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Student Tenants vs. Landlords: Protecting Your Rights as a First-time Renter

One can get a roller coaster of emotions even if you’re still pondering whether to stay at home or start renting for college. By staying at home, one can save more money. But by renting, you can get closer to school, reduce your travel time, and enjoy more independence. Once you decided to rent a student house instead, you will feel excited to finally get to make more decisions for yourself. But like all good things, it pays to do your research instead of assuming only good things can happen while renting.

There have been numerous horror stories of student renters encountering bad landlords. The last thing you need is to get distracted from school just because of the issues brought about by your landlord. To make sure they don’t rip you off, here are a few must-knows.

Keep a Record of Everything

Some landlords would try to trick student renters by putting them at fault for major damages. They would claim that the student renter moved in with the unit or house in perfect condition. If you are not careful, you might end up paying for things you did not even do. ;

In most contracts, tenants are responsible for any damages they caused after moving. In case of any damages after their move, they are required to pay for the repairs using their deposits. Many landlords used to incur more damages to keep as much deposit as they can.

For best results, choose to document everything before you move in. Snap photos while paying attention to any discrepancies. Any damage you may find, tell the landlord so he can sort it out asap.

Know What Tenants and Landlords Can and Cannot Do

Both you and your landlord have your own responsibilities. Before you even move into a new place, make sure you read and understand the agreement. This tells you about your responsibilities as a renter and them as the landlord.

This also states the things you are allowed to do and what you are prohibited to do. In case you break the conditions of the lease, you are expected to abide by the listed consequences. Keep an eye out on the telltale signs that your landlord is trying to rip you off.

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For instance, he tells you that he can come in anytime he likes to conduct property checks and maintenance. Know that this is a violation of privacy. As a general rule, he is required to notify you at least 24 hours before his visit to collect rent, conduct property maintenance, and the like.

As for repairs, tenants are usually in charge of minor ones like changing fuses or lightbulbs. If it is about repairing major systems like the HVAC, insulation, and gas and electrical safety, your landlord will have to take charge. If this is not stated in the contract, be sure to ask.

Don’t Turn a Blind Eye on Excuses

Kids were taught to be respectful of adults. This often led many students to endure the little things, especially when renting. This can include drippy faucets, unreliable heaters, and even an unkempt unit that shows little-to-no signs of cleaning.

If you let them treat you poorly, then they will think that they can continue doing so. It is crucial that you set realistic expectations but know when your rights as a tenant are taken advantage of.

There should be a thin line between letting small things go as a sign of respect and letting them treat you badly. Don’t be afraid to speak about your concerns. If you are having a hard time doing this, ask assistance from a friend or your guardian.

Young adults like you have so much to learn. Your first tenancy experience does not have to be a bad one. Know your rights, responsibilities, and do’s and don’ts. Seek help as needed. You can get the most out of your first experience as a tenant and avoid being a victim of a bad landlord.

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