Apartments for Cheap

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Apartment Rental Agreement Form

June 14, 2013

Helen asks…

Family trouble and question?

Do you have a sister or family member who is addcited to perscription drugs and drinks allot? My sister has been for many years and I tried to help her and nothing I do is ever good enough.
I had her staying at my place but I couldn’t have her here for too long because in my rental agreement it states only one person apartment and if someone moves in my rent will go up? I went out and tried to find her a place and she still insist on finding her own place. Even though where she is staying she’s being abused and taking who knows what? She called me and cursed me out because I wouldn’t let her stay here, calling me every name in the book and then is just really mean and crude remarks. That would cut you if it was in a physical form. I am not talking to her and she called me the other day and asked me for our brothers phone # but still called me names and yelled and that at the end says if you could be so kind is to give me the phone #. and then hangs up. I don’t get this behavior?

Administrator answers:

You are not your sister’s keeper. She is looking to you to bail her out, enable her lifestyle.

What she needs is counseling and to get off of drugs, but she has to want to do that. I would tell her that you love her, want to help, and when she is ready to get treatment you will be there for her. Until then, sit back, hope for the best, and do not enable her. You cannot cure her, she needs treatment, and she has to want to get help for it to work.

It is wonderful that you care so much for her, but she has to want for things to chance. Seems like she just wants to lean on you and continue with her destructive, abusive lifestyle.

Joseph asks…

Leasing office gave my roommate another apartment while still on mo to mo contract state of Florida ?

Hello looking for some advise : I’m the main person on the rental contract but a former rommate was living with me at the time so we both signed a contract for a 2 bedroom apartment with a 6 mo lease but after the 6 mo lease was over we decided to pay mo to mo & the landlord didn’t make us re sign a mo to mo agreement . While I was on vacation my roommate decided to move out with out giving me any notice I came back to an empty apartment mind you he was still under contract n didn’t give a 30 day notice nor i released him from the contract till 2 weeks later when I found out the same leasing office had offered him his own place . Now I spoke to the assistant manager about my case I still gave my 30 days because I couldn’t afford a 2 bedroom apartment with my high bills. At the time the leasing office printer was not working for us to sign the proper form to release my roommate from the mo to mo contract so she made me write a statement of why I was moving out within 30 days . All of a sudden I get bill for 1900 of prorated rent & I need to pay it by July 10 2011..when my roommate paid the rent for the 30 days that I was there because we would always use his checks for the 3 years we were there . Now can I take my roommate to court if he canceled that check for the 30 days I was there & also the leasing office for offering him his own place before I released him out of the contract ?

Administrator answers:

What your roommate did was legal.}{

Sharon asks…

What are the consequences of breaking my lease?

My roommate and I signed a lease on February 13th, 2009, and we are trying to figure out how to get out of it. The landlord called us the Saturday after the signing to tell us that he just discovered that each unit in the house had a separate electric meter, and that it was payed for by the tenant. Our lease, and everything verbal up to that call said that all utilities, excluding cable, etc. were included in the months rent. I told him this, and that I would have to talk to my roomate about it. The apartment was already expensive, and we didn’t want to spend that extra money every month. Plus it wasn’t in the lease. However, rather than fight for the original lease, we’re rather get out of the whole situation.

We got a call later, and the landlord said that he would be willing to pay up to the 24 month average electric bill and we would pay any difference from going over. This would have to be added to the lease, of course. I told him we would think about it and get back to him. We still felt like we’d prefer to get out of the situation, and since we’d have to sign again, we figured it wouldn’t be that hard.

I called him back, told him that it wasn’t going to work, throughout the conversation he changed his wording to “would like you guys to keep it under that 24 month average, which I think is already a little high”. Since we’ve tried to get out of it, he’s gone back to the original lease, which we’ve signed and paid a deposit for. But we still want out.

