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Sep 10, 2011 4:01PM
By the way I believe you should not have to give all of your personal information to the landlord til he is ready to sign a lease with you. Because believe it or not I have also experienced a landlord taking advantage of using my cc and getting caught for fraud!
Sep 10, 2011 3:53PM

Renters Beware! Every place I have rented the landlord tries to get free repairs out of your security deposit that is just taken from the renter.

Several years ago, I rented a home from a police officer whose basement leaked due to foundation cracks. During a rainstorm that plagued the east coast of md. for about a week his basement flooded about 2 feet deep. There had been previous rust stains from where it had flooded before. But the owner kept all of my 800 $ security deposit because I didn't have time to fight the guy because of a transfer.

I recently had to rent again and again lost 880 from a 1667 security deposit. The realtor agent staged photos of a crouton placed on a clearly wiped off table! And placed stuffing from a pillow on the floor that had a gray look to it and said I left dust bunnies. I hired a professional cleaner to clean the place only to have 880 kept from the place I rented.

I then moved to another rental which got foreclosed. The bank is trying to keep my 1500 dollar security deposit. And they are trying to reposes the furniture the rightful owner gave to me in writing in lieu of my security deposit. That was just a totally wrong practice. So I have moved again, only to find out the new place I am living is haunted by a dead dog and a guy that committed suicide. The real estate agent is trying to get the smell out of the carpets.. I didn't know about the guy or the dog til some of the neighbors questioned how they got the smell out. The new agent has yet to fix the dishwasher, monday they are coming out to clean the carpets again..

Sep 10, 2011 5:11AM
I am a landlord ,(quite a few times over)the worst thing i want to have is an unhappy tenant.Landlords- screen your tenants well;also follow your own leases (most landlords violate there own lease )nothing verbal write everything!Tenants-if you walk into a place and things are broken, windows are old and not working, the roof is leaking,etc....this is a sign of a property owner that prob. does not care so"BEWARE"  if it starts bad there is only one outcome,it will stay bad!(NOT ALWAYS JUST 95% OF THE TIME)  
Sep 3, 2011 12:52PM
I've been landlording for 34 years and am still blown away with the trash and damage a renter can do.  Executives driving BMWs can destroy a house.  Then the courts side with the housebeater.
To the renters I say Buyer Beware and Never Assume.  Seek out a good house AND a good landlord.
A renter should look at the home and also the LL.  Learn about house things - it's the biggest expense of your entire life.  (but this article is a poor resource. It's just a fluff piece.)
Just like anything else in the real world do not be swayed by slick talk. Look around, use your eyes, your nose.  Bring your Dad.  But remember, condition also determines price.  Cheaper rent usually means rougher house.
Ask around and get references on the landlord.  A good landlord does certain things, like require an application, do thorough screening, have rules, respect resident privacy...  If not, walk away.
I'm amazed when people lease then complain about what was plainly evident before they signed - such as noise, room size, crummy neighbors...You get what you pay for - a cheaply priced home will NOT be perfect.
If the landlord is uncooperative, document your requests for service and his response or lack.  If not satisfied after reasonable time, give proper notice and move out.
City inspections are a joke!  They drive up costs and just keep more govt workers on the payroll. Why is a rental home charged a registration fee and must pass inspection but nobody has to register an owner occupied home and have IT inspected?
We landlords must know that tenants change while they live in our houses-  divorce, lost job, drugs, etc can turn a good tenant bad.
To the guy who paid his rent but the owner lost it in foreclosure - If you want stability and control, that's why people own a home.   If you lived in the home and used it, you owe the rent, no matter what some far off bank does.  He could have just as easily sold it to someone else and made you move.  Sounds like you experienced one of life's inconveniences, but made out OK.

