Tuesday

10 Hot Household Items You May Need this Summer

What typically happens during the summer? The children are out of school and complain of boredom, unexpected relatives show up, and the sun shines more brightly in your home exposing one’s dirty carpet, outdated curtains, stained furniture, and other ugly yard. It may be time for a thorough house cleaning and not the kind where you take a paper towel and wipe off a table kind either!

Look around your home and what do you see? Are there some old, broken items that have to go? Have you been putting off buying some things to get your children yet another toy? It’s time to put the bored children to work and give your home a makeover with some of these hot items that are often on sale year after year!

Outdoor patio furniture

The major discount stores have all kinds of sets. From rust free aluminum frame dining sets to in expensive resin patio sets. Whatever your taste or budget, it’s time to invest in some outdoor furniture for those upcoming parties!

Pool and Beach towels

Your children may be climbing the walls, worrying you about going to the pool! They will need towels for the community pool. But you may have a small yard behind a duplex, you may be allowed to include a simple blow up type on the property. Ask your landlord first.

Flowers & Plants

Make your home an inviting, happy place! Decorate the indoors with everything from plastic plants to real indoor houseplants. Then go outside and start planting some seed! Many of your packaged flower seeds are inexpensive. If you don’t want to get down and dirty purchase flowering hanging baskets.

Indoor furniture

Those uninvited guest just might pop over for a visit and if you have furniture that you are ashamed of, this might be a good time to pitch it! Love-seats, sofas, and recliners are always on sale. Some of the cheaper furniture is a bomber jacket style, soft as suede microfiber. Of course if you have more money to spend, you may want to decorate your living-room with durable, stylish wood furniture in a variety of colors. A little more money add a storage ottoman to complete your set.

Airbeds

When out of town guests come you may want to save them some hotel money by offering to let them stay at your place. If so, you may not have an additional bed. However, there are ways around spending a wad of cash. Airbeds are good to sleep on for overnight visitors. They are comfortable enough for a short visit, any longer and they will send anyone packing!

By Nicholl McGuire

Thursday

10 Things Residents See Apartment Staff Do But Don’t Report

Have you ever noticed suspicious behaviors of resident managers and maintenance crew and wondered whether or not they should be doing what they do? Although some things are not written in your lease contract, there are rules that staff are suppose to follow internally and you wouldn’t know it unless you knew someone who worked on the inside. When you see any of the staff at your property doing the following things, notify corporate headquarters or the property owners. However, if you rent from a private owner, they may not have any specific protocol, but you should make them aware anyhow. Sometimes the owner is the one at fault and if so there are states' laws that every landlord is to follow. You will need to contact your local government for a handbook that lists those laws and your rights.

One. The on-site laundry facilities, gym equipment, business center, pool, or other areas being used by management for personal reasons.

You may have seen your property manager firing up the grill for a party, maybe swimming in the pool with friends, or washing his or her clothes in the laundry room, unless he or she is an on-site manager that lives at the apartment complex, they shouldn’t be doing it. You are paying for those amenities and they are meant to be enjoyed by the residents not the staff. It is an inconvenience to the residents living onsite that need to wash their clothes or have a celebration in the party room and the staff are using them. Do everyone a favor in your building and report them to corporate headquarters when you see them doing it.

Two. Managers and maintenance entering your apartment without residents knowing about it.

You are away at work not suspecting that anyone would be looking around in your apartment. Then one day you come home to discover that something in your apartment is out of place. You call the main office and they tell you that one of the maintenance men were checking for leaking faucets that day. Proper protocol should have been to leave a note by the one who had entered your apartment. Even better, some companies will notify you with a letter at least a week in advance letting you know that someone will be entering your apartment for routine maintenance. However, for emergencies there is no time to let you know in advance, but staff is still expected to leave a note letting you know when they came into your apartment and what they did while there.

Three. Management and maintenance staff inspecting residents’ trash.

