A question for experienced renters

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by 12dylan34, Apr 6, 2013.

  1. 12dylan34 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    #1
    So I'm potentially going to sign a lease for an apartment, but I just have a feeling that the guy is going to end up screwing me over and keep my deposit and rack up other bogus charges based upon the changes that he's made to the lease from the standard lease provided by my city. It's just sort of stingy stuff that doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

    Here are some of the changes that he's made:
    • Rent is due the 3rd of the month instead of the normal 5th.
    • He's requiring my roommates and I to have the floors professionally cleaned, and holding us responsible for the energy efficiency of the place.
    • He's beefed up the disputes section to say that the loser of the case will pay the winner 18% interest on any money awarded.
    • We're all financially independent college students, but he's demanding that our parents sign a "guarantee form" saying that they'll cover any damages or rent that we don't pay for. The forms aren't specific to our parents own child, meaning that my parents will be responsible for the actions of my roommates. The way I see this, it could just be a way for him to go after more money.

    We certainly plan on taking good care of the place, and we aren't the stereotypical partying and drinking college students.

    Additionally, we met him and he just seems sort of odd to me. Nothing that I couldn't get past, but it just raises some concerns.

    The place is nice, and the price is fairly good, but what do you experienced renters think based upon all of this stuff? Does it seem like something that I should go ahead and sign?
     
  2. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #2
    I don't know about the other parts. The second section though, my complex requires that I have the carpets cleaned when I move out, or they do it and take the cost from my security deposit. They also have a minimum temperature I can set in the winter and require the garage door be closed, to help avoid pipes freezing.
     
  3. 12dylan34 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 3, 2009
    #3
    Alright, thanks for the reply. I know that in some states (Ohio, for example, I think) it's illegal to require tenants to perform maintenance on the property (they consider carpet cleaning maintenance).

    I don't live in Ohio, but from my research, requiring carpet cleaning in the area that I live is uncommon. I guess that it's not that big of a deal, I was just wondering if it was indicative of how the owner is going to treat us tenants.
     
  4. SVT Amateur macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2006
    Location:
    Tyler, Texas
    #4
    I'd walk. I'm assuming some of those things are normal - like the cleaning of carpets - even though I've never had to do that. But as a parent I would never let my children put me on the hook for the damages they or their room mates cause as adults.

    And when we rent if we don't trust the landlord or just feel something is off we don't rent from them. Sometimes your gut feeling is right and if it is such a good deal there must be a reason it is such a good deal.
     
  5. Peace macrumors Core

    Peace

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    Location:
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    #5
    Go to the states website you live in and look up landlord tenant laws.

    As far as paying on the 3rd or 5th. Normally rent is due on the 1st.
     
  6. eawmp1 macrumors 601

    eawmp1

    Joined:
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    Location:
    FL
    #6
    You are college students. The guy may have been burned before and is trying to protect himself. But if you feel he is too adversarial for your taste, walk.
     
  7. 12dylan34 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    #7
    Well, what he's using is a modified version of the standard lease for the city that I live in. The default version is 5 days, but he's changed it to 3. I was just wondering why he needed those extra two days. Just tons of nitpicky things like that leads me to believe that he might also nitpick about things and find an excuse to keep our deposit (which is rather large, by the way).

    I live in Colorado, which apparently doesn't grant very good rights to tenants, but I'll have to look more into specific laws.

    ----------

    Yeah, I think that I'll move on. Sadly it's a college town and a lot of people require the parental guarantee form. I know that it's at the landlord's discretion, but I sort of feel discriminated against as a young person.

    The way I see it with the form, if me or a roommate causes serious damage to the place (fire, water damage, etc.) through negligence, it basically gives the owner permission to go after all of my money in addition to all of my parent's money, which isn't preferable to only me being on the hook. My parents have rightfully refused to sign it anyway, so I guess that answers that.
     
  8. Peace macrumors Core

    Peace

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  9. KaraH macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2012
    Location:
    DC
    #9
    Sounds like you have studied your rent in detail, which is great. Quite a few people treat them as shrink wrap licences and do not really read them.

    I go through mine and discuss the smallest point in any lease I sign. Which means the landlord winds up writing down any agreements/interpretations down in the margins before I will sign.

    Anyway, going from the 5th to the 3rd depends on your state's laws (and probably your building's policies). Typically rent is due on the 1st but they give you a couple of days flexibility. In my old place that flexibility meant it was not *really* due until the 5th but then it changed to the 3rd when I moved.

    Assuming you are not the sole tenants if you are getting negative vibes see if you can meet up with another tenant (or someone who rented there recently). How was their experience? Did they have the same terms? Google the place and/or check the rating on the various apartment sites.
     
