Wednesday

Contingent Upon: Two Powerful Words to Ensure Things Get Done

Prior to collecting the prospect's money to hold an apartment, the future resident signed my former employer's standard form that detailed all transaction such as how much was received from the prospect to hold the apartment, when other payments are expected, etc.  But there was just one thing that we, the leasing staff,  didn't anticipate was when our potential leaseholder signed her name and then included: "CONTINGENT UPON THE FOLLOWING THINGS WILL BE DONE PRIOR TO MOVE-IN..."  She proceeded to list the things we said during the tour that would be fixed.  Her expression after signing her name said it all, she meant business.  Do what you promise or else.

Sadly, I must admit that many renters don't get what they want because they are just too happy about the amenities or the exterior to look real close at cover ups, false promises, and more that some owners, managers, and leasing staff claim they will "take care of..."  Then when move-in day comes, the same screen with the hole is still there, the missing knob from one of the drawers is still off, and the shower head that doesn't work has yet to be replaced.  You might know the feeling.

So be adamant, don't pay unless things go your way!

Nicholl McGuire

6 Signs You Don’t Want to Move-In With Someone


Sometimes we agree to move in with people out of desperation, emotional commitment, and other reasons.  However, we are making a bad mistake when we choose to move in with someone anyway when there are many red flags all over the place!  Here are a few signs to pass on signing an apartment leasing contract with your potential roommate, boyfriend, girlfriend or relative.  (For sake of space and time, the person in this writing will be referred to as “He”).

One.  He shows up late to an appointment without his half of the money.

Two.  He lies on his application.

Three.  He appears to be too friendly with everyone who is living there including flirting with the staff. 

Four.  He tells you one thing and you find out another about the suite and then another and another.

Five.  He attempts to cover up something about his past by talking over what the apartment leasing consultant or manager is telling you both, changing details, ignoring facts, or attempting to argue.

Six.  He makes false promises on what he is going to pay and do while in the suite and when you question him on things he becomes irritable, impatient, and even goes so far as to tell you what you will and won’t do in an angry tone.

There are other signs you should pay attention to like your future roommate’s mannerisms, the kind of questions he asks or doesn’t ask, whether he communicates with staff about his account, and any warnings that others around you might be giving you about your roommate.  Also, notice how this person organizes his current atmosphere.  Is he or you often clean or unclean?  Do you have a long history of financial issues with this person? 

When you pay attention to the early signs before committing to a leasing contract, you can save yourself future problems like showing up one day in court because you can’t seem to pay your rent due to your irresponsible roommate.  

Monday

Apartment Shopping Tips | Off-Campus | Housing Options | DePaul University

Something for college students...

Plan on moving off campus? Know what you are getting yourself into before you sign the rental contract.

Apartment Shopping Tips | Off-Campus | Housing Options | DePaul University

Tuesday

Community Cover Ups - What Some Don't Want You to Know

Have you ever worked for an establishment that was less than honest?  If so, then you know you were most likely left with a choice either tell the truth, tell part of the truth, leave the truth out, or walk away.  For some of us, we looked for the opportune time and left different groups, settings, and people because they just didn't meet our personal standards.  They were either dishonest with the way they did things or deceptive when explaining them so at times they may have even left you scratching your head.  Of course, there were some shades of gray with these deceitful people that most likely moved some of you to leave your fields behind altogether, but for the sake of time, I will get on with the topic of this blog entry entitled, Community Cover Ups : What Some Don't Want You to Know.  In the property management industry there are those who are in the know about everything that is going on at the top.  From the personal interests of the building owner to what the secretary likes for lunch.  These same people also know what not to say or do to peeve the owner, investors and others.  Therefore, they will make sure employees do what is asked, no questions asked.