Sometimes residents will leave trash in places they shouldn’t have, if you are one of those residents stop it. But if you do, maintenance is not allowed to go through your trash to find out who left it, remove plastic containers, or look for some hidden treasure. There are always those cases where trash will tip over, break, or come open and will need to be cleaned up. However, you are responsible for properly disposing of trash. Some managers will issue warnings then later serve evictions to residents for property damage.

Four. Management or staff removing packages or mail placed by the mail carrier from a resident’s mailbox or front of their door.

This one is tricky. Let’s say you have a good relationship with management and he or she was concerned about your package sitting out in front of your door for days at a time, they may remove it and take it to their office. You may have been away for awhile and your mailbox is full, so management may remove your mail at your request. However, many will not touch your mail or packages no matter how full your mailbox gets or how long a package stays outside of your door. The reason for this is that they do not want to be held responsible if your mail or package is damaged, stolen, or lost. When you are out of town it is better to designate a loved one, friend or neighbor to clean out your mailbox for you if it should overflow. The mail carrier may give the overflow of mail to management, but not always. He or she may leave a note indicating that you will have to pick up your mail at the post office.

Five. Staff showing up announced at a resident’s apartment for personal reasons or entering it unannounced such as helping themselves to some food or watching television.

When you moved into your new apartment, the last thing you expected was to be harassed by management or maintenance about going out on a date, attending an event, joining a business opportunity, visiting a church or whatever other reason they felt it was necessary to knock on your door almost daily. You also didn’t expect that someone from the staff would abuse their privileges of entering the apartment without you being at home. In situations like this, you will want to notify the corporate office and if they persist, contact your local law enforcement.

Six. Management failing to acknowledge a resident’s requests within a 24-48 hour period.

It should never take any longer than three days for anyone to get back to you about a work order request. Efficient staff will respond either that same day depending on how early you called or by the following day. Residents should never have to wait weeks at a time for a request to be granted. If you find that no matter what you ask for management just doesn’t seem to be on top of your requests, you will have to notify their boss or better yet, check your local business directory for an organization that handles tenant and landlord disputes.

Seven. Managers threatening or harassing a resident about rent.

Most states will give you a thirty day notice before they evict you. If you find that you notified management a week in advance about paying rent late and they are calling you a week later about the rent, you will want to remind them that you are aware of your rights and that you will have the rent as soon as you can. The reason why they want you to have it on the day you may have promised is because they know they have a deadline to meet when it comes to filing court papers against you. You will want to re-read your lease to find it if there are any points you may have missed regarding the payment of rent. Also, find out what your state’s laws are in regard to late rent payments.

Eight. Managers failing to make residents aware of rent increases, lease renewals, changes in management and other things related to their lease contract.

You should not be suddenly told that the property is being bought, your rent will be increased next month, and other similar things without receiving a formal notice from management. Anything that may affect your stay should always be made in writing. Never assume anything without contacting management for yourself or requesting to speak with someone at corporate headquarters. Managers are supposed to give you this information if you request it.

Nine. Managers allowing outside contractors to come into resident’s homes while they are away without staying with them or letting them know they have been there.

You may have a problem with your phone line, need cable turned on, or some other issue, management is never suppose to give outside contractors your apartment key for them to let themselves into your home. Rather, someone from the staff should be escorting the contractor through the property and unlocking the door for him or her. Most staff will leave your apartment door open while they are in your home as a safety precaution and so that you are not startled if you should come home early. They are also expected to leave a note or call you to let you know that they were in your apartment.

Ten. Managers copying master keys and leaving them with a resident’s family or neighbors.

If you as a tenant choose to leave a copy with your family or neighbor that is your business, but managers should never leave copies of your keys with anyone without your written request to do so. If there is some kind of lock out program enforced, then there may be a reason why someone onsite needs to be available to let people into their apartments. Otherwise, if there is no such program and you are not made aware that someone other than staff has a copy of your apartment key, then they are violating your rights. Once again, notify corporate headquarters, the property owners, or your local police about the matter.

