Renters Rights And Minor Damage At Move Out

Renters have many legal rights, and landlords have many laws to follow. Knowing your rights can save you from a hefty lawsuit when moving out.

Renting an apartment or house can sometimes be financially disastrous if you are unaware of your rights. The number one rule of renting is that you always have to be on your guard, anticipating that your landlord thinks that you know nothing and wants to take advantage of that.

In order to properly prepare for the worst case scenario, it is imperative that you take the proper precautions before you even move in to your new home.

First, you must conduct a walk-thru with your new landlord or authorized representative. Your landlord should actually recommend this, but be prepared just in case. Be sure to have a pen and paper handy, taking notes as you walk thru each and every aspect of your new residence. Pay careful attention to holes in screens, nicks in walls and mirrors, bathtub stains and residue, as well as the overall cleanliness and wear throughout. Another important point is to have the person who walks with you, either your landlord or authorized representative, sign their name on the bottom of the walk-thru. After you sign, make a photo copy of the paper and send it to your landlord accompanying your first month's rent check.

If you really want to be on the ball, you will take pictures along your walk-thru. Be sure to have a camera that will print out the date on all pictures. Keep these pictures in a safe place where you can easily access them if necessary. More importantly, do not pack them deep in a box when you are preparing to move out, as that is when you will need them the most, if at all.

When signing your lease, if you have one, you will sometimes be required to pay a security deposit against any damage that might incur while you reside there. This deposit cannot legally be a greater dollar amount than one month's rent. Also, in most states, your landlord is required to deposit your money into an interest bearing savings account at a local bank. In some cases, they must give you, in writing within thirty days of receipt of the deposit, the bank name, branch office, account number and dollar amount in the account. If this is not done, you may be legally eligible to ask for your full security deposit back at any time during which you live at the property, even if you do cause any physical damage. Be sure to check local government housing laws for your state for any additional information.

If damage is produced while you live there, you do have to pay for the repair or replacement of the damage. This does not include normal wear and tear, such as hole from hanging pictures or slight dings in the wall. It would usually fall into circumstances such as breaking down a door or putting a hole in the wall.

You are also not responsible for steam-cleaning the wall to wall carpeting prior to moving out. The landlord has plenty of rules that they need to follow as well, usually including painting the walls and cleaning the carpet. So don't be duped into paying for something that you don't legally have to pay for.

Each state does have different guidelines and laws to follow, so be sure to check your local government's website. Tenant/Landlord disputes are a common issue, and unfortunately they are not always pleasant. By knowing your legal rights prior to moving in, and taking pictures on your walk-thru, you can significantly decrease your odds of being sued by your landlord for damages that you had absolutely nothing to do with.

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