June 14, 2021 at 11:44 am
Justin Becker ·
What would you do when your apartment requires repair or maintenance, but your landlord doesn’t seem to respond in making it a habitable home? In such a case, there are several options at your disposal that you can choose.
With that said, the answer to this question depends on your place of residence. For instance, you might decide to take legal action against your landlord, or do the repair yourself.
The legal action that you can take in such a case varies from one state to another. To illustrate how different the legal regulations are, we contrasted and compared landlord-tenant law in the District of Columbia and 50 other U.S. states.
We mainly focussed on ten common factors of the landlord-tenant relationship, such as rental increases, eviction notices, security deposits and warranty of habitability.
We then came up with a system that ranked the worst and best scenarios for a landlord and tenant. This system is based on ten aspects that we’ll explore later.
In this article, we will look at the states that have the worst and best laws for renters, as far as real estate is concerned.
What Are The Laws For Renters?
So, what are the laws for renters? Every tenant has a right to live in a secure, safe and quiet environment that operates within the law. The tenant rights might vary from one state to another.
For instance, the rights you have in Keego Harbor, Michigan may differ from those in Austin, Texas. No matter what, though, tenants are responsible for paying rent, adhering to the terms of the agreement, and taking care of the property.
The United States is made up of different states, with each of the states having the right to make their own state and local laws. However, states can only create legal regulations that agree with federal law.
For instance, the Fair Housing Act requires anti-discrimination practices to create a habitable home. It’s the duty of house owners and renters to ensure this happens.
The independence of states to create legal regulations has made every state develop unique regulations and laws that depend on their respective culture.
For instance, the southern states have always relied on agriculture for a long time, therefore valuing their land. These states end up designing their laws and regulations to protect property and landlords.
The northern states focused more on trade and manufacturing, thus encouraging more immigration to Europe. This made more people work in factories and stay in crowded cities. It meant developing more legal policies to regulate rents.
The regulations and laws in the mountain states seem to be in favor of landlords. This can be attributed to the fact that renting wasn’t common here, thus there was no opposition from renters.
In areas where tenants outnumber landlords, the policies and regulations lean towards protecting tenants. For instance, there might be policies that allow pets in apartments.
Most & Least Friendly States with Rental Regulations
Vermont came on top as the most renter-friendly state, which was followed closely by Hawaii and Delaware. According to our analysis, other states that took good care of renters were Maine, Alaska, D.C, Rhode Island, Michigan, and Arizona.
The state laws and regulations in West Virginia and Arkansas were the least friendly to renters. The other states with the least favorable legal regulations and landlord-tenant laws were North Carolina, Ohio, Colorado, Idaho, Georgia, Louisiana, Wyoming, and Mississippi.
Arkansas is the only state on the list where tenants can face rental-related criminal charges. No matter what, tenant rights must be upheld by every landlord.
How Different Can Rental Housing Laws Be?
Renter laws are different from one state to another, and even from one city to another. For instance, tenants in Washington D.C. don’t abide by the same laws as renters in Atlanta.
Let’s take a simple illustration to show how the state laws and regulations vary:
Case Where Landlord Doesn’t Do Maintenance On-Time
Take a case where Peter lives in Vermont, while Mary lives in Arkansas, and they are both looking for a fair housing apartment that provides the conditions of a habitable home.
Each of them signs a one-year rental agreement and hopes that they’ll maintain a good relationship with the landlord.
Just a few days into the rental agreement, their respective apartment breaks down. They report the issue to their landlords, but neither is willing to fix the problem.
In such a case, Peter is allowed, by law, to withhold his rent until the problem is resolved. Mary is forced, by state regulations, to continue paying rent, even though the problem at hand isn’t solved.
The only option that Mary has is to express her concerns to the landlord, hoping that things will work out in her favor.
Case Where Someone Pays Rental Fee Late
As time goes by, both Peter and Mary encounter a problem that forces them to be late on rent by five days. Peter gets a 14-day notice informing him to quit the apartment or correct the situation.
A landlord cannot evict Peter by force in such a case. Mary’s landlord might still have a grudge, due to the previous lawsuit in the scenario above, and decide to terminate the lease agreement under the ‘failure to vacate method.
