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Can they do that? Can maintenance just come in my apartment without warning? Do I have to pay late fees for my roommate? $50 for a light bulb! Is that.

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Presentation on theme: "Can they do that? Can maintenance just come in my apartment without warning? Do I have to pay late fees for my roommate? $50 for a light bulb! Is that."— Presentation transcript:

1 Can they do that? Can maintenance just come in my apartment without warning? Do I have to pay late fees for my roommate? $50 for a light bulb! Is that legal? I hate my roommate – can I move? Do they have to repair my dishwasher? Eww! Spiders! Can I make them spray for bugs? The answer to all of your questions can be found in………

2 Renting: Rules of the Game Attorney for Students LBJ Student Center (512) Follow us on Facebook & TXST_AFS

3 Overview 1.What do you need in an apartment? 2.How do you choose a new place? 3.Lease – what is it, why does it matter 4.Requesting repairs 5.Common Problems 6.Questions

4 Players in the Game Tenant – you and your roommates Landlord – owner of complex/house Law – minimum requirements a landlord must obey Lease – contract with terms and conditions Security Deposit – money the landlord requires you to pay before moving in; refundable at end of lease

5 CHOOSING A NEW HOME What do you need? What do you want?

6 Budget How much money will you have? – Loans, scholarships, grants – Parents – Other income What will you need money for? – Rent – Application fee, Security Deposit – Pet fees Estimate $250-$500 per pet – Electricity, Water, Gas, trash Estimate $100-$150 each month for your share of the bills – Cable & Internet Estimate $100 per month – Moving expenses – Food

7 Lease = Financial Obligation Think of the full cost and not just monthly rent 12 $450 per month = $ $100 utilities per month = $ $100 cable & internet = $ $250 security deposit & $50 application fee TOTAL = $8100 yearly obligation Monthly rent VS. Installment payments – Installments arent prorated and you owe money BEFORE you move in or get financial aid awards

8 How long will you want to stay? Will you need a full year? – Graduation – Study abroad – Summer internships, work opportunities Can you break the lease if…. – Leave school? – Graduate early? – Get married or divorced? – Lose a roommate? – Become ill? – Die?

9 NO!!!

10 2 Ways to Legally Break the Lease Domestic Violence – Criminal charges filed – Protective order issued Military leave – Active duty – Must be for longer than 90 days

11 Choose Roommates Carefully

12 Renting Together Agreement Memorialize your agreement in writing – 17 questions to consider/answer – Keep a copy! Avoid future problems and disagreements Free form on our website:

13 Amenities needed? Bus routes, public transportation Computer facility Laundry Stores in walking distance Pet friendly Handicap accessible

14 How do I compare places? Research apartment complexes – Online review sites (, – Go in person and look at each complex – Walk around, talk to people who live there Request a copy of their lease – READ IT Use a free app like LeaseLobster Think it over for a few days

15 ACT Ally Members ACT – Achieving Community Together – Ally Members – complexes and landlords that signed a contract with the University and pledged to treat students fairly and ethically – Texas State Housing Fair – February 2014 – Win cash prizes and a flat screen TV

16 Today ONLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! $ rent! * Sign up today for a FREE ipod! * $ price only available for current calendar year, management reserves right to cancel promotion at anytime without warning. Limit one device per lease, ipod or comparable device to be provided to tenant after one half o the lease has been completed, tenant must pick up device at time and place to be determined, management reserves the right to substitute comparably priced gadget for ipod, $99 processing fee to be applied at end of lease

17 I found a place! Now what?

18 How do I start the lease process? Fill out application – Keep a copy Pay application fee or deposit (fees are non-refundable, deposits may be returned) – Credit check – Criminal history check Landlord has 7 days to accept or deny – If accepted, go back and sign the lease. Do not wait until the day of move in to sign the contract. Guarantor or Co-signer may be required