When you live in an apartment complex, know what is going on with management and your neighbors. Read the company newsletters, if they have any, and know about any upcoming changes that may be happening in management and on the property. Also, be friendly with at least one of your neighbors by waving, helping them carry something, knocking on their door if mail was mistakenly placed in your box or you noticed something strange. Keep your ears open to rumors and call management to confirm the truth. When you make attempts such as these to get to know the people in your community, they may be helpful to you in the future by watching your property, assisting you when you need help, and keeping you informed of the latest happenings.

By Nicholl McGuire

Tuesday

Property Management Marketing Schemes

Sometimes there are those people in the property management industry that are less than honest. They will do just about anything to get people into a rental unit including lie.

The following are some things you may want to pay close attention to when speaking to a leasing consultant over the phone as well as once you arrive to see the unit.

Description.

What you hear isn't always what you see when speaking to property representatives. So with that said, ignore the adjectives about the property and get straight to the matters that concern you. A consultant may say, "We have spacious bedrooms, vaulted ceilings, a beautiful community room, and a wonderful staff." But leave out, the peeling paint on the front and sides of the building and how the children are often seen running rampant around the property without their parents.

Apartment descriptions sound real nice over the phone, but aren't you concerned about the exact size, how many bedrooms and bathrooms and whether or not you have a garage for your car? Don't let the consultant dominate the conversation with fluff (even though some are trained that way); rather, state what you need and how soon.

Also, don't forget to drive to the property after hours and on weekends when you want to get a good look at the people who live there and the upkeep. Property managers are forbidden by law to tell you the ethnicity of residents, whether they have a lot of children staying there, and other things related to the people who live on the property. If you are concerned about criminal activity on the site, do the following: check with local police, visit the local newspaper website and review their local crime reports. Finally, search for community forums that talk about the property online.

Availability.

Let's say you are told a unit is available upstairs, but once you arrive you find out there is no apartment available upstairs. The remaining units are all downstairs. Now one of two things may have happened, someone in the office didn't update their notes on available units or someone rented the unit before you could make up your mind to drive over and see it. These are honest issues that come up--nothing deceptive about these. However, there are those property managers who already know a certain unit is not available, but due to pressure placed upon them from their corporate office to rent more apartment units, they may not be totally upfront about what is available. Therefore, when you arrive you may be told something like, "Well the one you wanted is no longer available. But, we do have another unit like it coming available next month. How about we take a look at one downstairs so you can see the floor plan? It is identical to the one upstairs." This tactic does two things: forces you to come to the property with your contact information (so the manager can follow up.) The other is to open your mind up to taking another unit--even though it isn't the one you originally wanted.

Location.

Anyone who is renting an apartment is concerned about how near or far the apartment community is to everything. When you call seeking information about the surroundings, the property manager is going to focus on the glass half full every time you ask a question. Therefore, he or she is going to talk about how easy it is to get on the freeway from the apartment complex, but he or she will leave out how most major shopping malls are not within walking distance. In fact, you will need transportation in order to visit. The manager may not say anything about the absence of a bus-line, the driving distance of local schools or other things that may keep you from visiting the property. Sometimes what isn't said is just as deceptive as what is said.

Price.

What you are told over the phone may be different upon your arrival especially if certain apartments have been recently discounted. For example, some managers will discount certain units because they don't have as many windows as others or maybe they are near something in the apartment building that may be considered a nuisance like elevator doors or a storage room for residents. However, sometimes a price that should be discounted isn't. There also may be one price said over the phone to get you to come visit the apartment and a totally different one once you arrive. Keep in mind that the lower price units are usually efficiencies, one bedrooms or units that lack certain features. That "sounds too good to be true" price quote is just that--too good.

