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Well I must say first of all that I have always loved to move. I’m just one of those odd people. However, I just moved and it has been a Hellish experience. There have been numerous things but the highlights are: the realty company has refused to send someone to fix my air conditioner-it gets up to 100 degrees in here; I am also renting another property from them and they have tried to make me turn in my keys while making me pay the rent for three more months.
This means that they would be getting money from me for two houses (one that I would not have access to) and a new tenant.
And finally, after two weeks of living here I received a call saying that they sold this house and that I have to move again and that if I decide to move to somewhere that is not under them that I will lose my deposit. Wow!A San Fransisco landlord has been in the media lately for being sued. He has tried shutting off utilities, threatening, and intimidating the current tenants so that they will move and he can raise the price for new tenants.
The renting industry is getting vicious all over the nation-they have become the new faulty “car salesman”. Here are some things that you as a tenant should be familiar with to safeguard yourself.
There is a legal maximum amount that a landlord can charge you for a deposit:do research to make sure that you are not being overcharged. Make a list of every scratch and crack in the apartment or house you are about to rent; if you do not (even if the landlord knows the problem was there before you moved there) they can say you did it and keep your deposit.
Your landlord cannot withhold your deposit for things such as nail holes; they can however, for things such as big holes in the walls or broken windows that were not there prior to you moving in.
Many times a landlord will tell you things that are not in your lease to get you to move in. Make sure that you get this in writing-and always keep a copy of your lease and written statements from the landlord.
You can get out of your lease if you have proof that your landlord has violated your renter’s rights or the lease.
It is imperative to read your lease thoroughly before signing it; sometimes there are some illegal clauses within the lease agreement such as :
- statements that you will give up your right to defend yourself in court against the landlord.
- statement that the landlord can enter your house at any time.
- limitations to responsibilities that a landlord is legally responsible for.
- statement that if you and your landlord have to go to court that you will pay their court fees.
- statement that the landlord has the right to keep your belongings if you go move or get evicted.
Most states do not have rent control laws. If you are about to renew a lease, the owner can increase the amount of rent to any price (even if it is outrageous).
If your landlord refuses to repair something you should write a letter to them (and keep a copy) with the date, your name,problem,if the problem is a threat to your health or safety, and you can also legally add that if the repairs aren’t done in a week’s time that you will: take legal action, make repairs yourself, terminate your lease, or request a written explanation as to why the repairs are delayed or refused. But remember, these are for legitimate repairs, not for something like Christmas lights installation or even lawn care unless it is specifically in your lease.
Your landlord can only enter your home for reasons specified in your lease and with notice.
Your landlord cannot harass you (such as the San Fransisco landlord) or threaten you or turn off your utilities.
If you are evicted, the landlord must allow you to get your belongings if not they can be convicted of “conversion” which is a term basically for theft.-This also means that they cannot damage your personal belongings.-This also includes the fact that they cannot keep your personal belongings for past rent that is due.They cannot sell your property for past rent either. They can hold your property as collateral if it is in the lease.(This is a crime).
The landlord can only legally evict you in the following circumstances:
- For breaking your lease.
- For not paying due rent.
- If you are committing crimes within the property or destroy property.
- If you are renting on a month to month basis and your month is up.
I know this sounds like a lot but you should know your rights and state laws to keep yourself safely within your home. You should always keep rental agreements and written notices in case a situation comes up or you must go to court.