Sep 3, 2011 10:53AM


Sep 3, 2011 9:37AM
Can we make a distinction between landlords and slumlords? I have had experience with both while renting and from being a homeowner in an area with more rentals than it should have had. The landlords are usually pretty nice folks. They try to take care of their property and they carefully screen the tenants. The slumlords, well, that is another story. You can spot their properties a mile away. Most often they are section 8 housing. (You can tell by the 2x4 hand railings on the cracked concrete stairs out front). The house usually have a car parked IN the front yard rather than on the street. I even had one across tha street from me that put a dog cage in the front yard with a couple of beagles that barked 24/7. Not to mention the loud stero. One particular house was right across the street from me. It had caught fire in the upper level. You could still see the scorch marks on teh siding around the window and yet the slumlord continued to rent it out. One day I saw him toting the toilet away. I asked him if he was remodeling. He said no, it ned a wax seal. Sound incredible? It's true! I spoke with the tenent and she said te same thing. Then I informed her that no, you don't take the toilet away to replace the seal. He had left her there with a hole in the floor where sewer gases could come right in. WEEKS went by and I took her down town to file a complaint. He told the judge that he was trying to get her to move (He had been putting the moves on her and she refused). On another occasion it was his very noisy tenents. My windows would rattle from the bass of their stereo. After asking nicely and many complaints I decided that every time they woke me, I'd wake him (the slumlord)...he didn't like that very much. I finally had to file a complaint before the tenents gave up and moved. That place was always in disrepair and the slumlord didn't care. He didn't live IN my neighborhood. He obviously didn't care about anything but making a few dollars. I finally moved out of that neightborhood and took a 10K loss on my home becuase of the "disposable" houses there. And just so you understand, disposable houses are those "investment properties" that are bought cheap, rented cheap, not repaired and then  burn down after the tenents suddenly move away in the middle of the night. Yup, that was my old neighborhood...sad what rentals can do to a neighborhood when slumlords take over. Now no hate mail from those good, respectable, hardworking take-care-of-business landlords. You guys do a fabulous job! and you slumlords know who you are!
Sep 3, 2011 9:23AM
Renter beware because my former landlord had all my personal info and took out  credit cards in my name.  My credit was stolen in 1999 and  I didn't know about it until after I tried to refinance my home in 2011. 
Sep 3, 2011 9:09AM
I had an uncapped capped chimney at my last  apartment. I had no idea until I found burned leaves on top of the gas water heater and I went outside to see if I could figure out how they had gotten there. There was a tall tree hanging directly over the chimney. I requested the complex rental office put a cap up there. At first they had no idea what I was talking about. I had to take the woman outside and point out a cap on another unit. She said she would take care of it. Weeks later it still was not fixed so, I took a sample of the burned leaves and plopped them on her desk. I told her that my closet was right behind the water heater room and that if I had to replace my clothes (or anything else)because of a fire, I would be more than upset as would be my attorney. It was taken care of the next day. Don't let landlords or rental agents get away with unsafe conditions! It is your life and property at stake!
Sep 3, 2011 8:55AM
I rented the bottom of a lovely 2 level home with my husband and small son for 4 years, the landlord lived above us. She was quiet and respectful and we had a happy co-existance for 3 years. We paid our rent early, never late, put HUNDREDS of dollars and hard labor into renovations, and raised the value of the property tremendously. The last year there, she met a man and they married and she moved. Her son-in-law, new grandson and daughter from HELL moved in to take her place. She always talked about how awful her daughter was but I never dreamed she would move her in after she left. She was a huge woman and when she would walk it sounded like the ceiling was caving in. She did laundry only after everyone was asleep, and every unbalanced load kept us up nightly from the washer thumping. She overflowed the tub on a regular basis, causing water to pour down into our bathroom, "burned" dinner on a regular basis so we were left with the smell of charred curry and garlic imbedded in our walls, and showed no concern that someone else lived there. The poor baby cried several hours a day until the husband got home. When we complained, the landlord said she couldn't say dare anything or her daughter would "get upset" and with-hold her grandson from her. We moved at the end of our lease and are very happy now, but it goes to show, even the nicest people can turn on the perfect tenants when it comes to family. We had NO rights once her daughter moved in.
Sep 3, 2011 8:35AM