Mary will have just ten days to move out, or else she could face a criminal charge. The only solution for her is to find the money, pay the landlord, and then move out of the apartment.
Case Where Renter Leaves Personal Property at an Apartment
What if, after moving out a few days later, one of them discovers that they accidentally left their personal property at the apartment? As per Arkansas law, the property now belongs to the landlord, and you can’t do anything about it.
However, according to the Vermont regulations, Peter has 60 days to recover his property. His landlord is required to store it safely for him.
Mary’s landlord can hold the security deposit for another 60 days. In Vermont, a landlord should return the security deposit within 14 days.
Best States for Renting Issues
The relationship between a tenant and a landlord may sometimes prove to be difficult. Most of the time, problems arise because either party isn’t meeting its end of the bargain.
When this happens, there is a need for unbiased and concise legislation to resolve the problem and avoid further misunderstandings. One of the main challenges that every renter faces is the issue of security-related deposits.
At least ten states have limited the amount of security deposit that can be collected by the landlord to be equal to the amount of one month’s rent. Among these states are the District of Columbia, Kansas, Rhode Island, Hawaii, and Massachusetts.
In some states, you’ll not have to wait for a long time after your lease has expired, and you have moved out, to get your security deposit money back. Most tenants prefer to use the same money to pay a security deposit for their next apartment.
The luckiest renters are from Montana, who are required to receive their security deposit within ten days of vacating. Some states require landlords to refund security deposits within 14 days, which include Arizona, Vermont, Nebraska, Hawaii and South Dakota.
There are times when you don’t have money at exactly the time rent is required. In such a case, you would like to have some allowance to look for rent before you’re kicked out.
The District of Columbia offers the longest termination notice of 30 days. You’ll receive a 14-day if you live in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont and Minnesota.
Every tenant deserves to receive advance notice before a fair housing rent is increased. If you live in Delaware, Vermont and Georgia, a landlord must give you a 60-day before a rental increase can commence.
However, those in Hawaii, Nevada, Michigan and Maine, among others, should receive the notice 30-days before. The notices vary depending on state.
Worst States for Renting Issues
When it comes to having bad regulations for renters, no state is perfect. For instance, Vermont, which has some of the best and legal regulations, doesn’t set limits for security deposits. Other states under this category include New York, Georgia, Texas, Washington and Illinois.
A tenant should also be allowed to withhold paying rent if the landlord fails to provide essential services such as hot water, electricity, and heat. There are at least 11 states that don’t allow this landlord-tenant law, which includes Louisiana, Texas, North Carolina, Alabama and Georgia.
There are at least 14 states that give landlords the power to employ harsh measures, such as an unconditional quit notice, against tenants who violate their lease agreement. Some of these states include Hawaii, South Carolina, Arizona, Virginia and Rhode Island.
However, the situations that permit applying these legal regulations include breaches of rental agreements such as prostitution, illegal drug possession and other criminal activities.
Some states, such as West Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia, may offer such notice on late rental payment. It’s important to pay your rental fee on time, no matter where you reside.
States such as Georgia, South Dakota, Missouri, New Jersey and Maryland give landlords the power to terminate a rental agreement and file for eviction if a tenant is late on rental payment.
There are other legislations you must consider and include:
- In the state of Illinois, regulations on abandoned rental property cover only crops
- In the state of Wisconsin, if a tenant decides to sell any abandoned property, they must give the money to the Wisconsin Department of Administration to help feed the homeless.
- No state allows utility shut-offs and lockouts.
You can research more about your state’s landlord-tenant laws.
Ranking Methodologies that We Used
We employed the following ten aspects to rank states as far as landlord-tenant laws and relationships are concerned:
● Security deposit return deadlines
● Security deposit maximums
● Repair & deduct policy
● Rental increase notices
● Landlord access to the property
● Withholding rent policies
● Termination of tenancy notices
● Abandoned tenant property
● Lease violation termination notices
● Nonpayment termination notices
There is no argument that every renter wants a place where they will feel at home. Whether you’re looking for a one bedroom or two bedroom apartment, you must consider a state where the regulations are friendly.