Now the cover up comes in to play usually when someone on the outside starts looking in at the inner workings of the company.  The resident who comes with a complaint is going to start asking questions.  He or she wants to know why something has been overlooked in his or her apartment, town home or rented house.  Now those who are out in the field, low level apartment management, only know what is being told to them by corporate management, those who run the business and all its employees.  So if corporate instructs community managers not to hold off on getting this thing or that thing fixed, then that's what they are going to do.  If those who work at the top are having some money troubles, they aren't going to let everyone privy on what is happening anyway.  Of course, there are those who manage to find out things; however, they know that if they do too much talking their jobs will be at risk, so they whisper amongst each other and talk in code with residents as if some day someone is not going to open up their mouths and say, "But she said...He told me that..."

The ones who have no clue what is really going on in the "big house" are those who have no direct access to those at the top unless owners just so happen to visit their properties.  So when the maintenance guy finds out that a resident has an ongoing issue in his dwelling, it is quite natural for him to act surprise and say, "I was unaware.  Was there a work order placed with the office?  Did anyone come out?"

Behind the scenes there is a lot happening and it isn't always pleasant.  Managers must meet budgets.  Owners must pay people.  And of course, residents must be happy.  But if there are some money problems at the top, personality differences, and other shady dealings then all those things will eventually come trickling down into the community at large.  Once happy residents are now unhappy.  Maintenance and housekeeping workers start thinking about working elsewhere.  Leasing consultants don't work as hard as they use to and managers they are left holding everyone's bags.  Meanwhile all the resident wants to know is, "When is someone going to come out here and fix my stuff!  I waited two weeks already!  If someone doesn't come out here fast, I think I will be contacting my lawyer!"  Does management want that?  Of course not.  However, there are those owners who are as tough as nails.  It doesn't matter what a resident threatens to do.  He or she will hold out for as long as he or she can until the resident decides he or she will move.  Now that might cost the tenant since he or she signed the contract, but contracts can be broken if owners and management are in agreement. then again maybe not--it all depends on how long and how loud the disgruntled resident screams.

So what about those cover ups, you might ask.  Why bother with them in the first place?  Why don't everyone just do their jobs?  In a perfect world, that would happen, but we don't live in any perfect world.  Look at our society far too many people are more concerned about money rather than relationship building.  It's just easier for some to pass the buck.  "That's not my job...I don't care...Why should I do anything that's not my prospect?" These are just a few of many, many statements staff say to one another.  The cover ups tend to come into play when someone along the chain of command screws up.  From paperwork to promises, a staff member opened up his or her mouth too soon about: assisting a resident, saying a job was complete before it was even started, knowing how to do something when the worker really doesn't have a clue, committing to a relationship with a staff member or a resident and now there is World War III affecting one's job performance, and more.  Management then has to make wrongs right by smiling and reaching some sort of compromise with the resident while frowning at his or her irresponsible employee.  This compromise might cost a little or a lot of money, both of which no manager wants to have come out of his or her budget if he or she can help it.  But let's just say that a cover-up does cost a lot of money to fix, now corporate is involved.  "Why are we spending XYZ for this?  What did your maintenance guy do?  What the#$%^&?" a boss doesn't want his lunch coming back up behind some on-the-job foolishness.

Other cover ups include things like, literally painting over something that should have been fixed prior to move in or taping duct tape to fix something that should have never been fixed with tape!   I have actually witnessed some things like this.  I was also the unhappy resident ready to blow up on someone too!  Old water stains covered up with a little paint by owners who don't want to repair a roof because it cost more than they can afford to pay.  I guess they assumed that it would never rain and reveal their tacky job?  Although I saw this situation developing prior to move-in, I couldn't get the one who signed the lease to recognize the problem beforehand.  Then there are those cover ups when it comes to things like electrical problems.  I was a victim in this situation too.  Apparently the crackling behind the wall and a blown out outlet had been overlooked, at least, so they say.  Then there are things like insect problems which I had been promised that the issue had been taken care of only to be welcomed by a few too many critters.

Leasing units with un-supportive management is one of the worse situations to be in when working in the apartment management industry.  You experience unnecessary stress from both sides.  The corporate office wants to see numbers, yet they don't recognize their part they play in permitting the numbers to sink by not meeting the demands of the residents.  Meanwhile, the lower level managers attempt to keep the faith by telling their people, "Oh my boss will take care of it.  This is a good company to work for.  We take care of our people."  Cover up statements to go along with covered up problems!  Like with all things, the truth will reveal itself sooner or later and when it does, you better not be the one caught in a lie.  It is better to leave a company and all the benefits that come with it rather than compromise your integrity.

