Wednesday

Do you know a good leasing agent? Here's what it takes to be a good one!


Can You Tell When You Are Being Discriminated Against by a Landlord?

Believe it or not, some people don't have a clue that some landlords and property owners simply refuse to rent to select prospects, because of a number of reasons.  Some of which include:  pressure from the renters at the community not to rent to a certain class of people, personal prejudices, neighboring residents such as homeowners, and others.  Some of the things that fearful, ignorant or simply rude landlords and/or property owners and their staff will do is discriminate on the following:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Marital Status
  • National Origin
  • Ancestry
  • Familial Status
  • Source of Income
  • Disability
  • It is illegal to refuse to rent to families unless the housing is for senior citizens.
Keep in mind, each state is different, so be sure to look up the laws in your area.
Despite discrimination being unlawful, as you can clearly see from comments on websites like Youtube, and elsewhere, racism and other forms of discrimination is still ongoing.

An example of discrimination is as follows.

A refusal to sell, rent or lease a unit/property because one doesn't meet the criteria. There is what is written on paper and then there is what some landlords and leasing staff will make up in their minds to try to fit requirements; therefore, turning some people away.  When you notice something like this is happening whether you are a worker or visitor, be sure you record date and time and note your experiences.  For leasing staff, you might want to consider putting in your resignation.  Why work for a company that participates in unlawful discrimination?  Visitors should report what they experienced online and contact the nearest Fair Housing organization, so as to alert others.

Look up more information about different forms of unlawful discrimination when it comes to landlords and staff.  Also, check your rights based on Fair Employment and Housing Acts as well as Civil Rights in your state.  File a complaint with a related group.  Bring attention to your issue by also contacting the local media.  Feel free to also post a comment below.

Nicholl McGuire

Tuesday

Good Landlords, Attract Good Tenants

To date, I have lived at 20 different rental properties during my adult life, and I can tell you from personal experience, that I wasn’t the problem tenant. I knew what needed to be done to ensure my own peace of mind and if it wasn’t done, then I knew how to give notice and start looking for another place.

I have to admit that some landlords were far better than others, because they did the following:

1. They read the lease contract and never changed what was said by misleading statements, false information or manipulative tactics.

2. They followed up whenever I had an issue.

3. They kept drama under control and off the property.

4. They explained to me what was expected and gave me my much deserved credit whenever I did something that helped them.

5. They were fair when it came to my security deposit and recognized how well I took care of every place I stayed.

When residents and tenants work together to ensure a place is well-maintained and rules are followed, you can’t help but stay with certain companies. After 20 moves in various states, I must say that there are good landlords, apartment staff, and rental properties in this world you just need to know where to look. Check out reviews online. Research neighborhoods and check out surrounding ones. Learn more about the property rental company and what others’ experiences have been. Don’t settle for a residence just because it has impressive amenities, certain affluent people live there or nearby, and a great move-in special is being offered. Sometimes features are highly marketed to overshadow the problems in and around the community. Know what you are getting into, before signing a lease contract. Do read your contract well and watch for those places in the lease where the tenant pays extra if one thing or another isn’t done and what rights you and the landlord have in the event that something happens and you are late or can‘t pay your rent.

Nicholl McGuire

Thursday

Did You Know...? The Security Deposit What It Can't Be Used For

Most landlords in various states will not use the security deposit for a number of things.  For instance, the security deposit can't be used for repairing general wear and tear or unsightly looking markings that existed in the apartment or home before you moved in it. The security deposit can't be used for cleaning your rental unit.  Also, a rental agreement or lease should never say that your security deposit is non-refundable.  Why would it be?  There is no way to know in advance if you or your tenants will damage the apartment and will need to cover those repairs with the entire amount of the security deposit. 

The security deposit is used to cover damages after you have been there, unpaid rent, cleaning the rental unit after you moved out, and it is also used to cover the cost of restoring the suite, replacing furniture, keys and other items that were on the property before you arrived.  Read your lease contract to be sure what other things the security deposit is supposed to cover.

Nicholl McGuire

Wednesday

Apartment Shopping: Know What You're Paying For Before Lease Signing

Distracted by the glitz and glamor of a nice, clean community, a potential resident walks into a leasing office and says,"Hello, I'm interested in a two bedroom apartment, can I look at one?"  The leasing consultant answers, "Of course!  How soon are you looking to move?"

The excitement and stress of looking for a new place to stay can be overwhelming, but definitely worth it when you find what you are looking for.  But how much space do you really need and is it necessary to pay extra for things you know you aren't going to use?

When apartment shopping, the leasing consultant may or may not mention the following during your tour, but you might be paying extra for them:

1.  "The monthly rent is...plus utilities."  You should be wanting to know how much more in addition to rent is the electric, water, trash, or whatever else you might have to pay fees per month.  Are you also paying for additional services when you don't really have to?  Notice the wiring, heating, and air conditioning units (separate or shared) and other connections.  Ask how much utilities like electricity and gas typically cost per month.

2. "We offer a service to our residents..."  Did your tour guide mention "FREE"?  If not, you most likely will pay extra for that service whatever it might be.

3.  "In addition to paying for...you will also need..."  "How much is that going to cost and do I really need it," you should be thinking.

4.  "Our community has a pool, sauna, jacuzzi, party room, business center, concierge service, work-out facility, play area..."  The more features the property has, the more the residents will pay in rent.  Will you be utilizing all of these features?

Too often people realize soon after paying the first month's rent and utilities that they didn't need everything that was offered to them.  Then what usually happens is the resident wants something smaller or desires to move elsewhere because "...they don't charge for water...I don't have to pay for any additional services..."  Unfortunately, most community managers will not let a new resident out of his or her leasing contract because of buyer's remorse.  

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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