A place like Cass Lake Front Apartments could be ideal for you. With that said, we hope that you settle in the best state where you’ll access quality housing at an affordable price.
December 7, 2020 at 2:32 pm
Justin Becker ·
Comments Off on Five Tips For Moving Into Your Keego Harbor Apartment This Winter
Finding the right apartment for you and your family in the amazing city of Keego Harbor is definitely a win-win, especially with everything going on these days. Be that as it may, if you are planning on moving into your affordable luxury apartment home during the colder months, then there are a few things you need to keep in mind to ensure that you have a safe and well-organized move. So, without further ado, here are five tips for moving into your Keego Harbor apartment this winter.
Remember To Dress Warm
Regardless of whether or not you are hiring movers to assist you with your relocation, it is important that you dress warmly on move-in day. Of course, being out in the cold for hours on end is not advised in most circumstances, however when you have to move, you have no choice. Therefore, You should make it a point to dress warmly if the weather will be cold during your move. In addition to dressing warm, you should wear the appropriate shoes or boots and have multiple pairs of gloves (preferably ones that still allow you to carry or hold things without issue). It is also beneficial to wear a jacket, and even a hat. That said, just how warm you need to dress will likely depend on the forecast for the day. Thus, you should also keep a watchful eye on the weather and the overall forecast for move-in day, as well as the night before.
Allow Extra Time
Along those same lines, whether your move is across town or the next city over, winter driving tends to take a bit longer, especially if your move date coincides with an unexpected storm or if you are operating the U-Haul truck yourself. As a result, you should consider adding a few extra hours, or even a day, onto your truck rental when you reserve it. Alternatively, if you have wisely opted for professional movers, you should book them a day or two ahead of time. This will save you from getting stuck with possible penalties for not vacating your previous rental in the event that a snow storm delays your movers’ arrival, or your move-in date altogether.
Watch Your Step
It is also important to watch your step and move your belongings into your new home carefully. With most apartment moves, you often have to maneuver furniture into common areas and even up stairways. In winter, however, there is an added risk of slipping, falling or damaging your belongings thanks to ice and snow. Thus, both you and your movers should be extra careful during a winter move. Note, if the apartment community has not salted the walkways, then you might want to salt them before you start moving into your new apartment. It is also beneficial to wear shoes with a lot of grip in order to prevent slippage.
Take Frequent Breaks
In addition to being cautious when moving things into the apartment building, you should make it a point to take frequent breaks. This will give your body a rest from the heavy lifting and help you keep warm. Clearly, time is of the essence with a winter move; therefore, these breaks do not have to be long — just a few minutes every hour or so to relax and warm up. If you have hired movers, then you should encourage them to take breaks as well.
Protect Your Floors
As previously mentioned, a winter move tends to get a little messy. As a result, you and anyone helping you move will likely track in snow, melted ice, salt and dirt from outside. Thus, we recommend, even at your former apartment or living situation, putting down tarps or some type of material that can help protect floors, as well as carpeting, during a move. It is especially important to protect your floors at your former apartment on move-out day to avoid losing any of your security deposit due to mud and ice being tracked in. Likewise, at your new apartment home in Keego Harbor, make sure you put down tarps (or use old sheets) on the floors and areas with carpeting before moving anything in.
We want you to have the safest and most efficient winter move possible, so we have included a few bonus tips to ensure that your winter move goes off without a hitch.
Bonus Tip #1 – Protect Your Stuff
Our first bonus tip is to properly protect your stuff. You should also keep in mind that anything you place in your moving truck is likely to suffer from prolonged exposure to the elements. Therefore, you should make sure that things like live plants, electronics and even your pets are not placed in the back of your moving truck. Instead, you should store sensitive items in your car and even add an extra layer of insulation to items you are placing in boxes. In regard to your pets, during a winter move, it is best to board them so that they do not have to be exposed to cold weather and can just be brought to the apartment once you have settled in.
