific clauses regarding waterbeds and fish tanks. They are prohibited due to the amount of damage they can cause if they were to break. Check your lease before you decide to go retro or before you get a fish as a pet.

You Got a New Car and Didn’t Tell the Landlord

If you have assigned parking stalls, it is likely you register your vehicle with the property manager. If you got a new one and didn’t tell them, you could be in violation of that rule. Always let your landlord know when you get a new vehicle, especially if it is parked in assigned parking stalls.

Jun 2014

You’ve Signed Your Lease, Now What?

a fountain pen and a signature on yellow paper. symbolic photo fYou have already found the perfect apartment and you’ve signed the paperwork. There are still a lot of things you need to consider, and time is most likely not on your side – especially if you’re moving in the next couple of weeks. So, it is time to prioritize and get certain to-do’s off your list before the moving day.

Schedule the Move

This is the first and most important thing on your to-do list. Everything will depend on when you move – utilities, etc. So, set the date and make sure you clear it with your new apartment. Some apartments don’t allow moving on certain days (such as no moving on a Sunday).

Set Up Cable

If you plan on having cable or satellite at the new apartment and it’s not included in the rent, you are going to need to set it up before you move. Some companies have a back log of up to two weeks, so now is the time to schedule. Call and schedule an appointment, but don’t have them come on moving day – the last thing you need to deal with is a cable installation while trying to unload boxes.

Don’t Forget Internet

In most cases you can get internet through your cable TV provider, but if you are doing satellite TV, you might need internet from a different company. Set up the appointment as soon as you can, since some internet providers can take days to bring out the equipment and set up your new account.

Set Up Electricity, Water and Gas

Water might be included in your monthly rent, but if it’s not, you need to call the city and let them know the water should be turned on. This might require you to go down to the city physically to fill out a form (since not all areas use online services). Also, you’ll want to start your natural gas and electricity accounts if they aren’t included in your rent.

Change Your Address

Now that you have utilities set up and out of the way, you need to change your address. Contact the Department of Motor Vehicle and change your address for your driver’s license. Not doing so could result in a fine, so do this right away. Next, contact all of your credit cards and banks to change your address. You may have to go through a verification system to change your address, which could take a few days. Last, change your address with the post office. This will automatically reroute any mail you forgot to your new address.

Moving to a new place is a lot more than just packing some boxes and scheduling a moving van. You need to be prepared for the move and that means take a few days or weeks before to get everything set up. The more you do ahead of time, the less panicked and stressed you’ll be on moving day.

Apr 2014
POSTED IN Legal Tips

To Renew or Not to Renew? Tips for Deciding If You Should Renew Your Lease

rentalsYour lease is coming to an end soon, and now you’re wondering if you should renew or not. Sometimes it’s an easy answer, but other times you’re not sure whether or not it is the right choice. If you’re on the fence as to whether or not you need to renew, use these tips to help you decide.

How’s the Rental Market?

You might want to relocate, but what are your options? The rental market is just like the housing market – has its ups and its downs. So, you might not have a lot of open apartments to choose from. If, however, there are plenty of vacancies and you have your pick of the litter, then moving somewhere new might be a good option.

What Are the Rates Like?

Rental rates can vary. Take a look at how much you’re paying now and how much you’ll pay if you move. You might be surprised at how little or how much you’re paying where you’re at now. Also, see if your landlord plans on raising your rate if you renew.

Think About Why You Want to Move

Create a list of your likes and dislikes. What reasons are motivating you to move somewhere else? Are the dislikes something you can live with or are they more severe (such as safety issues)? Some dislikes are ones you may just have to live with, such as not having an elevator.

Are You Currently Living With a Roommate?

Eventually you’ll get to a point where living with a roommate is no longer feasible. If you’re tired of your roommate situation, moving out and getting a place of your own is a viable option. But, keep in mind that if you move out and get a place of your own, you will have to pay more rent and utilities each month – so make sure there is money in your budget for that type of expense.

Do You Have Any Spare Money in the Budget?

You will pay more upfront to move no matter what. Even if you’re saving on rent, you have the costs of switching utilities, paying a new security deposit, and the cost of moving itself. So, make sure you have some spare money for a move before you even consider doing it.

On the flip side of that argument, you may have more money each month now than you did when you got your first apartment. Maybe you switched jobs or got a raise, so you can afford to move – regardless of the added costs for the month.

It is up to you whether or not it is time to renew. Just sit down and think about what you really want and see what’s right for you.

Apr 2014