Moving to a new rental property can be hard and full of anxiety. If it’s your first time renting or your 15th, you may not know what to expect from a new landlord or property management company.
The Landlord/Tenant laws are always changing; do you know your rights as a tenant? Day Property Management can help walk you through the rental process and protect your rights.
Six things you should know before you rent
Property owners can’t advertise or rent condemned units or units that violate housing codes—This keeps all rental property safe and functional for renters.
You shouldn’t sign a rental agreement, place a deposit, or earnest money on a property until you make sure it’s a safe place to live. Landlords are supposed to disclose any code violations they know about. Ask the owner or management company about any violations against the property for code, health, or safety issues that have not been fixed.
Landlords must tell you if the utilities are included or separate, how utilities are split per apartment (if not metered separately), and the total amount of rent plus any non-refundable fees. ––Knowing this, you can estimate your monthly costs. You can then make sure the rental unit fits your budget.
Renters are able to inspect the unit before deciding to rent. When you go to the showing, make sure the following items work properly:
Lights and switches— all work with no popping noises
Kitchen and Bathroom Faucets–Make sure sinks drain, are not leaking and water temp changes properly
Toilets– check for leaks, toilets that keep running, flush properly
Smoke detectors–should be right outside each bedroom and in the main common area on each floor if 2 or more stories
Ceilings and walls– look for cracks and water stains, it could mean there are bigger issues such as the roof or foundation
Deadbolts on exterior doors– safety should always be a main priority
Windows– make sure windows are secure, locks work and storm windows and screens are available if not on
Furnace and A/C– turn the temperature up and down to make sure it kicks on
Water heater– look for leaks
If you find any repair issues, get a list in writing of promised repairs and an estimated completion date.
Don’t sign a rental agreement until you receive this list. It will safeguard you from unnecessary repairs during your rental agreement.
Rental agreements DO NOT have to be in writing, agreements can be verbal. Most landlords do use written leases. You have the right to read it before signing
If you decide to rent, you have the right a copy of the rental agreement. Keep this in a safe place. You can refer to it if you have any questions during your rental period.
Landlords must tell you upfront about fees such as earnest money, security deposits or credit check fees.
Earnest money: If You decide not to rent, the landlord may withhold costs or damages. Upon rejecting an application, the management company or landlord must return your earnest money by the end of the next business day.
Security deposits are always a misunderstood area. This should help clear up any confusion. When you move in, you have 7 days to inspect and tell the management company of any repair issues. You should get a check-in sheet to keep track of any issues you find. If not, make your own. Be sure to make a copy before turning it in to the landlord.
If you don’t turn in the check in sheet within those 7 days, you will be giving up your right to show there were pre-existing issues when you moved in. You will not be able to contest money taken from your security deposit when you move out.
Landlords can deduct money from your security deposit for unpaid rent, damages tenants are responsible for due to waste or neglect and utility bills. If you keep your unit clean, fix anything that you or your guests damage and inform the management company when issues start, you’ll get more of your security deposit back when you move.
Property management companies and landlords have 21 days to return you deposit along with an itemized list of any deductions.
You also have the right to see a list of damages charged to the previous tenant.
It is necessary to run a credit report when renting. Landlords may charge you up to $20 to run a credit report from one of the national agencies as long as you know in advance.
You can provide a credit report, if you have one that is less than 30 days old and save yourself any fees.
Pets are not always welcome—Before you buy that cute dog, kitty or huge fish tank, check your lease. There are dog breeds that due to insurance regulations, landlords can’t have in rental properties for tenant safety and safety of the neighbors. Don’t put yourself in the situation of having to get rid of a new pet because you didn’t check with your management company first.
Most leases have limits on the weight of a fish tank due to damage they can do to the floor. It is a smart move to again consult your lease for specifications.
Some properties only allow dogs or cats. Follow the lease agreement and you will find a pet covered by the rules and one that makes you happy.
For a full explanation of the Landlord/Tenant regulations summarized here, you can visit the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection of WI or click the link here.
If you have any questions about the rental process or to locate a house or apartment to rent, contact a local property management company such as Day Property Management in Appleton at 920-968-0626 or firstname.lastname@example.org to help you.
Protect your rights and start renting your new home or apartment today!