Bonus Tip #2 – Use The Right Vehicle
Speaking of vehicles, if your car does not do well with ice or snow, then you should consider using a different car or leaving the driving to the professionals. If you decide to hire movers, then rely on their vehicles to do most of the heavy lifting since they are equipped to handle such weather. Note, you may want to consider renting an SUV or pickup truck as well.
Bonus Tip #3 – Have Winter Supplies On Hand
Even on clear winter days, things can suddenly change. So, if you have a shovel, ice scraper, and other winter essentials, then bring them with you on the big day. Note, we said, have them on hand. It is much easier to clear a safe path into your new apartment when you do not pack these important winter essentials like salt, shovels, scrappers, hats, scarfs and gloves away.
Bonus Tip #4 – Heat Your New Apartment
Trying to heat your apartment to an optimal temperature can be tricky when the front door needs to be open for the movers. On the one hand, it seems like a waste to let your heating system run with people constantly coming in and out of your apartment. On the other hand, you do not want it to be cold in your apartment home either. Thus, depending on the weather or rather temp that day, you may want to consider turning the heat down, or completely off, to avoid wasting precious energy. You can heat one room in your apartment and turn it into a warm-up zone, however, if you do not want to attempt to heat the entire apartment to no avail.
Bonus Tip #5 – Take Advantage of Winter Deals
In cold climates such as the Midwest, you can often save money by moving in the wintertime. Not only is there less competition from other renters, but your landlord will also be more open to negotiations. What’s more, moving companies also tend to lower their prices in the winter since there is little demand for their services. So, make sure you shop around for deals and ask for lower prices.
Ultimately, these are just a few things you can do to ensure that your winter move into your brand new Keego Harbor apartment home goes well.
November 30, 2020 at 1:42 pm
Justin Becker ·
Comments Off on The Process Of Renting An Apartment
When it comes to renting an apartment, there are a few things that are involved that many people do not take into consideration, especially if it is their first time renting. Though the process of renting an apartment is not a lengthy process per se, it is still beneficial to know what exactly is involved, or rather what the process entails. That said, here is a brief overview of the entire rental process so that you can be prepared ahead of time and have an overall pleasant first-time apartment renter experience.
Checking Your Finances
One of the very first steps in the apartment renting process involves checking your finances. Before you even begin the apartment hunting process, it is important to know what exactly you can afford, as this will help you narrow down your search and ensure that you don’t waste valuable time looking at apartment homes or communities outside of your budget. In addition to looking at your finances, you should also figure out what kind of apartment you are looking for, your ideal neighborhood, and while you are at it, you should consider making a must-have list.
Focusing Your Property Search
The next step in the process is to find a few apartment communities in a particular area you would like to live in and check them out. We recommend that you look at roughly three to five apartment communities before settling on your prospective apartment home.
Touring the Property
These days you can tour apartment homes and communities online. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you check out your top five online first. You can look at virtual tours, photos, reviews and general information on each apartment community website to get a feel for which apartment home you prefer.
Filling out the Application
After selecting your ideal apartment home, then the next step in the apartment renting process is to fill out an application or any necessary paperwork that the community requires. Once again, many apartment communities offer online applications, or at least online “request more information” forms, so you should consider filling that information out ahead of time to ensure that the apartment renting process goes as smoothly as possible.
Required Rental Documentation
Normally, you will need to fill out your basic personal information and provide certain documents as part of your application. Those documents often include:
- Bank Statements
- Driver’s License
- Social Security Card
- Employment History
- Rental History
- An Application Fee
Note, many apartment communities do charge an application fee, so if you fill out your application in-person, make sure you have the funds on hand. Ultimately, all these above-mentioned documents help prove you are a viable candidate for an apartment. Landlords and property managers will look for good character references, stable employment and whether you make enough to cover rental costs.
A Credit and Background Check
Typically, the property management team or the leasing office staff will then run a credit and background check to ensure you do not have any evictions or any blemishes that would prevent you from being able to rent in the community or property.
The Approval Process
After all the necessary paperwork is filled out, and the property manager double-checks your references, there is still a chance you might not be approved for the apartment. In some cases, you may be rejected because of your credit or income. If this is the case, you should consider getting a co-signer in order to overcome these credit and income limitations. That said, even if a co-signer can help you get your dream apartment, you should still make sure you stay within your rental budget.