There you have it, some tips to keep in mind the next time you call a company seeking an apartment. To your success in finding a good apartment!

Monday

The Waiting List


So you call an apartment community only to find out that there is a waiting list--bummer! Now what to do?

One. Ask the leasing consultant when will an apartment be made available.

Sometimes the waiting lists are short, some people on the list may no longer qualify and other factors tend to come up that may move applicants up on the list quickly, so don't get off the phone without getting this important information.

Two. Find out how you can get on the waiting list.

You could request an application be sent to your current address. Once it arrives, review it, fill it out and then await a possible reference number or something that indicates what place you are in line for the next available unit. Some communities may respond with a letter confirming your place; however, others will not and may not have such a system in place.

Three. Ask about referral properties.

Sometimes property management has other locations that have suites available. Find out where and call them to schedule an appointment. However, keep in mind they may have waiting lists too.

Four. Make a note on your calendar to call at a later date.

As with any office, some managers get very busy, you may not be able to get all the details in one phone call, so make a note on your calendar to call again. Also, you will want to pen when you should call back to see if any apartments have since become free.

By N. McGuire

Sunday

Things You Need to Check When Being Shown an Apartment or Town Home

While walking or driving down a street you see a move-in special! You can't wait to see how much you are going to save and whether the living space will accommodate you and/or your family.

Sometimes we are in such a rush to find a place to stay that we overlook the little things when being shown our new home.

Whether you are moving into an apartment, townhouse (also known as a duplex), or home, consider the following things before you sign that leasing contract and hand over your security deposit.

One. Underneath cabinets.

Look for pipes with signs of rust and leaks. Check inside of cabinets for molds and mildews. If you don't know what signs of water damage and molds look like, search the Internet for photographs.

Two. Floor along baseboards and crevices.

Those unidentifiable black crumbs just might be dead bugs on the floor. Those dirt specks on the window seal or bubble patches in the paint might be signs of termites. Look closely for evidence of a previous insect and rodent problem. If the issue still exists, you might even notice an odor.

Three. Toilet.

Badly worn sink fixtures, low water pressure and other issues when using the sink, shower and toilet aren't always obvious; therefore, they might be problematic in the future. However, it doesn't hurt to turn on a faucet, flush a toilet or run the bath and shower to see if all are operable.

Four. Sinks.

When filling the sink with water, does the water stay filled up when the stopper is in use? You can check on this while looking elsewhere in the apartment then come back to see if there is any change. Is the water hot and stays that way? Run it for awhile to see. Check the cold water as well. Does it work? Is there a slow leak under the sink? Listen and look for problems in any room that has water fixtures.

Five. Showers and Tubs.

Test the shower and tub. Sometimes rust particles will come from old fixtures and pipes. The last thing you want to discover upon move in is that you can't take a bath. Shower heads sometimes get clogged and will need to be replaced. You don't want to have to spend unnecessary money once you move in trying to get these things fixed.

Six. Odors.

Landlords will use all sorts of cleaning agents and air fresheners to mask the smell of mold and mildew inside an apartment, odors from a nearby garbage can, dead rodents behind a wall, fumes from a car garage across the street, or a neighbor who has an interesting taste in food or isn't that fond of keeping his or her house clean.

Open up cabinets and sniff. Crack open a window and smell the air. Don't take this sort of thing lightly if you are a person who has environmental allergies.

Seven. Unsightly damages, stains and missing items.

You might notice something is broken, missing, has a weird stain or a hole. Think about this for a moment, if maintenance didn't take care of this before the apartment was shown, there is a good possibility that they won't once the lease contract is signed. Don't sign anything until your needs are met!!

Now that you have seven tips to keep in mind when looking at a place, do understand that not everything will be to your liking especially when numerous people have lived in a place prior to your arrival. However, this doesn't excuse the fact that your basic requests should be granted. If a property manager can't handle them, avoid doing business with them.

