Unfortunately living in a rented home can sometimes mean dealing with a less-than-pleasant landlord. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all have a friendly, attentive and understanding landlord to work with throughout the term of your lease? We can’t all be so lucky. Though you may have found the perfect rental property you can’t always choose your landlord. The best way to handle the situation if that property is just too good to let go is to take the following steps:
- Do your research – It’s entirely expected that a landlord is going to run your credit and in some cases they will do a full background check before accepting your lease offer. It’s fair! They want to be sure that you can be trusted to pay your bills and not destroy their investment. Likewise, you should do your own research into your prospective landlord — know that you are getting into using apartment rating service reviews and other information services. If possible, talking to a previous tenant is always a good plan. If you’re working with a property management company you can check with the Arizona Better Business Bureau. Taking this quick step could prevent you from ever having to deal with a bad landlord in the first place.
- Document everything – Even before you are able to decide what type of landlord you’ll be dealing with over the lease term start on the right foot by documenting everything. Be sure to read through your lease contract carefully and keep a copy somewhere safe so that you are able to refer back if something happens. There’s nothing worse than those little caveats: some leases may state that you need to give three months notice of your intent to vacate even though the lease is up next month (rookie move: I’ve done it and paid severely for it).
Upon move in, insist on a documented walk-thru with the landlord present. Document any preexisting damage and have both you and the landlord sign off on it. This can be a huge lifesaver and mean the difference between getting your deposit back and paying out of pocket on top at move out. For those particularly obnoxious landlords try to keep all communications through email, mail or document all of your communications. This might sound paranoid but no one wins when there is no hard proof either way.
- Know your rights – Your rights as a tenant differ from state to state. Be sure to know the laws to which you must abide as well as the responsibilities of your landlord. Check out this comprehensive booklet for Arizona Specific Landlord Tenant Laws. It wouldn’t hurt to print this out and save it with a copy of your lease.
Difficult relationships will pop up in your life anywhere and everywhere. If you have the opportunity or other options to rent from a different landlord, or better yet, a property management company that handles things in a professional and straightforward manner, then take it! If not, you’re lucky to be in a position in this sort of a business relationship where there is enough legislation and civil procedure to take care of any and every issue that’s ever come up. Just be sure to cover your butt and hold up your end of the deal.