Renting a home can enable young couples to save for a deposit to buy their own property, but avoiding bad landlords can be difficult. Even if you read the small print, such as the landlord who refused to allow tenants to have any visitors without 7 days notice, you can still have problems. How about the landlord who increased the rent of those that voted for Barrack Obama? How did he know?
Avoiding bad landlords takes a combination of legal knowledge and common sense. However, what can you do if you find your landlord has hidden cameras in your bedroom or even in the air ducts? You could find yourself on YouTube – or even worse! In one such case, the landlord was sued for millions, but you only get what they are able to pay.
Here are some tips on avoiding bad landlords when renting a home.
Avoiding Bad Landlords
1. Check Your Landlord: go to checkyourlandlord.com and enter the address of the property you intend to rent. The site will give you a free pre-foreclosure report that will let you know if your landlord is due for foreclosure on the property you are renting, or thinking of renting.
For $12.95 you get a Landlord Verification Report, that verifies the name of the registered owners of the property, and also details of any tax delinquencies involved. However, you are advised to pay for the $27.95 Comprehensive Landlord Verification Report that provides the above information together with identified risk factors, delinquencies and mortgage defaults, and also any criminal filings, bankruptcies, court judgments and liens.
If you have any doubts at all about your landlord, then it would be wise to spend the $27.95 for this important information.
2. Check out an Apartment Ratings Website: two of the best are apartment-finder-review.toptenreviews.com and apartmentratings.com – they can not only provide photographs of recommendations when you intend renting a home, but also report on reviews from tenants using the same landlords.
Ratings websites are very useful in identifying landlords offering multiple properties. They may, however, miss individual landlords renting just one property. That is where the Landlord Verification Report will be useful – to enable you to make sure the landlord actually does own the property.
3. Seek Personal Comment: ask neighbors if they know of any problems with the landlord. Even if they own their homes, previous renters might have mentioned problems to their neighbor.
Renting a Home: The Basics
Finally, it is pretty basic to check out the rental property before signing any agreement. Make sure everything is in good order – take a friend with you who knows about potential electrical and plumbing problems. Read the fine print in your agreement – if you are renting a home you may be held responsible for pre-existing problems unless you identify them before signing!
The vast majority of rented properties are in good order. However, there are a few that are not, and are run by bad landlords. It is very important that you are aware of this. If the property appears run down and poorly maintained either internally or externally, give it a miss. Knock next door and ask about who had the house previously – explain you are considering renting it. Do all that when renting a home and you should be OK.