By N. McGuire

Wednesday

Simple Moving Advice: Large Apartment to Smaller One

It's that time of year again to determine whether you will be living in your current apartment or moving. The rent has become unaffordable now that you are no longer receiving the income you once had. As you look around your apartment, you have to make the painful decision of what you will pack and what will be sold, given and thrown away. This is a personal time for you that may be best spent alone before you invite the family over to help you pack.

Begin to make a list or sort the items that mean the most to you by thinking, "If there were a fire what would I absolutely become depressed about it if I lost it?" Pack those things first. For some people it may be their treasured photos, diaries, family videos, certificates, awards, and jewelry. Include important insurance and tax information in boxes or suitcases that will be easy to find and unpack later.

Next, you may want to start with your collection of media removing all items that you don't watch, read or listen to anymore. Try to sell what you can through classifieds, fliers, yard sales, flea markets, and the Internet. What doesn't sell you can offer it to a media exchange outlet that will give you money for your used goods or give it to a donation center. Perform the same sorting method with clothes, shoes, kitchen appliances, living and dining room décor and furniture, and unopened beauty and cleaning products that you never bothered using.

Once you have emptied out shelves and cabinets, be sure to throw away unnecessary papers, pens, damaged magazines (but try to sell the good ones,) and miscellaneous parts that are broke and you don't have the need for anymore. Oftentimes, companies will specifically make a part for a certain item that can't be used on anything else. Loose change may be found in peculiar places as you pack, jar it and take it to a coin center that will count your money. Most of these machines can be found in grocery stores.
After you have parted with some of your belongings and got rid of the items you considered useless, you will want to decide on whether your new apartment will be able to accommodate the large sofa and chairs or the huge entertainment center you may have bought not that long ago. If you choose to sell it, then you will have additional space in your new place that you may need. However, if you don't, you may have to sacrifice something else. Some people will invest in storage, but is it really worth paying to store items that you just don't know when you will be able to get out? If you are renting furniture then you won't have to bother with storing or selling anything; however, you may want to consider losing the additional expense if you don't have any of the furniture nearly paid off (such as 3 to 6 months left on your bill until you own it.) If saving money is a priority, then avoid storing or renting items.

Think about turning off any unnecessary luxuries and keeping them turned off temporarily such as the cable package with all the extra movie channels or the Internet service. Allow yourself some time to get caught up on other bills before you have your service continued. Check your cell phone plan is it better than most? Could you save money by switching? Make the time to shop at stores that offer rewards for being their customer and use coupons at grocery stores that will double them. These attempts at saving money will provide you with the additional money to get caught up on bills, make small purchases for your new home, and save for emergencies. Make a promise to yourself that you will be more careful with how you spend your money in the future so that you may never have to downgrade to a smaller apartment again, because you can't afford the rent.

The last thing on your "to do" list once you have sorted and packed all the items you decided to keep, should be to purchase the items you will need to help you live organized and clutter free. The following list will help you decide what you will need to buy based on what you may or may not have.

Anything that can be mounted to the wall, get the mounts to do it. If you have no free storage room at your new apartment complex and you have a bike, mount it to a wall to make more room and keep the tires off the floor. Also, purchase a TV mount with a VCR or DVD section like the ones you may have seen at the doctor's office. They aren't cheap, but they will definitely provide you with the additional space that an entertainment center takes up.

Any books, CDs, or DVDs that you kept can be set on a wall shelf. Collectibles can also be placed in a curio cabinet or something similar that suspends to a wall. Photos in boxes may be sorted and placed in large picture frames and hung on walls. Keepsake mementos can be framed allowing you to get rid of old shoeboxes and photo albums. You can also create more space for your media by purchasing a traveling CD case and getting rid of the CD stand along with the jewel cases.
If you don't have a bed rail or box frame with drawers for a bed, then consider buying one. They will provide the extra storing space you will need for your bedroom items. For the bed rail frames, they will set your bed higher allowing space for plastic containers to be stored.

