Plenty of homeowners transition into rental homes and apartments because of work or retirement. Some use rentals temporarily while waiting for the completion of construction on their new home or while searching for a house in a new geographic location. No matter your reason for picking a residential rental property for your next big move, it’s critical that you take time to make certain that the rental is right for you and your family, if applicable. Far too often, homeowners discover after moving that they’ve chosen a nightmare property. In many cases, the real estate agent or landlord failed to disclose, accidentally or on purpose, problems with the property or neighborhood. Consider these three all-too-common rental property problems:
– Serious safety concerns
Landlords are supposed to disclose lead paint before a tenant signs the lease. Sadly, some owners withhold the information until the last minute and allow their new tenants to move in before signing. After all, how many people have the time or money to walk away after they’ve lugged everything they own from one location to another? Other health and safety concerns include leaky ceilings hidden by paint, mold inside of walls and crawl spaces, wall gaps that allow particles of torn fiberglass or loose mineral wool insulation into the interior air and faulty electrical wiring. Some owners also do little to deal with disease-carrying mice and other pests like termites and roaches.
– Disruptive loud noises
Sometimes a landlord, property manager or real estate agent doesn’t warn a potential tenant about noise problems and even arranges to show a rental during times when the location is quiet. Potential noise sources include airplanes, trains, street traffic congestion and neighbors with booming car radios, motorcycles or all-terrain vehicles. You might also have to deal with other types of noisy neighbors. For example, first-floor apartment dwellers are often told not to worry about overhead noise and then discover that their apartment has no soundproofing and their neighbors have loud parties or children who run, jump and scream a lot.
– Inadequate repair solutions
A landlord, property manager or realtor might reassure a renter that any maintenance problems noticed during a showing will be fixed by the time the tenant moves in or shortly afterward. The renter might not experience any other problems with the property, but then the responsible party never makes the repairs. In many cases, the landlord or property manager is always available on the day that the rent is due but rarely for maintenance calls. If they do stop by, they might only perform a brief inspection and then act like the problem isn’t severe enough for immediate repair.
Don’t Settle for the Nightmare
Whatever the reason for your move, you should never sign a lease agreement if you feel that the landlord, manager or realtor has been less than truthful about the property. You definitely shouldn’t sign if you notice serious health and safety problems. The best way to avoid future headaches is to thoroughly inspect the property several times at different times of day before moving in. If you’re not given this option, look for another place. Also, never allow sales tactics to sway you. Some people pretend that a property is a hot commodity or that they don’t care if you take your time because they have other applicants in line behind you. Always research the property and its owner. Ask to speak with previous tenants and look for online reviews.
It’s also best to arrange the rental through a real estate and rental property management firm instead of directly using private landlord or through a realtor who merely helps landlords find tenants. Although many private owners do an excellent job of managing their properties, some only rent as a side hobby and treat their properties and tenants as afterthoughts. Location also matters. If you’re moving to a remote spot that has a limited law enforcement presence, you’re more likely to experience situations where private landlords fail to upkeep their properties and promises because they know they can get away with it. Lastly, for legal purposes and peace of mind, always make certain that the lease has everything clearly outlined before signing, especially the owner’s or manager’s responsibilities, your responsibilities and the emergency maintenance hours and phone number.
No tenant should ever have to endure trying to live in a residence that’s a nightmare. When you pay rent, you have the right to a safe, quiet and well-maintained living space. It’s easy to pick a bad place when either rushing to find a new home or excited about the possibilities of an apartment or house that looks like a good fit. Although you can’t anticipate every rental problem, you can find a great place by following these tips.