The only catch I can think of is that he requires a cosigner. We have a Co-Signer Agreement with the wording: “This agreement is attached to and forms a part of the Rental Agreement dated February 13th, 2009 between (Landlord) and (Tenant(s)) .

The lease says: “ADDITIONAL PROVISIONS. Co-signer Agreements and Cleaning Addendum are included as a part of this residential rental
agreement. In the event that tenants do not return all co-signer agreements to the landlord within 20 days of signing the lease, landlord
may at his sole discretion terminate the residential rental agreement upon 10 days written notice to tenants. Tenants shall then forfeit
the security deposit to cover landlord’s expenses in re-renting the premises. However, until and unless landlord elects to terminate the
rental agreement as specified, this residential rental agreement is in full force and effect and is binding upon tenants and co-signers.”

My question is: What do we stand to lose by breaking the lease? The start date isn’t until August 1st. He’s already cashed the deposit check. I just want to know what my options and consequences are, all of them.

Thanks.
I forgot to mention that the co-signer agreements have NOT been signed and returned to the landlord yet.
The reason the lease has been signed so early is because this is a College town, and most leases, especially those close to campus, get signed in the spring.
To make it clearer:
-The lease is for $760 per month, all utils included.
-After signing, he (verbally) told us that electric is separate, but then later (verbally) told us that he would pay up to the 24 month average, with the tenants (us) paying anything over that.
-Now he is saying that the lease has not changed, he has changed his (verbal) wording to say that he’d “like us to stay under that average”

Administrator answers:

Okay question one have you signed your lease already? If so then he can enforce that lease because it’s a binding contract and while it has “started’ yet it is consired an engaged agreement by the parties signing. Now there are loopholes and things of that nature that can make the lease voidable on your part that would let you out of your lease but not on the side of the landlord that he could cancel. So if you are saying you required a co-signer and maybe you didn’t get one then you don’t qualify and the lease would be voided and not enforceable because you don’t meet the requirements to hold the contract. I tried my best to understand your story but it’s a bit confusing. You may lose your deposit but that is the lease of your concerns if you are wanting out of you lease

Nancy asks…

A little help with Base housing and current apartments.?

My husband and I just got accepted into base housing about a two weeks ago. We are currently renting, and our lease does have a military clause. In the clause it vaguely describes the rules on moving out for military housing. It does however state that I must give 60 days notice before my lease ends to move anywhere else.
I spoke with the apartment manager yesterday about us finally getting the full ok to move into housing. She was more than helpful and asked me to come by today so that we could go into further detail about my contract.
I went today, and as soon as I walked into the door she went into her office. I had to speak with another woman. I explained to the woman what I was there for and she started making out another contract. I signed my name and put my new address on the paper. After I had signed it she said “you know you have to give us 60 days notice to move”. I told her that with base housing it doesn’t work that way. They tell you when to move. Not the other way around. She then said when I received my lease renewal form in December that I should have told them I was on a military housing wait list. I told them I wasn’t aware that I needed to inform them of that. She then made out a rental agreement for my new lease date to end in April. I then asked her, “so I will be paying two rents?” She told me that was the case unless I wanted to break my contract. The cost would be $300.00! I told her that Feb. 17th was the earliest date they could get me into housing. My lease with my apartments ends on the 27th of this month. The rest of the month will be paid in full by 2am eastern time.
I’m a bit confused by her actions. Did she have any right to draw up a new agreement?
My husband is currently underway, and I am a stay at home mother going to school full time. I was there by myself and my two kids. I felt a bit rushed and ill informed.
I may sound stupid asking this question, but I was on a wait list for quite sometime. It would be a shame to go back due to my simple mistake.
*$3000.00 (sorry)

Administrator answers:

Get ahold of legal aid on base. They will fix the apartment complex up for you (normally) if not call tenants advocates in your area. I live in Arizona and they are more than happy to break a lease for a military member/family.