Following the submission of your application with the required documentation, next comes the waiting game. Getting approved for an apartment more often than not takes a few business days, depending on the requirements. Upon approval, either the landlord or property management team will call you and let you know.
Signing a Rental Agreement
Once you get the approval call, the next step in the rental process is scheduling a time to come in and sign the rental or leasing agreement. If you have a co-signer, you will need them to go with you to sign at the same time.
Before you sign, however, you should definitely take the time to review your apartment lease and read any fine print to ensure that you are clear on the terms and conditions of the agreement.
Paying Security Deposit and Other Pre-Move-In Fees
Along with signing your rental agreement, typically, you are required to put down a security deposit, and possibly first and last month’s rent. Plus, if you have a pet, you will likely have to pay the non-refundable pet fee or deposit. In regard to other possible fees that you may have to pay, the staff in the leasing office will typically go over all of those things with you. Once all the necessary fees are paid, it is your responsibility normally to get your utilities turned on in your name and schedule set up appointments for the internet and things of that nature.
Before leaving the lease signing, you should also discuss possible move-in times/dates and go over move-in day policies and procedures with your landlord or property manager.
Preparing for the Move
Once all the particulars are taken care of, then the next thing for you to do is to get ready for the big move into your apartment. This usually means creating a moving checklist, purchasing boxes/supplies, and packing. In terms of the actual move itself, you will want to research and cost compare different movers. As briefly mentioned, you should have a scheduled move-in date and time. On that day, you should be able to get your keys, parking pass, or anything else that you need as a resident.
Along those same lines, if you have not scheduled the transfer of utilities or purchased renters insurance yet, it is imperative that you take care of those things before you move. In fact, most apartment communities actually require proof of renters insurance and transferred utilities at the lease signing itself, or immediately after.
After The Move
Once you have picked up the keys to your new apartment home and moved in a significant portion of your belongings to your new place, you will likely receive a checklist that you will need to return to the leasing office as soon as possible. This checklist is your chance to let the property management know of any damage to the apartment prior to moving in. You can also notate any repairs that need to be taken care of as well on this checklist. Note, it is important to fill out and return this form so you are not held responsible for that damage later on.
Keeping Track Of All Your Documentation
After you have finished moving in and are officially settled into your new apartment home, you should find a safe place to keep all of your documentation. This includes any paperwork regarding the apartment — a copy of your signed lease agreement, any pet policies or agreements, a copy of your returned damage/repair checklist, and so on. It is beneficial to do this as soon as possible so that you know where everything is and can easily reference it whenever you need it.
As you can see, the apartment renting process is pretty straightforward. So, now that you have a better understanding of this process, you should have no trouble at all finding and moving into your dream apartment home.
October 5, 2020 at 1:27 pm
Justin Becker ·
Comments Off on Renting an Apartment vs Renting a House
Renting a place versus buying one has its advantages, but what happens when you are on the fence about renting an apartment versus renting a house? The easiest way to figure out which living situation is best for you is to weigh the pros and cons. By simply comparing the advantages and disadvantages of an apartment or a rental home, you should likely come to the conclusion that one is better or more suitable for your housing needs.
Advantages and Disadvantages of House Rentals
To help you find your forever rental, we have taken the liberty of listing the pros and cons for both an apartment and a rental home. So, let’s go over what each home type has to offer and what that means for you.
One of the nice things about renting a house Is all the additional space you have. That said, it really depends on the size of the house, especially in comparison to a 1-bedroom or 2-bedroom apartment. Typically, you will find a lot of functional space with a house. Most homes have a living room, a den, outdoor private space, multiple bedrooms, at least 1.5 bathrooms and additional parking.
In addition to possible extra space, rental homes do offer a certain level of privacy. Apartment homes, on the other hand, likely have common walls or areas. Plus, any outdoor space is often right on top of your neighbors’. For many people, having a place to live that is just their own is important. Thus, if you are looking for added privacy, then houses for rent might be what you need.