19 Will I need a co-signer? Co-signer or Guarantor – LL doesnt trust you to pay the rent because youre young and have little credit history to prove that you can pay bills on time – Co-signer or guarantor is a person who promises to pay the landlord if anything goes wrong Even if it wasnt your fault. Be careful! – Landlord can make you pay but not let you stay if you fail to provide a guarantor

20 THE LEASE The most important document youll sign this year.

21 Leases – 2 Types Traditional Lease – You and your roommates are on the exact same lease. You are 100% responsible for yourself AND your roommates. Bob and Joe sign a lease. Joe quits school in December and moves back home with his parents. Bob is now responsible for paying the ENTIRE rent or he will be evicted. Individual Lease – You rent one bedroom in a large apartment and share a common living and kitchen area. Bob signs a lease for bedroom A in a 3 bedroom unit. Joe and Tom are assigned to be his roommates. Joe quits school in December and moves home. Bob doesnt have to worry about what Joe does. The landlord can now move a new roommate into Joes old bedroom.

22 Things to Look for in all Leases Rent and deposit amounts are accurate Owners name and address provided Emergency contact number Sublease and early move out terms/conditions Pest control - who is responsible? Watch out for: – Non-refundable fees – Required cleaning or professional services – List of possible charges/fees

23 Sign the Lease. Keep a copy! Keep a copy! Keep a copy!

24 Move In: More than just unpacking Pick up the keys and immediately inspect the apartment Take pictures of everything – Better yet use an app like RentRhino Fill out inventory form and turn in within 48 hours – Keep a copy!

25 Move Out: More than just repacking Must give written move out notice – Lease should specify how many days (30, 60, etc.) – Keep a copy! Clean everything! Take pictures of your clean, empty apartment apartment (RentRhino) Ask landlord for walk-through Turn in keys and give written forwarding address – Keep a copy!

26 Wheres my money? If you gave written move out notice and a forwarding address, the landlord must refund your security deposit within 30 days Forgot to give written move out notice? – You might lose your money Forgot to give written forwarding address? – You might lose your money

27 REPAIRS & PROBLEMS Put it in writing!

28 Problems in your apartment?

29 Which of these must the LL fix? Loud train crossing keeps you up at night Broken tanning beds or workout equipment Shuttle bus stops running Scuff marks on walls Stained carpet Broken dishwasher Roaches or mice Broken air conditioner

30 Health or Safety Material effect on your health or safety Inconvenient or ugly vs. health or safety – Crowded parking lot vs. Unlit parking garage – Noisy dishwasher vs. clogged sink drain Seek the advice of an attorney

31 Requesting a Repair Law requires that it be in writing AND mailed – does NOT count as writing or mailing Texas law gives two options – Send letter, wait 7 days. If no response, send letter again and wait another 7 days. – OR, send first letter via certified mail with a return receipt. If no response after 7 days, see a lawyer. Landlord can require that you ALSO give them notice via the web or – Hence, you have to tell them twice.

32 How to Request a Repair Type a letter – Address it to owner – Date it – Tell them what apartment you live in and what the problem is, how long has the problem existed – Ask them to repair the problem within 7 days – Mail it with a STAMP (or certified with return receipt) Keep a copy! – How will you prove that you sent a letter if you dont have a copy?

33 Making Repairs Law says within 7 days of notice is reasonable amount of time to begin repair – Each case is different and fact specific Leaky toilet vs. Leaky roof Professional landlord vs. Mom & Pop rental Do I have to let the landlord fix it? – Yes. Law gives LL several chances to correct the problem and maintain the lease.

34 Common Problems Apartment not as pictured Parking sucks Landlord wont call you back Hate the roommate you were given Roommate didnt pay bill Your boyfriend is always there – should you pay more? Rent a house. Does master bedroom pay more? Roommate spent the security deposit check

35 Renting Houses in San Marcos Single Family Ordinance – Houses in these areas cannot have more than 2 unrelated people living there – Landlord does NOT have to disclose this to you – City of San Marcos CAN force you to move

36 Technology to the Rescue! Available on iPhone and Android

37 Questions? Attorney for Students LBJ Student Center (512) Follow us on Facebook & TXST_AFS

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