Renting hazards for the college bound

rentingI am a “Judge Judy” fan. As a real judge she rules with an iron fist attempting to clarify the rule of law concerning many issues discussed in our topic today: Rental problems. Homeownership is decreasing as the market for houses is overpriced, plus interest, maintenance, which includes utilities and appearances. The majority of people turn to a rental apartment, or renting what was once a private dwelling.

You, as young person leaving the family “nest”, with limited funds usually seek “college rentals”. These apartments usually consist of a tiny kitchen, a tiny living room, and a single bedroom space. This arrangement is about the least costly for a single occupant but it still requires from the property manager (these are large tracts of apartment buildings) a legally binding rental agreement. This contract may cause you to be sued because you do not read the fine print.

Let us first discuss the fine print the property manager offers you, but be aware you can also modify the contract for residence with provisions discussed below. This is of course if the property manager, aka: the Landlord agrees to the adjustment and co-signs the changes in a standard lease form. Yes, you are signing a lease that binds you to the written clauses of the contract, usually as a month to month lease, or more likely as a college student the 6 month, or 12 month time frame. Take time to read the proposed contract. Get professional advice.

You must perform compliance to the lease, a written instrument that is a legally binding contract. The first compliance is paying the rental fee on time. If the time of payment is, say the 2nd day in a month’s rent you could be construed to entering an additional month and that implies you owe more money although you are vacating the premises. Your paycheck for part-time work is usually paid at the 30th or 31st of a month and on that day you want the monthly cycle of payment to end and you can start the following month’s payment on the 1st of the month. If you drag your feet in payment on time the property manager may have cause to evict you. You have to be on agreed time with the contract date for payment. The best method of payment is an automatic deduction from your checking account directly to the property manager. If you pay in person, pay by check-no cash payments. Keep a record of your banking situation.

There may be additional expenses, which varies with different landlords although moving into a “college” apartment is probably the best you can do versus a private home rental, or rent-to-buy contracts. Utilities must be paid. Generally the college run property includes water, sewage, sewage processing, rain run-off, metering fees. Also Natural gas for cooking and heat may be included in the rental fee. Private rentals rarely, if ever, offer utilities as an included part of the rental fee. Electrical hook-up is your expense, which may also be used for heating, cooking and the refrigerator. Landline telephone fees are your expense. Lastly, and this is a big one for the starving student: First and last months rental fee plus a security fee for damages incurred. The final “walk thru” by the property manager documents the damages. If the damages exceed the security deposit you may well wind up in court.

This all said, let us discuss problems while you are renting.

First of all is “friends” who are homeless. The scenario is an old time middle school students you have long forgot but appear at your door with children in tow. Another scenario is old boy friends who are unemployed and kicked our of their parent’s house. Maybe you have a boy friend you want to save? In any event you will be faced with those who will take advantage of your innocence and good will. There are plenty of organized welfare organizations, homeless shelters and soup kitchens to help those in need. You on the other hand do not have the contractual authority to bring them into your apartment to house or board them.

Another problem is that you want to be social and well liked so you have “friends” over for a pot party, or a wine tasting event. They get drunk, pass out, kick holes in the wall, want to borrow your car and devour everything in the refrigerator. These are not friends, they are irresponsible, immature legal age 18 adults, but from a developmental standpoint the brains do not complete their growth, which peaks at about 22-23 years of age.

If you have problems moving these squatters out-call the police. Let us suppose in your good intentions you open your door to these people, their children and pets. You will have to get them agree to co-sign the lease agreement, validate it with the rental manager. If he/she agrees to your intentions and notarizes the lease addendum you have to set an agreement to halve the rent and other expenses. Usually this person is unemployed and full of broken promises. Prepare to evict this person.

The issue of the automobile is very important that a slip up can haunt you for years when the “friend” wrecks the car and/or hurts somebody. You have to carry full liability car insurance, recommended at $300,000.00 and if the automobile is relatively new and expensive to replace: Collision insurance. Check the Blue Book values on line. Please note that the insurance is usually paid in monthly installments although the insurance company gives you a ticket for a year’s coverage. You are only covered for one month at a time and that includes your friend who has wrecked your car. Ensure that your friend has an up to date insurance coverage-call the agent to verify otherwise they can take the transit bus.

The bottom line that causes all this kerfuffle is guilt fostered by non-assertiveness. You owe nothing to this person who wants to intrude and use your good will to their advantage. Just say “NO!”

You have the obligation to obtain an education and degree status. This is your goal-not rendering welfare to the masses.

Good Luck. Enjoy a good future.

Old Timer,
COPYRIGHT:, All rights reserved, 8, August 2016