Leave it to MSN to do an attack job on landlords. If they want to be honest they should do some honest articles about renters. They would have content for doing fifty of those for every one negative article about bad landlords. I will agree that there are some bad landlords and often they have just given up trying to keep up the repairs from the gypsy and permanently teenage renters. Talk to almost any landlord if you want to hear some wild stories about renters. But, media and government agencies play to their audience, regardless of the real truth...and that is why I have always turned down interviews with media and avoided government agencies. They will never be on the landlords side and they are not interested in truth or honesty...

Really, if you are going to rent a place, take a close look at things. If you do, you will not find it hard to tell whether or not you have a good landlord. Most of the people who apply with me tell me that mine are the cleanest and best conditioned of all that they have looked at. Make sure that the landlord does background checks...otherwise you just may be living next door to several criminals.

As for the advice of renting through a property management co. I have found that many are lacking in properly looking after your interests. They mainly want to keep the units as full as possible as fast as possible and they are much less motivated with any other aspect. Sure, there are some good ones, but many are not good.

Sep 3, 2011 8:10AM
I have learned the best way is to use a reputable property management co. I have rented, and now own rental properties. You do have to screen them, not all property managements are the same. ASK QUESTIONS, AND KEEP NOTES! Tenants if your concerned about foreclosure, ask the property management co. if they know if the property is in going in default. It would be unethical for them to lie, which goes against their code of ethics in real estate. You can ask the property management company if they are making the mortgage payments. Usually an indicator the unit is in good standing, not always. The laws change constantly, and property managers are updated with the current laws. This is good for both tenant, and owners, ie; Carbon Monoxide detectors had to be installed by July 2011. Owners make sure that the property managers do walk-thru inspections. The company I use does bi-annual inspections, send reports of the condition on the property to me, and they also do random drive bys. The other nice thing is they know what can be charged to tenants, and what cannot on move-outs! Remember the cost of management is a write off, and you can incorporate the price of management cost in the rent, if the market will bear it.
Sep 3, 2011 7:55AM
This is not true were I live Landlords have to have a permit for rental property and pay a fee yearly to renew and have it inspected. I know because I am a Landlord and the house I rent has more rules and regulations as rental than if I lived there and homesteaded it. So this is not true every place. Also the inspection is done by the city the house is done yearly at a high Fee and we have to be there with the inspector as he dose a walk thou. PS I have Six houses one that we live in and five we rent out for the last 35 years in different states and some day we will down size,and I would live in any one of the others. Piss me off what is being said about Landlords were not all bad if you rent cheep maybe that's what you get, you get what you pay for. My rents aren't cheep but you get what you pay for, so my renter's are happy,if there is any problems they call me and I 'am right on it. Only had two bad renter's in 35+ years knock on wood. I 'am very careful about my rentals and do a lot of credit and background checks and I 'am just as fussy with keeping my rentals up.
Sep 3, 2011 7:44AM


Look closer, that Chimney Pipe  is more likely a hot water or stove vent that does need a cap. You can see the slot where cap locks on and tab for holding it in place. 