Sorry these people can be such Aholes. Just get in contact with one of the two I mentioned and they will be able to help you for sure!

Sandy asks…

How long does a rental/broker agreement last?

I went to see rental apartment with rental agent. He had me sign a broker form agreement before seeing the rental. I don’t remember seeing an expiration date on it. How long is the agreement if there is one? I just went to see the apartment. I did not sign a lease either.

I live in Massachusetts.

Administrator answers:

To be legal, it needs an end date. You should have also received a copy.

Mandy asks…

What are my rights as a Renter without a Rental Agreement?

I have been living in this place for almost a yr and haven’t had a rental agreement…..Now all of the sudden the new boyfriend that has moved in over there, decides that he is going to make a lease, he hands me a lease that states that I have to have his permission to even have someone SPEND the Night with me !!!! I would not sign it, unless they would take that off….. So now he says that he is going to Evict me…..I told him to serve me papers…. Now He wants to come over and call the police on everyone that comes over, and hollering at me and cussing me …. OOOOO, it is getting ugly, what are my rights ?

Administrator answers:

If you’re a renter, there are lots of laws on the books to protect you
from improper landlord conduct, including discrimination, invasion of
privacy, maintaining dangerous property conditions and other landlord
wrongs. Here are some of the most common questions asked by tenants
about the landlord-tenant relationship. Because state laws vary–often
significantly–remember to check the specific landlord-tenant statutes
for your state and any local laws that may apply.

1. Why do I need to sign a lease or rental agreement?

Your lease or rental agreement is a contract. It forms the legal basis
for your relationship with your landlord by setting out important issues
such as:

* the length of your tenancy * the amount of rent and deposits you must
pay * the number of people who can live on the rental property * who
pays for utilities * whether you may have pets * whether you may sublet
the property * the landlord’s access to the rental property * whose job
it is to maintain and repair the premises, and * who pays attorneys’
fees if there is a lawsuit.

It is always wise to put your lease or rental agreement in writing, even
though most states allow them to be oral (spoken). While oral agreements
may seem easy and informal, if you and your landlord later disagree
about key agreements, you are all too likely to end up in court, arguing
over who said what to whom, when and in what context. This is
particularly a problem with long-term leases, so many states prohibit
oral agreements that are to last for one year or more.

2. What’s the difference between a rental agreement and a lease?

The big difference is the period of occupancy. Written rental agreements
provide for a tenancy for a short period (often 30 days). Your tenancy
is automatically renewed at the end of this period unless you or your
landlord end it by giving written notice, typically 30 days. For these
month-to-month rentals (meaning the rent is paid monthly), the landlord
can change terms of your agreement with proper written notice (subject
to any rent control laws). This notice is usually 30 days, but can be
shorter in some states if the rent is paid weekly or bi-weekly.

A written lease gives you the right to occupy a rental unit for a set
term–most often for six months or a year but sometimes longer–as long
as you pay the rent and comply with other lease provisions. Unlike a
rental agreement, when a lease expires it does not automatically renew
itself (a tenant who stays on with the landlord’s consent will generally
be considered a month-to-month tenant). With a fixed-term lease, the
landlord cannot raise the rent or change other terms of the tenancy
during the lease, unless they are specifically called for in the lease,
or you agree.

3. I signed a year-long lease a few months ago, but now I want to move
out. What happens if I break the lease?

As a general rule, neither you nor your landlord may properly break the
lease before the term ends unless the other party significantly violates
the lease. This means that you can legally move out for a good cause–
for example, if your landlord fails to make necessary repairs. If you
break the lease without good cause, you’ll be responsible for the
remainder of the rent due under the lease term. In most states, however,
a landlord has a legal duty to try to find a new tenant as soon as
possible–no matter what your reason for leaving–rather than charge you
for the total remaining rent due under the lease.

4. I think a landlord discriminated against me when she refused to rent
me an apartment. What are my rights under the law?