Nicholl McGuire is the author of Know Your Enemy:  The Christian's Critic.

Friday

6 Ugly Things About Apartment Shopping

There are those expected and unexpected things that show up when it comes to apartment shopping.  Sometimes we are blind-sided by challenges and other times we are thinking, "I knew this was going to be the best place for my family and I!" So what might be some ugly things that might turn up while shopping for an apartment?

One.  Relationship Issues

Believe it or not, shopping for an apartment can bring out the ugly in a relationship already riddled with problems, so be sure that you are on the same page BEFORE apartment shopping.  I talk more about this elsewhere in my blog.  You can make your apartment shopping experience unpleasant with all involved when you and the person or people you are living with just aren't getting along.  Besides, the staff will be watching you and members of your party and this will also play a part  in whether management will rent to you.  Just think, they don't want your problems becoming their problems.

Two.  False Advertising

You didn't expect the place to look so bad when you showed up, because in the rental book they made the building and the suites look so nice.  When this sort of thing happens, file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, report your findings online, and notify the advertising company.

Three.  Lack of Funds

What you thought you could afford, turns out you couldn't afford.  If the suite is simply too costly, you can always ask about discounts, specials, etc. and also whether they can hold the apartment until you have enough money to secure it.

Five.  Impolite Managers, Staff and Maintenance

You are cheery and polite when you first meet apartment management, yet you find they aren't so much.  No real time to chat, answer questions, unresponsive to your needs, and often interrupting, apartment staff can be their own worse enemies!  But don't let them get you down, especially if you really like the community and they have shown that they take good care of it.

Six.  Location

"Where is this place?" you might say.  If you didn't track it well on-line, didn't print out instructions, and the GPS is just not working or worse not in the car, you are going to feel frustrated and most likely wont get much accomplished on your apartment shopping day.  Throw in traffic, tardiness and whiny children, and what could have been a positive shopping experience becomes a total bust--even worse you took a personal day from work!  Do plan in advance.

While planning your apartment shopping experience, do your homework, plan your day, and be prepared for anything that might happen.  Also, give the apartment leasing consultants a call when you can't make it, they will appreciate it.

Read more by Nicholl McGuire at Laboring to Love an Abusive Mate and check out her blog on home organizing.

Friday

What Did the Landlord Promise, But Didn't Do?

So you walked the unit and noticed some things after you signed the lease, now what?  Well you call or write the landlord to ask that the issue be addressed.  But what then?  You wait about a week to 10 days.  Then what?  You make a personal visit to the office or you send another letter or make another phone call.  While you wait, take photos.  You my friend, are beginning to build a case against that landlord who claims to be, "Busy...I will get to it." 

You might have overlooked some annoying issues while you walked the suite, it happens.  However, some things, no matter how much you scream and yell, the landlord will do nothing, because he or she knows that some issues are not considered a health risk nor do they put his business at risk.

The following are a list of things that he/she will most likely ignore.  However, if you get these things fixed on your own, save the receipts and take photos.  If he/she doesn't reimburse you (for damages you didn't cause), and should have been done before move in--if you can prove his/her promise, feel free to contact the Better Business Bureau and/or file a case with your local small claims court.

So what about those non-essential issues?  Well if you don't make a big deal about them, the landlord won't address them.

1.  Window or door screen damage such as small holes or bent frame, but window works.
2.  An inoperable appliance like a microwave, but the stove works.
3.  Stain, hole or tear in carpet, but the majority of the carpet is intact.
4.  Cosmetic defects of walls, ceilings, doors, flooring, and cabinets, but they all are okay.
5.  Lightbulbs blown out, but the majority of the place has lighting.
6.  Windows that are hard to open and close, but you can still move them.
7.  Lukewarm water, but still gets warm just not scalding hot.
8.  Toilet hard to flush, but still pushes matter down.
9.  Garbage disposal issues (FYI: try pressing the reset key under the belly of it).
10.  Weird smell, but doesn't linger and poses no health risk such as: a dog or cat smell.