Sep 3, 2011 7:36AM
Check the noise pollution before you sign the lease.  I rented the upper level of a duplex and almost lost my mind.  The single father of two who moved in downstairs -- about a month after I moved in -- never heard of respect for your neighbors.  The only time I had peace and quiet was when they were asleep.  No quiet for sleeping, reading, eating a meal, or thinking.  A real madhouse.  The sound insulation was non-existent and it was like actually living with the roudy family of 3 downstairs.  My fault.  I signed the lease knowing the downstairs apartment was vacant.  I never dreamed how noisy it would be. 
Sep 3, 2011 6:40AM
if you are a landlord and a tenant asks to do a credit check and you refuse than that is a sign to not rent the house as they are probably in a bad financial state. just as it would be a bad sign if a tenant did not agree to a credit check. 
Sep 3, 2011 6:33AM
its ignorant to think because your a landlord that you would think that they are more trust worthy than a tenant. Many bad landlords have screwed tenants just as much as tenants have screwed good landlords. I could own a home financially speaking of course and choose not to because I am in school and the time to maintain a house properly would consume much of my valuable time but that does not mean that a landlord is in any better financial situation than me "the Renter" checking there credit is important as many home owners are in much worse shape than renters, the current market would support that fact. I lived in a nice house no more than 2 years old, I lived in the house for a little over a year when I started getting notices and mail for the landlord from Citibank. I forward all the mail to the landlords mailing address. After about 6 months of this I got a notice to the tenant in the mail stating the house was in foreclosure and that we would have to move, it gave us a number to reach so we could find out our options as renters. Mind you I never heard anything from the landlord about this and I paid my rent at a sum of 1,400.00 per month on time every time and yet because of his poor financial decisions and not mine I lost my place to live and had to move. Lucky for me the bank paid me a fee to help with the moving cost. Point of story the landlord had a nice house, dressed nice, and drove a nice car. Had I have done a credit check on him and not just trusted he was in a sound financial state I would have saved myself a lot of problems.
Sep 3, 2011 6:05AM
I know there are some slumlords out there, but I do not believe that this article is fair.  I have owned 3 rental properties for the past 20 years.  I try to keep my property properly maintained.  The landlord / Tenant relationship needs to be treated as a relationship.  It takes both parties to work together to maintain a home.  Tenants need to act diligently to report problems, so that they can be fixed.  Landlords need to take their responsibility of maintaining the property seriously.  I  have had horrible experiences with tenants failing to report problems until the problem has become huge.... For example:  Report the leak in the kitchen faucet before the entire cabinet and counter top has to be replaced.  Use properly sized A/C filters to prevent the condensation line from clogging, which resulted in having to replace sheet rock (to prevent mold) and carpeting.  I have also had many excellent Tenants, who have taken care of my properties.   Some Landlords are slumlords.... but some Tenants are a Nightmare!  Bottom Line.... You get what you pay for.  If you choose to rent a cheap dump, you are probably getting a cheap landlord.....  If I choose to rent to a lazy liar, I am probably going to get a lazy, lying tenant.
Sep 3, 2011 5:58AM
i have been a renter for a long time now, and in the A/C buisness. I have been and completed many education programs about sick building and repairing things. And the worst is landlords. they never want to spend money on repairs, and when they do its as cheap as they can possably be. The Only Good places to rent are apartment complexes, these useally have maint people on site. And to comment on Big Eson, yes a credit check on landlords is a good ideal. If they are having money problems, they can sell right out from under you and only have to give a very short notice, and also if their going to do repairs when needed.  And to comment on Someones comment. Most houses about 70% of all homes rented or not have about 4x to 10 times the mold and mildew then the outside air, This is a proven fact. And most of it is inside your A/C duct work, and yes mold and mildew contribute to a lot of illness, such as Headaces, runny noses, congestion, and many more. Another place to check is behind running boards along the floor, because no one ever removes these, just paint over them, if the toilet ever over flows, it soakes up into the drywall, that never get replaced, just painted, and landlords are the worst at not doing complete repairs. and this is another main spot for mold and mildew. Also the big problem is, older rental houses, Old paint has lead in it, and most landlords just paint over old paint, never removing the old paint, and lead is a major contribut to many health issues. And old A/C units can cause your electric bill to be outragous. So thes things should be checked before you rent.
Sep 3, 2011 5:52AM
LOL! the picture on the cover page of a "chimney" with out cap is too funny! because its not a freaking chimney cap!!!! lol its a plumbing vent pipe! what a bumdass! any water going down the pipe in going right down the drain!!!!!
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