Presentation on theme: "NEGOTIATING LANDLORDS, LEASES, AND THE HOUSING MARKETPLACE Your Voice in Housing Choice."— Presentation transcript:
NEGOTIATING LANDLORDS, LEASES, AND THE HOUSING MARKETPLACE Your Voice in Housing Choice
Presented By: Liz Hagar-Mace, Housing Director Missouri Department of Mental Health August 18, 2014
Finding a good place to live can sometimes feel like a daunting task… The objective of this workshop is to provide…. tips and tools to make housing choice easy!
Such as… How to: 1. Determine your housing needs 2. Gather resources to help your search 3. Look at and compare a few apartments/houses 4. Call the landlord or management company and set up an interview 5. Interview the Landlord
AND How to: 6. Review Rental Applications –what you should know (and ask) 7. Review and Understand Rental Agreements 8. Be a good tenant 9. Move-in and, 10. Move-out
1. Determine your housing needs… What do you want and need in a rental unit? Do you want to be near Family? Work? Daycare? Shopping? Do you want an apartment or single family house? How many Bedrooms? Bathrooms? Do you need parking? Do you have pets you can’t part with?
2. Gather resources to help your search… Who and What can help you find an apartment You ….walk or drive around the neighborhood(s) where you want to live look for “For Rent” Signs Tips from family and friends Newspaper or weekly free local adds Internet/Craig’s List Bulletin Boards –Library, Grocery Store, Laundry Mat, Church Local Housing Agencies or Non-Profits
3. Look at and compare a few apartments… Gather your information about each house or apartment Compare each to your needs Choose 2 or 3 that fit in your budget or if you have a voucher, that are with in the FMR Complete a Rental Survey
3. Look at and compare a few apartments… After visiting several apartments and completing a rental survey, identify which apartment(s) or house(s): are most convenient, affordable… offers most of what you’re looking for
4. Set up an interview … When you call to ask about the rental unit(s) you’re interested in, ask for an appointment to see the unit. If the rental is a place with a management office on site, it is acceptable to walk-in without an appointment. If there is not an office on site, always call for an appointment.
5. Interview the Landlord… When you go to “interview the landlord”, take only one person with you, such as your spouse, significant other, case manager, someone you trust to help make decisions. Be on time to the appointment. Do not “story tell” - Do not talk about your current terrible landlord or about the horrible experiences you have had. Make sure you see the exact unit that is for rent. If the unit is not available to see, ask to schedule a time when you can see it.
Essential questions to ask the landlord: How much is the deposit? Is there any part of the deposit that is not refundable at move-out? How much is the monthly rent amount? What about late fees? Do I have to pay for my parking space? Are pets allowed? If so, is there an additional expense for having a pet? If you are responsible for the utilities, ask about which ones – electric, gas, water, sewer, trash, etc. Ask for information on what the average monthly utilities have been for the past year? Who is responsible for maintenance and repairs? Who/where/how to submit maintenance and repair requests? If a repair request is made, how long does it usually take to get done? How long are the terms of your lease and after expiration, does it automatically renew or does it go month to month?
Questions to help you make a decision: How long have other tenants lived in the building? Why did the previous tenant move out? If utilities are included in the rent, who controls the thermostat? Do you allow space heaters? If approved, when could I move in? What are the expectations for ensuring that at move out I would get most of my deposit back? Can I have overnight guests/visitors…and for how long? If there is not a washer/dryer in the unit, is there one on site and how much is it for washing and drying?
And you might want to ask… How long have you owned or managed the property? Who cares for the lawn and snow removal? If I have kids, will you allow me to put a small inflatable pool in the backyard? Who is responsible for changing the furnace filters and smoke detector batteries? Do you give notice before coming over to make a repair and if so, how much notice do you give? What is the smoking policy?
6. Review rental applications –what you should know (and ask) Before you pay an application fee ask: Do you check my credit and what is your cut off point for credit score? What if I have an eviction on my record? If I am a sex offender, would you rent to me and if so are there children around, how close are they so that I do not violate my requirements? What if I have a criminal history and if I have a felony, are you willing to work with that? What if the felony is over ten years old? What if I have a garnishment or judgment? Can I supply a credit report less than 30 days old and not be charged and application fee?
7. Review and Understand Rental Agreements… What are the advantages of having a written rental agreement? Easier to enforce if there are problems Avoids surprises when memories differ Provides a record of the conditions the landlord and tenant agreed to Protects tenant from changes in rent or rental condition that occur after move in Never rely on verbal statements. Get everything in writing with signatures.
Rental/Lease Agreement Lease must include: Landlord name, address, phone number address of rental property amount of monthly rent Rent due date and grace period (if any) Amount of security deposit and conditions for its return Length of the lease Pay attention to areas in a rental agreement that may be under a title of Special Conditions Know your rights as a tenant. Missouri Landlord- Tenant Law:
I’ve Found a Place…Now What? Ask the landlord to provide references of current and/or previous tenants. Always do a walk through before moving in. Write down all pre-existing defects of the property and get the landlord to sign it. Take pictures of any noticeable problems if needed. Determine who is responsible for what. Get a receipt for everything!!! Get a copy of the lease and walk through documents before moving in.
8. How to be a Good Tenant Read your lease before you sign and abide by it. Pay your rent on time. Respect the property. Keep it down. Keep your rental unit clean and properly dispose of garbage. If you can fix it yourself, fix it. Park in your own space. Try to resolve disputes yourself. Give proper notice.
9. Move In Tips Always do a walk through before moving in. Write down all pre-existing defects of the property and get the landlord to sign it. Take pictures of any noticeable problems if needed.
10. Move Out Tips 30 Days Notice. Don’t Get Evicted! Don’t withhold the last month’s rent …your security deposit is not the last month’s rent. Always do a walk through before moving out. Take pictures. Turn the keys in, get a receipt. Leave a forwarding address so the landlord can return your deposit.
THANK YOU! ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND ON THE DMH HOUSING WEBSITE AT: Questions?