Now major issues usually don't go unnoticed because by law, things like electrical issues and piping problems must be addressed.  Check what rights you have as an apartment or home renter in your state.

Nicholl McGuire

Note:  Please be advised Nicholl is not a lawyer and can't provide legal advice.  She is the owner of this blog and former property manager and leasing consultant.

We Know You Like the Place But What About...

As a former manager who has shown potential renters around various apartment buildings and suites over the years, I can tell you that oftentimes men and women are apartment shopping without their significant other and/or roommates.  This can be frustrating for all parties involved, because a prospective renter: hasn't consulted with others about their interests, don't know if partner/roommates can afford to help with the rent, are unsure whether or not person(s) want to live with he/she, and aren't exactly sold on the location, building, or suite themselves.

Sometimes people are in the process of relocating from another state, are tied up with jobs, children, etc. so they can't always come with the one who is scouting out the places, but at some point the wife back east or the cousin or friend up north is going to have to make the time to come along--that is if the apartment shopper is willing. 

Excuses as to why apartment shoppers don't tell their roommates about the place they plan on leasing range from: my wife is picky to "I don't know if I want him living with me."  Wouldn't it make sense to get your issues out of the way before looking for an apartment?

What usually happens when the apartment shopper acts deceitful, stubborn, selfish, or rude about his or her purchase: he comes up short with the rent, the partner doesn't like the place and doesn't move in, he/she complains frequently about the building or suite to management, arguing amongst roommates or couples increases, and neighbors complain about "those new people who just moved in apartment A...."

If you are going to apartment shop, save yourself some future grief, know what all parties want in advance and be sure everyone agrees with everything before move in.  Also, bring all the money that is owed to the leasing office BEFORE lease signing.  Keep in mind, if you can't pay, you can't stay!

Nicholl McGuire

5 Tips I Learned About Relocating 14 times

Relocation isn't always easy particularly when you haven't bothered to plan properly, so to assist some of you who are faced with this task, here are some tips.

1. Don't move into any apartment without seeing it first and if you can't, send a trusted friend or associate to look at the apartment. Call the leasing consultant at your new place, share your interests, and tell him or her what you plan to do, so that they will tour your friend until you arrive.

2. Don't sign the lease without reading it first. However, some of you don't like reading long documents, so to make it easier for you, pay close attention to the following: cancellation fees, what your security deposit covers, when rent is due, and the length of your lease term date and whether you should provide a 30 day notice before moving out. Other concerns should be the time of quiet hours and what time the leasing office, pool, business center and/or fitness areas close.

3. Learn to save money by asking for a discount whether it is on the first month's rent, moving company or furniture. Find movers who have special deals or rates. Rent your own truck and then check for laborers through the local Pennysaver, newspaper, yellow pages or Internet. Give items away that you don't need. Sell items that are in very good to excellent condition. If you are relocating out of state, consider mailing your keepsakes, tv, computer (packaged extremely well) a plastic dinnerware set, can opener, clothes, and get rid of everything else. (From Ohio to San Diego, I only spent $800 for all my items to be mailed via USPS and UPS. Furniture I sold, novelties and other home decor. Items that didn't sell, I gave away. When I arrived in California, two weeks later I was given a livingroom suite, dining room table and chairs when I arrived, dishware and a nightstand. I got a microwave, entertainment center and three brand new beds at a significant discount, and I paid little money for my other furniture (a mixture of new or used less than $50 each piece). Call it what you will good karma, luck, blessings etc.

4. Save money! When I didn't get anticipated money when I expected, I struggled some. So if you plan to relocate to another state, save at least three paychecks worth. I also put holiday gifts to people on the back-burner and let go of the fast food restaurants, shopping with friends, and dollar store visits once I knew I was moving.

5. Take the time to sit down and plan each week include what you hope to accomplish for that week. As I write, I have completed the first part of my task list this week. I wanted to begin packing everything I wasn't using. Now this week I will sit down with the children and find out what they aren't playing with and then pack that, by the time the move out date is here, everything will be packed.