Don't cramp any of your rooms with useless whimsical furniture that can hold or store any additional items. Keep only the tables that can hold a lamp and some magazines or have drawers.

Don't go overboard with décor. Too many collectibles and décor will make your apartment feel crowded. If you aren't use to a lot of décor, don't start. In time you will have to dust those items and if you don't like to dust, don't get them.

Avoid the temptation to unpack anything that you know you don't need to use on a daily basis. Any large boxes that aren't being unpacked, you can always drape them with a pretty fabric (such as curtains) and make them as a corner table or nightstand in your bedroom. Another way to hide unpacked boxes is to suspend a curtain from the ceiling and hide items behind the curtain, now you have just created your own mini storage room.

Consider back of the door organizers for the bathroom and bedroom. Since drawer and shelf space may be limited, you may want to place your smaller items in the pockets. In the bathroom, if there is space over the toilet, use that space for additional shelving to store towels and washcloths. If you run out of drawer room above the sink, use shoebox containers to store additional items or a drawer organizer or bin for easy access to your grooming supplies.

The most chairs you may need for entertaining is two reading chairs in the living room, if you don't have the space for a large couch. This will also provide the space for your computer desk and office chair. Unless you must have a coffee table, keep it only if it has drawers they would be helpful to your storing needs. It isn't necessary to keep end tables unless you have the space for them. They can sometimes be more of a problem then a solution. When guest come over the tables tempt them to want to eat and drink in your living room increasing the risk for accidents that may stain the owner's carpet that you will have to eventually pay for out of your security deposit.
You may or may not have a dining room. If you do, then you will need at least one large cabinet that you could place your collectibles if it has a display case. If you don't have any collectibles to display, then

purchase a cabinet with doors that you could store coats, umbrellas, hats and other outdoor apparel and sporting equipment.

Consider packing all of your keepsakes in those empty suitcases you will be storing in your bedroom. Since you won't be doing a lot of traveling, why have them in your closet empty? Organize your shoes with a shoe organizer. As for bulky items, the space saver bags that have been advertised on TV in the past will definitely come in handy.

In the kitchen, wall space can also be best used for large skillets and pans. Purchase hooks that can hold items inside the cupboard. The space over the sink could use a nice shelf to hold lighter items. Purchase shelving for seasonings if there is an empty wall near the stove. Extra kitchen utensils can be placed in casserole dishes or other large containers if you run out of drawer room. Keep only your best cleaning products, the ones that can be used on a variety of surfaces. Too many cleaners that only work for specific tasks can take up a lot of space in the bottom of your cabinet. Buy a very large plastic bowl, basket or rack to organize those items. You will need something that can remove all of your items under the sink at one time in case there are ever any leaks.

As you visit various stores, you will come up with more ways to make your apartment more organized and efficient. Remember to take this time to enjoy your new life and appreciate your new home no matter how small it may be. Think of the money you will be able to save in the future, hopefully for a down payment on a new home!

By N. McGuire

Tuesday

What to Do When You Have Problems Paying Rent

A situation has occurred in your life that has left you almost penniless. You thought by the time rent was due you would be able to pay it, but unfortunately you don't have the money. What do you do when you can't pay the rent?

The biggest mistake apartment renters make when they are in this position is to not let the apartment manager know as soon as it happens. Waiting until days before the rent is due will only add more misery to your situation. Apartment managers need time to accommodate you and if they don't have the time, it makes it even harder for you to get what you want. The time they need is important depending on what they are willing to negotiate with you. They may want to advertise the apartment, move someone else in who may be on a waiting list or any number of other reasons. There are also company policies for when a tenant gives notice to move out.

Let's say you found out your job will be dismissing employees in March, and you may be one of the people they let go, besides looking for a job, you should be checking your lease. Somewhere in your rental contract should be information on what will happen if you can't pay your rent or if it is late.

