What Is a Landlord?
Whether you are looking for your first apartment or have a lot of rental experience, it helps to educate yourself about the role and responsibilities of a landlord. After all, if you are renting, your relationship with your landlord is an important part of your overall rental experience. Understanding your role as a tenant and what to expect from your landlord will make your rental experience even better.
What is an owner?
First, the basics: what is an owner? Your landlord is the person who owns the property, whether it is an apartment, house, condo, or other form of housing, and rents it out to you. The lessor allows you to live on the property in exchange for a monthly rent. Often times, a landlord has purchased a property in order to earn money on rent or as a long term investment (or both).
Your rental agreement or lease sets out the terms of your relationship as a tenant with your landlord. It spells out exactly what your landlord is responsible for, such as maintaining the property, and what you are responsible for as a tenant, such as keeping the property clean and preventing damage to the property. It also shows how much you’ll need to pay in rent, whether you have a security deposit, and whether utilities are included in your rent or in a separate payment. While laws regarding landlords and tenants vary by state and locality, there are legal protections for tenants and landlords in each jurisdiction that will also guide the terms of this relationship.
What are the owner’s responsibilities?
Generally, a landlord will collect your rent and keep your deposit. They are also responsible for making sure the property is habitable and safe. This means making sure the property has heat and hot water, among other things. Safety codes vary by city and state, and a homeowner is responsible for tracking required repairs and maintenance. The landlord is responsible for following up on repairs around your apartment, such as unblocking gutters or drains and repairing appliances like a dishwasher or washing machine.
Some maintenance items will depend on your rental agreement with your landlord. For example, your landlord may agree to shovel your sidewalk when it snows, or you may be responsible for this liability. Make sure you understand your landlord’s responsibilities for what you need to do before signing a lease and moving into a property.
What is a security deposit?
If you’re signing a lease to rent an apartment, there’s a good chance you’ll have to pay your landlord a security deposit on top of your monthly rental payments.
A security deposit is a sum of money that you will need to give to your landlord before moving into a property. This is often the same amount as a month’s rent, but the amount can vary. Some leases may also charge an additional security deposit for pets that will be living on the premises. Each state and city may also have laws regarding security deposits.
A security deposit is a kind of insurance for your landlord. If you sustain damage to the apartment beyond normal wear and tear or if you do not pay your rent, your landlord can withdraw it from your security deposit. However, your security deposit is refundable a number of days after you leave the apartment at the end of your lease – as long as you haven’t left any significant damage.
Before moving into your apartment, make sure you understand your responsibilities as a tenant. You may also want to do a roundup with your landlord before you move in and again after you move to make sure you are on the same page about the existing damage to the apartment before you move in. . potential damage before you travel to document it.
What is a property management company?
Although the owner is the person or business that owns the property, he or she may wish to hire a company to take care of the collection of rent and maintenance of the property. This type of intermediary who manages property on behalf of an owner is called a property management company.
If your apartment is managed by a property management company, they may be responsible for finding and screening potential tenants, collecting the security deposit and rent, managing leases with tenants and maintaining the property, for example. example, through landscaping and general repairs. Property management companies charge landlords a flat fee or a percentage of the rent in exchange for these services. As a tenant, that doesn’t have much to do with you except that a property managed by a property management company might have a slightly higher rental cost to account for these fees.
If your apartment is managed by a property management company, the company will be your first point of contact rather than the owner. For example, if you have questions about your lease or want to report that a device needs repair, contact your property manager. In fact, you will probably never come into direct contact with the owner – your entire rental experience will be through the property management company.
Before moving into an apartment or house, make sure you have read your lease or rental agreement carefully and understand what your landlord’s responsibilities are versus your responsibilities as a tenant. Make sure you know how to pay your rent to your landlord or property management company so you can submit it on time each month. If you are careful to understand your role and responsibilities as a tenant, you are more likely to have a good relationship with your landlord and a better rental experience in your new home.
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