Hope this helps someone, have a great trip!

Note:  My recent move September 2012.

Wednesday

12 Apartment "To Do" Things When You're Shopping/Moving

So you are ready to begin looking for a new place to stay?  Consider the following before you make your announcement to everyone.

1.  Know what kind of apartment you need based on your needs and your budget.  How much are you willing to spend each month?
2.  Know what area you would like to live in.  Did you determine this location because it is near the job, relatives, has a good school district, nearby shopping, etc.  Have you considered your partner's needs?
3.  When do you plan to move.
4.  Check your lease.  Did you give your landlord proper notice?
5.  What maintenance issues need to be reported to your landlord about your unit and surroundings?  Be sure to call in a work order request and make necessary improvements, if need be, yourself.
6.  Will your move affect your job?  Take off some personal days for shopping and moving.
7.  When do you plan to tell children, relatives, friends, etc.?
8.  Make a list of items you plan to give away, throw away and sell.
9.  Put money aside for boxes, tape, bins, and other moving supplies including a truck, gas and if relocating out of state, plane fare, hotel costs, food etc.
10.  Update your mailing address with all businesses directly as well as through USPS.
11. Set aside cleaning supplies and time to prepare your unit for final inspection.  Take video and/or still pictures.
12.  Meet with landlord to give keys, update your mailing info., ask questions, and find out necessary information related to your security deposit.

Feel free to print out and follow this list.  If you do, you will have less headache and heartache.  This list should answer the who, what, when, where, and how questions that you might be asked from your partner to the landlords.  You don't want any unecessary problems during your apartment shopping and moving experience.  Remember when you are apartment shopping, you will see issues with various apartment buildings and units, be sure that all flaws that you see will be addressed before you sign anything.  Otherwise, you just might be stuck with problems during the duration of your lease.  Things to check for during apartment shopping are as follows.

1. Building structure: windows, screens, doors, gutters, roofs, fences, etc.  Window screens are known for having holes.  Be sure that the screens will be replaced before you commit to moving in.  Check door locks, don't assume that management sees what you see.  Be sure that everything works!

2.  Apartment:  Walls, ceilings, appliances and other things in the apartment can be easily overlooked for markings, holes and more.  Check to see that appliances work and fit your standard of living before you say, "I'll take it!"

3.  Check mail boxes, amenities like the laundry room and pool areas.  Do they fit your needs, clean and secure?

4.  If the deal is too good to be true, then it usually is.  Good deals are used as a distraction from any number of issues.  Sniff around the unit.  Do you smell mold, mildew, leaking gas, stale, or disturbing odors?  Feces left behind by a nest of insects, mice or lizards will leave an odor in or behind the walls of the unit. Check for dead insects.  The more insects you see that look the same, most likely that is the insect that will be your frequent visitor later.  If you can lift back the corner of a carpet, check behind doors, kitchen shelves--top and below, or move something out the way (like the stove), you just might see left over evidence of an insect problem.

5.  Check for holes around the fixtures below the kitchen faucet, bathroom and laundry areas and around windows.  These are problem areas when it comes to insects and rodents stopping by for a visit.  Be sure they are properly sealed--once again before you move in!

6.  When walking the property, take a good look at where people park and how secure is the lot.  View faces and observe the surrounding areas.  Is the location a place that you wouldn't mind bringing a loved one to for a visit?

Feel free to check elsewhere on this blog for more tips.

Nicholl McGuire is a former leasing consultant and property manager.  She also is a writer, do check out her books on her personal blog here.

Wednesday

HUD/U.S.: Money Funny?

You may have noticed that some properties are cheaper than others because they are considered "HUD" rentals.  For some you may be unfamiliar.  Well when money is tight, the government assists with the living costs of those who are low income.  To learn more about HUD housing, see here:
HUD/U.S.