What’s more, with an actual house, you have more freedom to enjoy leisure activities or your hobbies. For instance, if you are in a band, then you and your bandmates can practice in your garage or basement. Similarly, if you are into building furniture, or even just gardening, a house tends to accommodate better.
Distance and Convenience
In terms of drawbacks, renting a home tends to be a less convenient option. For example, most rental homes are located in the suburbs, ie. far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Yet, most people tend to work in the city. As a result, you can expect to have a commute to work, which may take longer than you would like due to traffic. Along those same lines, other important places like hospitals, vet clinics, grocery stores, and even entertainment typically involve you hopping in your car when you have a rental home.
Another con or drawback that needs no introduction is the level of maintenance or responsibility for repairs. Since you are renting or leasing a home, your landlord will still have to cover major repairs, but when it comes to things like general maintenance, mowing the lawn, etc., then that will likely fall to you, the tenant.
Lastly, another disadvantage to renting a home is that you have to negotiate things with your landlord directly. Usually, there is no property management team or go-between when you are renting a home. Thus, if your landlord is not easy to talk to, you may find yourself having to fight for things that you are entitled to as a tenant.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Renting an Apartment
Alternatively, when you choose to rent or lease an apartment home, you may notice that it’s not a complete and total bed of roses. Instead, you will probably have to deal with a few drawbacks, but the good news is most of the advantages to renting an apartment do outweigh the disadvantages.
With that said, one of the biggest pros or perks to apartment living is the cost. Most one-bedroom apartments today will cost you less than $1000 a month. Moreover, your $1000 a month may include most of your utilities, covered parking, and give you access to a wealth of communal amenities. In contrast, a rental home will likely be more than $1000 a month, and that price generally does not include your utilities or offer you any additional perks.
Ease of Moving Out
Another bonus to living in an apartment is that when you are ready to move out, you simply give notice and start packing. With a rental home, things are technically not too different. However, typically the move out process for a rental home is a little more involved. For instance, since you have more space with a rental home, you probably have more stuff, which means you need additional help and possibly a bigger moving truck.
Besides being easier to move out of, an apartment home is generally closer to everyday conveniences. This means grocery stores, shopping centers, restaurants, and other amenities are likely within walking distance even. Furthermore, with an apartment, you don’t have to worry about mowing the lawn, repairing the light in the hallway and you also have less monthly expenses. Plus, high-end apartment communities offer remodeled units and upgrades that are comparable to contemporary homes for sale. That is not to say that rental homes are not well-maintained, but rather you will have few upgrades because rental homes change hands too often for the landlord to go all out.
One of the most common downsides to renting an apartment is the restrictions on home improvements. You may even get some money knocked off the rent with a rental home if you do the floors to your liking. However, an apartment, more often than not, has strict rules about any home improvements. Thus, if you want to paint the walls of your apartment unit, change the carpet, etc., then you need to check with your landlord and review your lease.
Another common issue that many renters dislike is the amount of available space. In general, studio apartments and one-bedroom apartment homes are not necessarily expensive, but if you are looking at an apartment community that offers three-bedroom apartments or even four-bedroom units, then limited space is really not an issue. Nevertheless, if you do not have room in the budget for a 2- or 3-bedroom unit, then you might not be too happy about the limited space.
Lastly, when it comes to renting an apartment home, there is the issue of privacy and peaceful enjoyment. Whether it is faulty plumbing, noisy neighbors, or a broken wash machine, apartments are known for having a nuisance or two. Obviously, this can make the overall experience of apartment living a little unpleasant, especially when your neighbors are making a lot of noise, and you are trying to study, work or sleep. That being said, before you give up on the idea of living in a quiet apartment complex, you should know that apartment communities that have first-rate property managers do not stand for loud neighbors or ignore repairs/maintenance issues.
As you can see, there are perks to renting both a house and an apartment. Thus, your decision really is based on your ability to deal with the possible drawbacks. Moreover, if you are looking for an affordable option that offers you convenience and flexibility, then you should start looking for apartment homes in your area. If you need some help finding inexpensive luxury apartments or would simply like to know more about the pros and cons of renting either, then do not hesitate to reach out to an expert team member at Cass Lake Front Apartments for assistance today.