More people than ever are renting their homes because they can’t afford to buy, which means that you have to deal with landlords. The majority of landlords are fine, but there are some out there that just want to take your money and won’t put any time or effort into maintaining the house at all. There is a lot of protection in place for landlords because you have to provide references from past landlords so they know that you’re going to pay the rent on time and you’ll look after the house properly, but it doesn’t really work the other way around. That’s why so many people get caught out by rogue landlords and end up living in terrible conditions. But if you know what you’re doing, you can usually spot the tell-tale signs. These are some of the best ways to protect yourself from bad landlords.
Get Renters Insurance
If the house is in disrepair and it causes damage to your possessions, your landlord isn’t necessarily going to do anything about it. For example, if there is a leak because they haven’t fixed the plumbing properly and your things get water damaged, a bad landlord isn’t going to give you the money to replace all of that stuff, that’s why it’s important that you get some insurance so you can at least protect your own belongings. You can easily find some cheap renters insurance and it’s definitely worth paying for if something happens. You’ll really regret it if you skip the insurance and you end up having to pay to replace things on your own.
Document Everything When You Move In
Trying to claim that you’ve broken things around the house so they can keep your security deposit is a common tactic of rogue landlords. But you can easily protect yourself from this if you document everything when you move in. Do a full inventory of the house and note down any damage, no matter how small it might be. You should also take photographs so if they do try to blame you for existing damage, you’ve got evidence there.
Ask About Repairs
When you’re viewing a house, you should ask the landlord how they deal with repairs. Do they do it themselves or do they have contractors that they call in? How long can you expect to wait when you have an issue? If the landlord is forthcoming with that information, that’s a good sign. But if they’re being vague about it, that’s a big red flag. You can’t always be sure because they may just lie but if you put them on the spot and gauge their reaction, you might be able to tell if they’re genuine or not.
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Keep A Paper Trail
If you’ve got a problem with the house and you’re struggling to get the landlord to fix it, you should be keeping a paper trail. This will be useful later if you end up having to take legal action against them. Don’t do it all over the phone, send your requests by email or text so you’ve got written proof of all of the interactions. If you don’t, they’ll just claim that you never told them about the problem.
If you follow these rules, you can avoid getting caught out by rogue landlords that just want to take your money.