Monday

Managers & Corporate: Bad Relationship Signs

You are a resident just looking to get some assistance about an ongoing issue in your apartment that is going to cost thousands to fix.  You speak to the community manager, then the manager speaks to the regional boss, and he in turns speaks to the corporate boss.  After a week or two, you follow-up only to hear from the community manager, "I have passed on your concern to my boss who is speaking to our corporate office about the matter and I should know something soon."  However, another week or two goes by and still nothing.  So you follow up again and this time the reason for delay has changed only slightly, but still means the same thing--still no help.  Now what do you do?  Contact the health department, the media, file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau--what?  Some residents hope the problem is solved before it comes down to such drastic measures, but sometimes it isn't.

There are those issues that happen behind the scenes that residents shouldn't know about, but what is in darkness, often comes to light.  A corporate boss or property owner may not be a likable or friendly person and unfortunately doesn't get along very well with those who he or she manages.  This person may be demanding or worse insulting.  Ordering his or her people around like slaves while expecting no objections.  Those that are weak-minded and desperate for income will go along with the program, while others who are strong-willed, will not allow the disrespect.

Don't be surprised if you see your favorite community manager, leasing consultant, maintenance guy, service coordinator or others suddenly leave one day.  The apartment management industry is known for having a high turn-over rate especially with leasing consultants; however, what many don't know is that sometimes there is a poison at the top that leaks down to lower-level employees who are out in the field dealing with none other than residents.  If there is no remedy in site for that poison than it will only spread.  In time, it shows up (in cases like the one I started this article with) where a resident doesn't get major repairs done on his or her suite.  When the leak spreads it results in incomplete paperwork, bad accommodations, attitudes, and more.  Managers and leasing consultants may not assist residents as much they once did.  The grounds may go weeks without being tended.  There are those at the corporate office who may not like the staff over at XYZ property for whatever reason, and may overlook their requests, change budget spending or refuse to acknowledge needs while blaming staff for everything that is wrong with the property.

So when you start seeing things going down hill at your community and you know it is owned by a large property management company, don't put all your concerns on lower level management, go straight to the top!  Contact the leasing office and put in additional work order requests while warning staff that you will be escalating the matter if things aren't done.  Other things that you can do to try to get your work order requests completed:  write letters to both the leasing and corporate offices mentioning dates you made your requests, make phone calls, and request a resident meeting  asking that someone from corporate be present.  Now some reading this might say, "If I have to do all this, then there is no reason why I should remain where I am?"  Exactly.  But until your lease is up, you either live with the problem or get a remedy for it.

Wednesday

Apartments.com | Find Apartments for Rent, Houses, Condos and Townhomes | Rental Listings

When I want to find out about the latest available apartments, this site hands-down is one of the best.  Easy to use, great details, informative listings, etc.  I don't get anything for recommending it, but I do think that it is useful.  So if you are just beginning your apartment search, start here:

Apartments.com | Find Apartments for Rent, Houses, Condos and Townhomes | Rental Listings

Tuesday

Marketing Strategies for an Apartment Building

Some blog readers stumble across this site who are from the apartment management industry.  I thought a past article I wrote for another website might be helpful if you are a property owner.  I know how it can be frustrating trying to get visitors to your buildings.  Hope the following link generates a few ideas for you.

Marketing Strategies for an Apartment Building

Looking for an affordable rental market?

Thought this article might be interesting for those seeking an apartment and workers in the property management industry.  Understand that the cost of rent is in your control.  Seek apartment housing that you can afford.  In other words, live within your means.

Looking for an affordable rental market? Study says you're out of luck - MSN Real Estate

Wednesday

Barking Dogs and Nuisance Cats: Pet Owners Beware!

Sometimes when apartment shoppers are seeking a new place to stay, the last thing they think about are the neighbors.  But if you are an allergy sufferer, particular about a quiet atmosphere and can't stand pet odors, you may want to take special care to check out who is living around you.

Years ago I had the opportunity to manage a stinking situation involving a renter's two pet cats.  Two neighbors were irate because after repeated warnings and promises to clean up behind her cats, the stubborn and/or lazy cat lover just didn't want to comply.  Finally, after a confrontation and a company's request to do a trial cleaning of the apartment unit with a new device, we all agreed that was what would be best for now or otherwise the cat lover was going to face eviction.

