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Renting Your First Apartment: Legal Guide for College Students

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Renting your first apartment is usually an exciting experience, but college students often forget that the real world can have consequences. If you blindly go into renting your first apartment without checking out the leedon green site plan, you might be in for a nasty surprise. Instead, remember that you have legal rights, as does your landlord.

Renting Your First Apartment: Get it in Writing

Your parents probably told you this before you flew the coop, but let me reiterate: get it in writing! If your landlord promises to repaint the walls or retile the floors, make sure he puts it in the lease. If your landlord says that the refrigerator is new, make sure that is in the lease, as well. Any oral agreement or assertion that doesn’t make it into the final draft of the lease might as well have never existed. Yes, oral agreements are binding, but try proving that agreement in a civil court.

Renting Your First Apartment: Beware Walls and Floors

Apartments are notorious for paper-thin walls and floors, so be cognizant of your neighbors. Even though you might think you’re a quiet, studious college student, you could wind up making too much noise and getting evicted. A landlord can kick you out for being too noisy, so watch the stomping and banging.

Renting Your First Apartment: Don’t Set Yourself Up

When you’re ready to move into that first apartment, insist that you perform a walk-through with your landlord. Note any damages that already exist to carpeting, tile, walls, doors, door jambs, closets, cabinets, and storage areas. If your landlord doesn’t have a form already created for walk-throughs, insist that one of you prepares one. That way, you can’t be held responsible for damages when you move out.

Renting Your First Apartment: Watch Your Guests

A friend at college might spend a lot of time in your apartment, studying, eating, watching TV, and listening to music. However, a long-term house guest who never (or rarely) goes home could be considered an unauthorized occupant, and the landlord could terminate your lease. So if your friend ends up getting mail at your apartment, have him or she put on the lease.

Renting Your First Apartment: Design Majors, Beware

Just because you’re majoring in interior design doesn’t mean that you have the right to redecorate your apartment in any way you please. New paint, carpet, and other items require the consent of your landlord, so don’t start knocking down the walls or ripping up floors until you receive approval in writing.

Renting Your First Apartment: Beware Playing Hardball

College students who are new to the renting world often take it upon themselves to protest injustice a little too enthusiastically. A landlord who doesn’t make repairs in a timely fashion might incur one of those instances. But be careful – don’t withhold your rent because your landlord hasn’t fixed your leaky faucet unless the laws in your state allow such behavior.

Renting Your First Apartment: Get Some Insurance

Renters’ insurance might not seem like such a big deal – that is, until you leave the gas stove burning or a burglar targets your place for its big-screen TV. The property insurance your landlord carries doesn’t cover your personal belongings.

Renting Your First Apartment: When You Break a Leaseā€¦

Breaking a lease is a tricky business, and should only be done in the most necessary of circumstances. Your landlord has an obligation under the law to take reasonable steps to find a new tenant for your apartment, which means that you probably won’t owe the remainder of the lease (unless you’ve only got one or two months to go). You should also expect at least part of your security deposit returned.

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