College students have a lot to worry about. Grades, being away from home, strange roommates, dates and getting ready for the job market are just the tips of the icebergs out there. One thing college students shouldn’t have to lose sleep over is bad landlords, whether it’s landlords who are out to make a quick buck by offering terrible accommodation, or those who are genuinely mean and uncaring.
Here are some ways college students can protect themselves from those terrible landlords.
Know Your Rights
It’s easy to feel buried and overwhelmed by all the legalese of renting an apartment, but those rules are there to protect you, too. Your landlord should tell you about your security deposit, for example, since it accumulates interest and you have a right to the full amount if you haven’t damaged the apartment during your stay.
The law also guarantees the right to “quiet enjoyment of any residential premises by the occupant”, meaning that it’s not only your landlord who can bang on the walls and tell you to keep the noise down; if you can prove that your landlord is being loud beyond reasonable measure, the law is on your side. Similarly, an occupant always has the right to privacy, since a landlord inspection without notification amounts to trespassing, which is a criminal offense.
Do Some Research
You’re in college, so researching should come easily. Find out (without snooping, of course), as much as you can from previous tenants. Were there any problems with the landlord? Was he (or she) easily reached for questions and emergencies? What were the neighbors like, and how did the landlord deal with them? This way, even if the apartments near Full Sail look great, you’ll be able to filter a terrible landlord out before you’re legally locked into a lease.
The same research can be applied to actually talking with a potential landlord. Ask him (or her) about possible scenarios that could come up – water leaking in through the roof, friends coming over, rambunctious neighbors, etc. The landlord’s answers will shed a lot of light on whether you want to live under that person, or not.
Get Everything In Writing
As useful and as important as a lease is, it’s frozen in time once it’s signed, and an unscrupulous landlord will waste no time adding his or her own arbitrary rules to the document. If this starts to happen, ask your landlord to provide a written copy of everything he or she wants, whether on paper or by e-mail. It ties back in to knowing your rights, because if you can prove your landlord’s bizarre and unfair rules are violating your legal rights as an occupant – well, you’ve got the proof right there.