If you are a pet owner, please be advised that your neighbors will not be very understanding when your pet is a repeated offender of policies. Some pet lovers forget what the problems might be when keeping pets in rented units.  So let's go over some. 

If a pet runs out of the unit, that's a problem. 
Stinks up your place as well as the hallway, that's a problem. 
Makes a lot of noise, that's a problem.
Scares neighbors, that is definitely a problem!  Don't be surprised if suddenly the dog, cat or other animal suddenly disappears.

Most property management companies charge a pet deposit.  Basically, this is like a security deposit.  It is used to cover damages that your pet may cause while he or she resides with you.  Depending on the animal, determines how much the pet deposit might be.  The bigger the animal the larger the pet deposit.

When people seek a new place to stay, they do not want to inherit any new problems especially from those who love their pets.  So pet owners must understand that not everyone loves animals like they do.  There are still many establishments that consider animals unclean no matter how many baths, medicines, and visits to the vet.  Pet issues usually are mild in most complexes because renters typically follow the rules. 

Wouldn't it be a perfect world if all people would just follow the rules?

Nicholl McGuire

Monday

Be Sure You Want Your Girlfriend or Boyfriend on Your Lease

There will be those times when couples feel like moving in together is the best thing for the relationship.  However, sooner or later, they realize it was worst thing they could have done.  Now they are stuck living together, bound by a contract.  One is trying to get the other to move out, but this person isn't budging.  "You won't be moving your new girlfriend in after I leave!" the girlfriend shouts.  "I don't want anyone else living here, I just want you gone!" the boyfriend says.  These hurtful exchanges may end up with a police officer taking someone away in handcuffs or worse death.

When you know the relationship is rocky, don't put someone on the contract as a leaseholder.  Rather, put this person down as an occupant especially when you are the one with the job and he or she can't keep a job or don't work.  Couples ruin their credit when they prematurely move in with one another, not to mention, how they leave the condition of the apartment when they often fight--ugh!

I have seen my share of holes walls and doors due to angry fists, disgusting carpet stains because someone through something, even blood in places I rather not say.  There is an ugliness left behind in these suites after couples have spent much time arguing and fighting.  If you are sensitive to energies, you may feel some when you tour vacant suites.  One time, I was told about a ghost in one vacant apartment by one of my maintenance staff.  At first, I didn't believe him, so I checked it out.  What he thought was a ghost, was a dark spirit, an ugly black one that I saw in another dimension.  Now I don't know if the previous residents brought it with them when they moved in, but they sure left something behind for the next residents.  I was so nervous that I practically fell trying to get out of the suite.  I did get spiritual about this situation, I prayed and had hoped that the spirit would leave before the suite was shown to the next apartment shoppers.

When you are looking for an apartment, be sure you are going to get one with someone you plan on committing to long-term.  This means a person who you have planned a wedding date with and have at least met their family and friends.  By doing this, you may save yourself some future stress with apartment management, police, and your neighbors.

Nicholl McGuire

Tuesday

Respecting the House Rules

When moving into an apartment, you will find that the management is not always carefree when it comes to disturbances in a complex. Oftentimes the violator is not the person who lives in the apartment, but usually mangement finds that it is the guests who are putting the resident's stay at risk. Sometimes people need a refresher on how to act when staying with someone. The following is an article that does just that,

Seven Tips on How to Act When Staying at Someone

Keep in mind, most leasing contracts do have something written about visitors. Overnight guests are usually allowed to stay for a limited time, but after the timeframe in the contract, they are considered residents. If management notices that your guest is living in the suite, he or she will ask you to come into the leasing office and put that person on your contract. If you should refuse, you may have your rights to the unit revoked. Meaning, you will be given a warning to adhere to the current policy or forfeit your right to occupy. If you still don't comply, the property management company can evict you. This will affect your credit and rental history.

Also, if the person, who has been living with you, is over the age of 18, you will need to undergo a background check like you did when you first applied for the apartment. If it is found that this person has a criminal history, then it will be up to the property manager to decide whether he or she can live on the property.