Under federal civil rights and fair housing laws, the landlord broke the
law if she refused you the apartment because of a group characteristic
such as:

* your race * your religion * your ethnic background or national origin
* your sex * your age * the fact that you have children (except in
certain designated senior housing), or * a mental or physical
disability.

In addition, some state and local laws prohibit discrimination based on
your marital status or sexual orientation.

On the other hand, landlords are allowed to select tenants using
criteria that are based on valid business reasons, such as requiring a
minimum income or a good credit rating, and applying them equally to all
tenants.

5. How do I file a discrimination complaint?

If you think that a landlord has broken a federal fair housing law,
contact your local office of the Department of Housing and Urban
Development. To find the office nearest you, call (800) 669-9777. HUD
will give you a complaint form and will investigate and decide whether
you have a case. You must file your complaint with HUD within one year
of the alleged discriminatory act. If HUD determines that you do have a
case, a mediator will try to negotiate with the landlord and reach a
settlement (called a “conciliation”). If a settlement can’t be reached,
HUD will file a lawsuit against the landlord.

If the discrimination is a violation of a state fair housing law, you
may file a complaint with the state agency in charge of enforcing the
law. In California, for example, the Department of Fair Employment and
Housing enforces the state’s two fair housing laws. Contact your state’s
department of housing in order to find out whether a state housing law
exists that would apply to your situation.

Also, instead of filing a complaint with HUD or a state agency, you may
file a lawsuit directly in federal or state court.

6. Are there laws covering how much rent a landlord can charge, and when
the rent must be paid?

Your landlord may charge any dollar amount for rent, except in certain
areas covered by rent control. (States with some areas covered by rent
control include California, the District of Columbia, Maryland,
Massachusetts (until the end of 1996), New Jersey and New York.)

By custom, leases and rental agreements usually require rent to be paid
monthly, in advance. Often rent is due on the first day of the month.
However, it is usually legal for a landlord to require rent to be paid
at different intervals or on a different day of the month. Unless the
lease or rental agreement specifies otherwise, there is no legally-
recognized grace period–in other words, if you haven’t paid the rent on
time, your landlord can usually start eviction proceedings the day after
it is due. Some landlords charge fees for late payment of rent or for
bounced checks; these fees are usually legal if they are reasonable.

For month-to-month rentals, the landlord can raise the rent (subject to
any rent control laws) with proper written notice, typically 30 days.
With a fixed-term lease, the landlord may not raise the rent during the
lease, unless the increase is specifically called for in the lease, or
you agree.

7. How much security deposit can a landlord charge?

Usually not more than a month or two worth of rent–the exact amount
depends on the state in which you live. All states allow landlords to
collect a security deposit when you move in; the general purpose is to
assure that you pay rent when due and keep the rental unit in good
condition.

Many states require landlords to put deposits in a separate account and
some require landlords to pay you the interest on your deposits.

8. What are the rules for returning security deposits?

Landlords may normally make certain deductions from a tenant’s security
deposit, provided they do it correctly and for the right reasons. While
the specific rules vary from state to state, landlords usually have a
set amount of time in which to return deposits (usually 14 to 30 days
after you move out–either voluntarily or by eviction). Many states
require landlords to provide a written itemized accounting of deductions
for unpaid rent and for repairs for damages that go beyond normal wear
and tear, together with payment for any deposit balance. You may sue a
landlord who fails to return your deposit when and how required, or who
violates other provisions of security deposit laws such as interest
requirements; often these suits may be brought in small claims court. In
some states, you may recover your entire deposit–sometimes even two or
three times this amount–plus attorney fees and other damages.

