TenantsTips / USA / How to avoid Unscrupulous US Landlords and get your Deposit for Rent back

How to avoid Unscrupulous US Landlords and get your Deposit for Rent back

Although unscrupulous landlords are far from the norm in the USA, they nonetheless exist and prospective tenants must be wary.

These landlords are often motivated by greed and will go to significant lengths to make money, particularly by stealing your deposit for rent and otherwise failing to properly maintain your rented home.In this article we will discuss some simple ways to ensure you do not lose the large amount of money that makes up your rental deposit. Getting this deposit refunded is even more important if you needed to take out a bank loan in order to pay for it.

Check out the Landlord’s credentials.

Some very basic internet research is one of the easiest ways to evaluate whether or not you should sign the lease for a property. Simply do a Google search for the property name, the landlord's name, or the estate agent to see whether there have been any complaints in the past. Often it is a wise idea to avoid private rentals and deal with real estate agents because it is in their interest to behave in a legal manner in order to protect their reputation. You can also check with your local Better Business Bureau or search their website database (www.bbb.org) to see if the real estate agent is accredited with the Bureau. Finally, it is also worth asking your friends and other people you know if they have had any dealings with that particular landlord or estate agent.

Talk to existing and past tenants of the rental property

If you intend to lease a unit that is part of a duplex or apartment complex it is a great idea to talk to the other tenants and ask what they like and dislike about living at that property. It is worth talking to at least two current tenants if possible (and any past tenants you can find) so that you get as balanced a view as possible. After all, some people will put up with a lot more than others and as we shall discuss later, not every tenant is fully aware of their rights.Ask whether the unit complex is properly maintained, whether the landlord/agent responds quickly to requests for repairs to be carried out, what the neighborhood is like and, if you are talking to past tenants, whether they got their full deposit for rent back.

Inspect the rental property personally.

It should go without saying that every prospective tenant should carefully inspect the property before they actually sign any formal agreement or lease.As mentioned above, internet research can play a large part in helping you avoid unscrupulous US landlords/agents but internet research can be a trap if not used wisely.

Google Street view allows you to look at properties from the comfort of your home. However, prospective tenants need to remember that these photos may be a number of years old. For this reason it is always best to personally inspect the property.

Know your Tenant Rental Rights

By far the best way to protect your rental deposit is to know your rights. Ensure that your deposit for rent is the correct legal amount. The exact amount, as well as your other rights and responsibilities, can vary from State to State. You can find out much of the relevant information on the web at http://www.hud.gov/consumer/local.cfm.

Rental Deposit Loan

If you need to take out some form of loan, such as a bank loan, to pay the deposit for rent thoroughly assess your budget to ensure you will be able to repay the loan. Also take into the account the fact that the interest on the loan will also need to be paid. We have some background informtation on deposit loans


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