Some rental agreements may allow you to be dismissed from the contract if you receive a new job 100 miles away, have to leave due to military duties or if the primary lease holder leaves the apartment. Know what your lease says, before you visit the manager's office. Also, check to see what are the penalties if you are late with rent? Not paying on time might lead to a negative on your credit report, late fees and even an eviction. Find out how much more you will have to pay each day that it is late. How long do you have to pay the balance? Can you arrange a payment plan with management? Be prepared to discuss these questions with the apartment manager as soon as you know you can't pay the rent.

Don't pay rent and late fees with a bounced check. Some landlords will waive (forgive) the late fee if there is a good reason for the rent being late, and if you are a responsible tenant. Paying the rent with a check knowing you have no money in the bank will cause more problems for you. A dishonored or bounced check is charged to the landlord; therefore, he or she will pass on a service charge to you. However, he or she cannot charge you a returned check fee if it is not stated in the lease agreement.

Partial rent payment may be acceptable. You may consider paying part of the rent; yet if you choose to do this, your landlord may accept it and still give you an eviction notice. If the landlord is willing to accept partial rent and provide you with extra time to pay the balance, be sure your agreement is in writing. The written agreement should state the amount of rent you paid, the date due when the rest of the money should be paid, the amount of any late fees, and the landlord's agreement not to evict you if you pay the amount due by that date. Both of you should sign the agreement. This type of agreement is legally binding.

Security deposit can't be used for payment. If you are thinking of using your security deposit to pay the rent, think again. The landlord will not use your security deposit to pay the rent since the deposit is used for damages and repairs to the apartment. Check your lease agreement for details.

Subleasing may be forbidden. Some renters will attempt to move someone else in the suite, not a good idea. Review your lease on subleasing. Most contracts do not allow you to sublet an apartment. Since most companies will do background checks on whose moving in their apartment community, the person you are considering to move in the apartment will have to be checked, their income must be verified and all parties moving in must sign the lease contract just as you did. If management should find out this is what you have done, your relative or friend will be evicted immediately. Your credit rating will be negatively affected and you may have to undergo an appearance in court resulting in more fees to pay. This arrangement is simply not worth it!

Move out notice. If you should decide to move out, whether your lease is for a year or month to month, know you must give proper notice. You will not be released from either type of contract if you are planning to move out without giving proper notice. The notice should be at least 30 days before you move. Some apartment managers may allow you to end your term early if they can rent out your apartment quickly given the nature of your problem. Some landlords may end a tenancy early and give you a 30 or 60 day notice if you have lived in the rental unit less than a year, the landlord has contracted to sell the rental unit, or other reasons you will have to check with your state's department of consumer affairs office.

Once you have made an arrangement with the landlord to move out, you will have to be sure the entire apartment is clean in order to receive your security deposit. However, the landlord may keep it, so be sure you ask whether moving out early will affect receiving your security deposit. If it doesn't and you are still entitled to get it, be sure all nail holes in walls are filled, damages repaired, leaks are reported to maintenance and appliances work, light bulbs are not blown out in fixtures, and the carpet is cleaned professionally with a receipt of proof given to the management. If you are planning to use the deposit for another apartment, consider this, your security deposit will not come to you the same day you move out you will have to wait at least a month before it is returned to you.

In summary, your best option when you know you can't pay the rent is to review the lease, know the tenant's rights in your state, and notify the landlord as soon as it happens and hopefully he or she will be able to accept a payment arrangement or allow you to break your lease without penalty.

By N. McGuire

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Over 20 years office work experience, six years completed college coursework, background in print media and communications, recognized for exceptional attendance and received merit increase for past job performance, self-published author and part-time entrepreneur, Internet marketing and social media experience. Interned for non-profit organization, women's group and community service business. Additional experience: teaching/training others, customer service and sales. Learn more at Nicholl McGuire and Nicholl McGuire Media