9. Does my landlord have the right to enter my apartment whenever he
wants, without notice?

A landlord or manager may enter rented premises while you are living
there without advance notice only in an emergency, such as a fire or
serious water leak. Beyond that, laws in many states guarantee tenants
reasonable privacy rights against landlord intrusions. Typically, a
landlord has the right to legally enter rented premises in order to make
needed repairs (in some states, just to assess the need for repairs) and
to show the property to prospective new tenants or purchasers. Many
states allow landlords the right of entry during your absence to
maintain the property as necessary and to inspect for damage and needed
repairs. In addition, a landlord may enter rented premises when you move
out without notifying the landlord or by court order. In most cases, a
landlord may not enter just to check up on you and the rental property.

States typically require landlords to provide a specific amount of
notice (usually 24 or 48 hours) before entering a rental unit. In some
states, such as California, landlords must provide a “reasonable” amount
of notice, legally presumed to be 24 hours.

10. My apartment badly needs repairs. Isn’t it the landlord’s
responsibility to keep things in good working order?

Landlords in all states except Alabama, Arkansas and Colorado are
responsible for the physical condition of rental property, both when you
move in and during your tenancy. This responsibility stems from the
landlord’s duty to offer and maintain housing that satisfies basic
habitability requirements, such as adequate weatherproofing, available
heat, water and electricity, and clean, sanitary and structurally safe
premises. Even in the three states that have not adopted this
habitability rule, local or state housing laws may impose substantially
the same requirements on landlords.

All tenants have the responsibility to keep their own living quarters
clean and sanitary. And a landlord can usually delegate his repair and
maintenance tasks to the tenant in exchange for a reduction in rent. If
the tenant fails to do the job, however (or does a poor job), the
landlord is not excused from his responsibility to maintain
habitability.

11. What are my rights if my landlord refuses to maintain the property?

If the landlord doesn’t meet his legal responsibilities, you usually
have several options (depending on the state), including moving out
(even in the middle of a lease), paying less rent, withholding the
entire rent until the problem is fixed, making necessary repairs (or
hiring someone to make them and deducting the cost from next month’s
rent) or calling the local building inspector (who can usually order the
landlord to make repairs). You can also sue the landlord for a partial
refund of past rent, and in some circumstances can sue for the
discomfort, annoyance and emotional distress caused by the substandard
conditions. Be sure to check the laws for your state, so you know what
remedies are available to you before you take action against your
landlord.

12. Is my landlord liable if I’m injured on the rental property? What if
a visitor is injured?

A landlord may be liable to you–or others–for injuries caused by
dangerous or defective conditions on the property you rent. In order to
hold the landlord responsible, however, you must be able to prove
several things:

* that the landlord had control over the problem that caused the injury
* that the accident was foreseeable * that fixing the problem would not
have been unreasonably expensive or difficult, and * that a serious
injury was the probable consequence of not fixing the problem. For
example, if you fall and are hurt on a broken front door step, the
landlord will be liable if: * It was the landlord’s responsibility to
maintain the steps (this would usually be the case, because the steps
are part of the common area, which is the landlord’s responsibility). *
You could prove that an accident was foreseeable (falling on a broken
step is highly likely). * You could show that the repair was relatively
easy. * You can prove that the probable result of a broken step is a
serious injury (a fall certainly qualifies).

A landlord may also be liable for your injuries and property damage
resulting from the criminal acts of others, but only if the criminal
incident was foreseeable and the landlord could have done something to
prevent it. For example, if a landlord knows (or has reason to know)
about crime in the area–and especially if there have been prior
criminal incidents on his property–he may be held liable if his failure
to fix a defective lock or install adequate lighting facilitates a
criminal assault. A landlord can also be liable for damage or injury
caused by problem tenants, such as those who deal drugs.

13. What is the best way for me to resolve a dispute with my landlord?

Legal disputes–actual and potential–come in all shapes and sizes for
tenants. Whether it’s a disagreement over a rent increase or
responsibility for repairs, rarely should lawyers and litigation be your
first choice when facing a dispute with a landlord.

Betty asks…

How do I go about making a lease agreement?

