Can I get an overview of landlord tenant laws?

Being prepared to sign a lease means having at least a basic understanding of the landlord tenant laws in your state. You need to know your rights and responsibilities to have a good relationship with your future landlord. The laws your state has enacted allow for a protected relationship for the two parties. Most of the information you need can be found in your lease agreement.

Most of the time a reputable landlord will perform a credit check and ask for references from former landlords or business contacts. This helps the potential landlord find tenants who will be responsible with the rental.

Donít make the mistake of signing a lease without reading it first. If you cannot fulfill the obligations laid out in the lease, you may find yourself facing eviction. It is very important that you know about your rights and responsibilities BEFORE you move in or even sign a lease.

The majority of the time landlords know the laws that govern a rental relationship in their state. They do this for a living, its their job to know. You on the other hand, donít rent a new apartment every few days. The internet is a great way to research the laws that will be affecting you when you move into your new home.

How can I make breaking a lease an easier situation?

Even if you love the apartment you are living in, sometimes you have no choice but to break your lease. New jobs, family troubles, marriage, kids are all potential causes to break a lease. Most of the time your landlord will have outlined what the penalties are for breaking a lease in the lease itself.

These are a few suggestions that may make it easier on you and your landlord if you have to end a lease early:

  • First, if you think you may have to end the lease early, ask your landlord if you can go to a month by month lease, or at least a shorter lease. There may also be some type of "early release" clause in your agreement.
  • Make sure you let your landlord know as soon as possible that you plan to move. Your objective is not just to end the lease, but to leave on good terms with your landlord so you have a good, rock solid reference in the future.
  • Looking at it from your landlordís point of view, breaking a lease is taking money out of his pocket. Anything that you can do to make it easier on them is going to make it easier on you. You might try subletting (renting your apartment to someone else), but it would be a good idea to research this option before just jumping in with both feet.
How can I avoid being taken advantage of?

While looking for an apartment, donít think there arenít crooks out there. Use this information to avoid major disappointments with your new home.

  • Donít procrastinate. Itís not a very good idea to only look for a week and decide where to move. Often it can take some time to find the place that is right for you. At lease look for a couple months so you can see all that the area where you want to move has to offer.
  • Read between the lines. Make sure you understand what is being said by an ad. ďCozyĒ could mean comfortable and safe, or maybe it means youíll have to use a love seat for a couch. ďUniqueĒ is another word you might want to be skeptical of. It could mean one of a kind, or maybe rainbow colored walls with bright pink carpet and a mustard yellow ceiling. Make sure you see why the landlord used these word to describe your potential new home.
  • Donít rush it. Donít think you have to sign a lease today, because someone else is looking at the apartment too. Making an informed, rational decision based on your needs is much more important than getting "The Last One Available".
  • Trust your Instincts. If there is something that just "doesnít feel right," itís probably because something is not right. If you have looked over the home and it meets all of your needs, but you just donít think you can call it home, take a step back and re-evaluate. There arenít any penalties for taking another look. Make sure you donít have to say, "Shoulda went with my gut on this one."
What are the pros and cons of apartment living?

While looking for an apartment, or even after you have moved in, consider what other options are available to you. Is apartment living right for you? Or would you be better off in a rental home? Here are a few things to consider while you live in an apartment.

  • Where are you going to put your stuff? Apartments usually donít have a whole lot of extra space. So you can either get rid of unnecessary things, plan to get a storage unit, or ask friends and family keep your stuff at their house.
  • Enjoying the Outdoors. Most people love to be outside at some point. If you want a garden, you have a few options as a tenant, such as window boxes or house plants. However if you are a die hard gardener, it usually isnít practical to live in an apartment.
  • Parking. Put simply, make sure if you are moving to a major metro area that you have parking. If you donít have an assigned parking space you could be getting in way over your head if you have to walk 2 miles to get to your car every morning.
  • Convenience. One of the best things about apartment living is location. Most apartments are situated so you are within easy walking distance of entertainment, food, and drink. Also some communities have pools and gyms for the comfort and convenience of their tenants.