F.A.Q. for Tenants
√ Question: I filled out an application to rent a property and gave the landlord money to “hold” the property for me. Now I have found another place that I like better. Can I get my money back?
Answer: Probably not. Money you give to “hold” a property can generally be kept by the landlord. It is the price you pay to ensure that the property is not rented to someone else. Furthermore, if you have already agreed to rent a property for a specified term at a specified price, you may have created an oral lease; if so, the money may be considered a security deposit that may be retained by the landlord to compensate them for your failure to pay rent.
√ Question: My landlord gave me a written lease but it does not include their earlier oral promise to replace worn carpet. Can I rely on his oral promise?
Answer: No. Do not rely on a prior oral agreement with the landlord. To make it “legal,” have it written into the lease and initialed by both of you.
√ Question: Does the landlord have to re-paint the property before I move in?
Answer: No. The landlord has no obligation to paint a unit each time it is rented.
√ Question: Can the landlord charge me more because I have a pet?
Answer: Yes. The landlord may charge extra rent and/or a non-refundable pet fee in exchange for allowing you to keep a pet on the property. Furthermore, the landlord may charge more for some breeds or sizes of pets, or may prohibit pets completely.
√ Question: Can my landlord come into my property periodically just to check its condition?
Answer: Yes. Many leases give the landlord the right to enter the property to inspect it to see if the tenant is complying with his obligations, to make necessary repairs to place “for rent” or “for sale” signs on it, or to show it to prospective purchasers or tenants. Entry should be a treasonable time & with reasonable notice.
√ Question: Can the landlord raise the rent during the term of my lease?
Answer: No. Unless the lease states otherwise, you are guaranteed the agreed-upon monthly rent for the term of the lease. However, you also give the landlord your guarantee to pay the agreed-upon rent, on time, for that period.
√ Question: Can’t I always terminate my lease within 30 days’ notice to the landlord?
Answer: No. If your lease provides for a definite termination date, you are obligated for the entire lease term, even if you have a good reason for leaving, such as illness or job transfer. Only termination due to certain military transfers is excused. If you leave early, and the landlord is unable to re-rent your property, he may sue you for the unpaid rent & damages, and/or file a negative credit report against you.
√ Question: Does the landlord have to repair anything in my property that breaks down? What if I signed a lease accepting the unit “as is”?
Answer: The landlord is responsible for some repairs, and the tenant for others.