I am renting out a room in my condo which means I will be a landlord. How do I put together a lease agreement? I live in WA state. I would appreciate any good feedback or at least a point in the right direction. Thank you.

Administrator answers:

Lease agreements must conform to your state’s laws. However, most of the forms you find will be geared to renting an apartment, house, or condo, rather than a roommate situtation. If you cannot find a standard form, check the library for landlord-tenant law info to see if you can put together a simple rental agreement. Otherwise, you need an attorney. If your lease does not conform to state laws, you have a big problem.

Also, with roommates, unless they go together to rent an apartment, rarely is a lease appropriate. You are probably better off with a simple written agreement for a month-to-month tenancy.

David asks…

Does anyone have any tips to make moving out less stressful?

Hi there! I may be moving out of my first apartment very soon, and I was wondering if anyone can give me some tips as to what I should do to prepare for the move. I don’t have a lot of stuff, but you always think that until you start to organize things. I don’t have any furniture to move, because this place is furnished. Should I pack things according to each room first, like say do all the kitchen packing at once, etc. Also, what are some things that landlords look for as in damaged things, ya know little things that they could hold your deposit for? Any help and tips are greatly appreciated.

Administrator answers:

Moving can be one of the most stressfull things in life. But it can be overcome. My wife and I have moved twelve times in ten years,and we got better at it each time. First thing is to decide what your going to need in between moving from one place to the next.Such as personal hygene items , a change of clothes, your personal information. ID, SS card,passport, things like that. Put this stuff in a bag, or suitcase and keep it with you. Things can get lost easily in a move. LIke you said. “pack things according to each room” Thats the best way to do it. Start with the rooms that have the stuff you don’t use that often, like the spare rooms. Get boxes that fit your stuff. Wrap up all your breakable stuff in newspaper, or bubble wrap. Keep simular shaped items together, such as movies,tapes cd’s. Tape the boxes tight. And label them with the contents. Landlords usually look at the things that are going to have to be replaced if its unfixable. If its nothing major you can probaly fix it your self. Use your rental agreement form the one that has the condion of the property. Make sure things are the same as when you moved in. I took pictures of the places I lived in before and after to avoid any problems that might of come up. Then i’d have proof. Make sure the place is clean and smells good and good luck!

Ruth asks…

What to do after I find an apartment I like?

I found a nice small apartment in a good area, but its through a real estate agent. Its a 2 bedroom has a kitchen, living, bathroom, and an attic that I can use for storage. But its for $1150 a month plus utilities. I don’t think its worth that much and I honestly can’t afford all that plus utilities.How can I bring the price down to like $950 a month. What should I tell the real estate agent?

Administrator answers:

Find your own Realtor. Go through the apartment again with your own agent and ask them to help you compare the home to other rentals in the area. Realtors spend a lot of time in homes on the market and rentals on the market. It’s our job to help you find the information you need to decide whether the apartment is a good deal or not. If you’re working with the listing agent buy you haven’t signed a Buyer’s Agency Agreement, the listing agent is working for the seller/landlord, NOT for you. Either ask to sign BAA so that the listing agent can start advocating for you as well, or find your own Realtor who can help you with negotiating a better rental price. If you’re able to negotiate the price to a point where you feel comfortable, then your agent will help you prepare the forms you need to enter into a lease. If you do find an agent, their commission will be paid by the seller/landlord so they are free to you. Not bad, huh?

Whether you love this apartment or not, don’t enter into a lease that you can’t afford. Even if it’s the best place in the world and you can’t imagine living anywhere else, it’s not worth it to ruin your credit or cause that much stress in your life.

Just another thought…have you considered purchasing a home? Interest rates are ridiculously low right now and, depending on where you live, owning could be cheaper than renting. Talk to a lender and see if you can get pre-approved for a loan. Take the pre-approval letter to that Realtor that you find and ask them to show you what you get for the money in your area. Just a thought…

Happy hunting!

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