  10. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #10
    I think if you're happy with paying your rent by the 3rd, cleaning the floors, paying 18% interest on any monetary disputes you lose, and having your parents co-sign, then yeah, go ahead and sign. Otherwise, look for another place. There's no nefarious plot here, either you accept the lease terms or you don't.

    Cleaning carpets isn't "maintenance," it's cleaning up your mess and taking pride in where you live. They also expect you to pick up your trash and clean the bathrooms every once in a while. The floor cleaning is no different.

    I've never heard of a "standard lease for the city you live in." Sounds like he saved himself some typing work by modifying a lease he found somewhere. There's nothing wrong with making modifications, as long as all signing parties agree to it. Again, there's nothing fishy or underhanded going on that I can tell - you either agree to his terms or you don't.

    I imagine other places you look will probably either write their own leases, or make modifications to some boilerplate-language lease they found. And the terms might not necessarily be so different.
     
  11. 12dylan34 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 3, 2009
    #11
    If you google "Boulder Colorado standard lease" you'll come up with the template for what he used. I don't doubt that a lot of cities don't have things like that, but mine does. It's not like the city requires this template to be used, but in this case, he did.

    But you're absolutely right about the "either accept it or don't" thing. I realize that you can't read into this too much, but I was just wondering if maybe people had experience with terms like these in the past, and what they meant.

    My parents aren't going to sign the guarantee form anyway, so it doesn't really matter now. I might have to find a nearby town to live in that people aren't going to require one in.

    Thanks for the reply.

    ----------

    Thanks for the reply.

    We're unable to meet with the landlord in person to discuss the lease because the place was located through and intermediate company and I'm having trouble contacting them to give me his contact info. We saw him briefly when we saw the place, but he just sort of hid and didn't seem interested in meeting us.

    In this particular complex, all of the units are individually owned, so there's nobody that I can talk to about the owner, unfortunately. The owner is currently living in the place.

    Anyway, I've decided to keep looking, so thanks for the reply.
     
  12. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #12
    I could be wrong, but what you seem to be missing is that it's just that - a template. There's nothing unusual at all about modifying some of the terms.

    Typically, rent (in my experience) is due on the first of each month. I've heard of places giving a grace period until the fifth of the month, but the due date officially remains the first.

    I've also heard of having parents co-sign for young renters, more commonly in furnished apartments than in unfurnished. As far as having the floors cleaned, every single place I've rented had a clause in the lease that they expect the place to be returned in the same condition as when you moved in - including cleaning carpets, replacing any faulty light bulbs, cleaning the oven, the bathrooms, etc. - or they'll deduct the cleaning fees from your deposit.

    All things considered, I don't think there's anything all that unusual about the landlord's terms.

    I see also that this is a condo. If you're renting from an individual owner like that, there's a good chance they'll be even more picky than a property management company would, since that's their place.
     
  13. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #13
    This is the only thing that struck me as unusual in your list. How are you responsible for the energy efficiency of the apartment? Is the landlord going to make you replace windows, insulation in the attic, etc.?
     
  14. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    Jul 11, 2003
    #14
    I had a clause like that in a lease once. It was explained to me that since heat and electric were included in the rent, we were to be prudent with turning off lights and appliances and keep the thermostat at reasonable levels and not keep windows open in winter, that type of stuff.
     
  15. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    Colorado
    #15
    Ok, that makes sense and wouldn't have any problems with that.
     
  16. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    Sep 19, 2011
    Location:
    Ohio, United States
    #16
    Um. Lol.

    18% interest on disputes? How about they pay you 18% interest on disputes that they lose as well. If they are sincere, they shouldn't have a problem with that.

    Parent thing is typical depending on the place (most nicer places are like this in my experience), but I would just not do that. Because if you have roommates, and they screw up, it's giving them an avenue to go after you and your parents for another person's mistake.

    Definitely walk unless you have those two causes adjusted. The rent date isn't a big deal imo.
     
  17. itickings macrumors 6502a

    itickings

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    Apr 14, 2007
    #17
    Isn't that what it already says? (emphasis mine)

     
  18. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    Location:
    Ohio, United States
    #18
    Oh oops. I misread that.
     
  19. eternlgladiator macrumors 68000

    eternlgladiator

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    Jun 20, 2010
    Location:
    Twin Cities
    #19
    I'd walk on this place. It sounds pretty bad and the guy sounds nuts. I've been renting for 8 years from varying landlords/rental agencies. I lived in my last apartment for 4 years and when I moved out they didn't charge me a dime for any damage/cleaning. There were other things removed from my deposit that I expected for other reasons but nothing surprising. There are plenty of reputable people. If you have a bad landlord your life could be get rough.
     

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