Allowing people to live in your apartment without permission can open a pandora's box of problems! If you don't plan on having them on your leasing contract, don't allow them to live with you.

Sunday

What Makes an Apartment Uninhabitable?

When you are living in an apartment unit, things can go wrong!  Sometimes it may take days, weeks even months for some owners to get around to fixing something in the unit.  The delay usually happens due to an owner's money problems, personal issues, or just because a tenant doesn't take his or her suite seriously enough to report an apartment problem more than once.  Sometimes residents don't bother reporting any maintenance issues because they don't want their privacy disturbed.  However, the longer you put off the issue the worse it will get and unfortunately in many cases, residents have lost their security deposits because they neglected to report damages they may have caused. 

Now there are those issues that residents are not responsible for.  Bad managers and owners know this, but will not address problems in the unit because they are hoping to save money.  Some may wait around before tending to an issue in the hopes that the resident will go ahead and get it done.  Sometimes problems in a unit can worsen and make the residence uninhabitable.  So the following is a list of conditions that would make a rental unit legally uninhabitable.

1.  Bad waterproofing and weather protection of roof and walls.  This would include broken windows and doors.

2.  Bad plumbing such as inoperable hot and cold water or no connection to a sewage system.

3.  Gas and heating facilities that don't work.

4.  Electric systems that are fire hazards such as lighting and equipment that doesn't work or frequently goes out.

5.  Unclean buildings, garages, rat and insect feces, and filth.

6.  Trash receptacles that are broken or no longer hold garbage.

7.  Bad flooring, stairways and railings.

8.  Toilets, wash basins, bath tubs and showers that don't work.

9.  An inadequate kitchen sink such as a leak or hole in piping.

10.  Windows that don't open or allow natural lighting.

11.  Inoperable deadbolt locks.

12.  Broken or absent smoke detectors.

Always check that these things are taken care of BEFORE you move in.  Don't trust property owners to ensure that issues get fixed after you have signed your lease and handed over your money.  Also, if you are already living in the suite and a major concern has yet to be addressed, seek legal counsel.  No one should have to live in an unfit unit.

Nicholl McGuire
Click on my link to read other work by me at a blog for parents.

Wednesday

What Should You Bring When Shopping for Apartment?

You don't want to miss out on a great apartment, because you don't have the necessary information and documentation that will qualify you to get it.  Since every company has different requirements, this blog entry will just cover the basics.  Always ask what is expected of applicants before you sign any lease.

1.  A valid government photo ID (Driver's Lic., Passport, etc.)
2.  Proof of income (pay stubs--usually more than one, bank statements)
3.  Social Security Card
4.  Application fee

Now if you are a student or new to the state or country, the criteria might be different.

1.  A valid government issued ID.
2.  Proof of income:  Two of the following.
     a.  A letter or contract from a new employer with a start date and your salary.
     b.  A government issued I-20 for foreign students.
     c.  Bank statements--usually more than one.  Will need a statement from a bank in the United States for foreign students.

You will also need satisfactory credit history that shows you can meet your future rent payments.
A security deposit will be required.  If your credit history is bad, the higher your security deposit.
A positive rental or home ownership history will also help you get the apartment.

The company will do a criminal background and credit check on all applicants 18 and over.

Some applicants will include character references with their paperwork, but it isn't necessary, nor will it "seal the deal" with the property manager since he or she has to report to the owners at the corporate office.

Thursday

Your Community Manager Always Knows More than She is Letting On

So you have a situation in your building or you need some kind of assistance outside of your community, well consider talking to your community manager or leasing staff where you live.  You will be surprised at what these people can help you with.

Sometimes local businesses visit her office monthly with leaflets and packets of useful information that may never reach your doorstep.  She may also know of other sister communities that might have units available in case you are looking to move.

Note your concern (always helpful to include dates and times,) take photos (if necessary) before you contact the office with your concern.  Then visit the leasing office on site or make a phone call to the property management company that is responsible for your building. 

Nicholl McGuire

Watch videos by this writer on other topics here.

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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