Choosing a Landlord
a. How can tenants choose a good landlord?
Before signing the rental or lease agreement, take a good look at the property. If you feel something needs to be repaired, bring it to the notice of the landlord. A good landlord will be willing to repair it. Stay away from the ones who give excuses and avoid repairs.
Check on the details of the rent payment, security deposit, and termination clause. If the agreement seems too rigid or too biased in favor of the landlord, you can ask the landlord to revise the agreement. If the landlord is unwilling to negotiate, it is better to just search for another property.
Check the landlord’s background. Check to see if there are complaints or lawsuits against the landlord and the outcome of these complaints and lawsuits. If the landlord has other tenants, speak to them to find out more about the landlord.
b. During the negotiation process, will there be any indications that the landlord will keep his promise?
Your negotiations with the landlord should give you an indication of whether or not the landlord will keep his or her promise. Although oral contracts are valid, it is difficult to enforce. Landlords who intend to keep their promise will not hesitate to put it in writing if you ask them to do so. Be careful of landlords who are reluctant to put it down in writing.
The negotiation stage is also a great way to determine if the landlord is willingly to adjust to your requirements or is rigid. It goes without saying that you should choose someone who is willingly to adjust over someone who is rigid.
c. Are there any public records about my landlord that I can access ?
When you decide to zero in on a landlord, do a little research on the landlord. Use the Net to check if the landlord indeed owns the property and whether there are any complaints or lawsuits filed by former tenants against the landlord.
If there are complaints against the landlord, check to see if they have been resolved satisfactorily. The regulatory agency in your area will be keeping a record of such complaints.
You can buy a credit report of your landlord. This will give you an indication about the credit worthiness of the landlord and also if there is a risk of foreclosure on the property you intend to rent.
Finally type “bad landlord in ____ (your city)” in a search engine and review the results. If your landlord’s name appears in the search results, you may want to reconsider your decision.