Tag Archives: Rental Properties

How To Halloween: An All-Hallows Guide

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and managers. We’re approaching the end of October and with it comes everyone’s favorite costume, prank and candy-centric holiday: Halloween. This year, Halloween falls on a Friday, so you can be sure it’ll be extra crazy, but luckily the Hometown Rant has you covered when it comes to all the tricks and treats.

The word Halloween is actually a contraction of All Hallow’s Eve, an early christian day of feasting and remembrance for the dead, thought to have been based on earlier Celtic harvest festivals. Modern American Halloween is more about indulging in processed sugars and celebrating your favorite brands and celebrities by dressing up like them. But it’s also about communities and trusting your neighbors to give your kids candy and not put razor blades in it. A well-celebrated Halloween is a sign of a healthy neighborhood.

So where do you fit in? Well, as a landlord or property owner, you should probably be aware of neighborhood policies regarding Halloween and trick or treating, since there are usually are some. If the property you rent out is in a neighborhood with a lot of kids, there may be a designated time for trick-or-treating, after which you’ll know the kids out are up to no good. If you have access to any of that information, you might want to send it to your tenants to let them know what’s up.

As a renter, hopefully you’re in good enough standing with your neighbors that you’ve already been given this information, if it exists, but if not don’t worry. You can still get in on the fun. We’ve conveniently posted our guide here with enough time for you to prepare your house, apartment, duplex or condo for any and all comers.

First up is your costume. You have to take some time and think about it. Do people often say you look like a particular famous person? Can you do any good accents? Take everything into consideration, and above all have fun with it. Then look at your rental property. Can you do anything to make it go with your costume? If not just buy a bunch of this stuff and string it around everywhere.

 

Next, and equally important is your candy. If you want to go all out and be loved by neighborhood children forever, get king sized candy bars only, and bask in your adoration. If you don’t want that kind of attention, at least go with some fun size, and get some chocolate and some non-chocolate for a little variety. Whatever you do though, don’t hand out these or these unless you like cleaning egg off your windows and toilet paper out of your trees.

If you’re a mean-spirited person who doesn’t want to participate at all, that’s ok. We get it, you have to work Saturday morning and you wish everyone would stop having fun. The international code for this is to not decorate, and to turn your lights off so people know not to bother you. Maybe you should dress up as the grinch next year.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? We ain’t scared:  Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Winterization is Coming!

Hey there all you Tenants, Landlords, Property Owners and Property Managers. We’re already well into October, and it’s starting to show. The weather outside is changing, and the inconvenient truth is that there are measures you’re going to have to take if you want your House, Apartment, Condo or Duplex to stay warm and cozy even as the global climate goes totally haywire, creating a worldwide superstorm that plunges us into the next ice age. Okay, maybe not if Dennis Quaid has anything to say about it, but still, it’s getting colder.

Obviously your response to the changing climate is going to vary depending on where you live. For some of us it means snow, for some of us it means rain, and for people in Southern California it means maybe wearing a shirt with sleeves. Winterizing your rental property means something different across the country, but it’s always important. Winterization? you might find yourself saying, but it’s only fall! Well that’s true, but the point of winterization is being prepared so you don’t have to worry later, when it’s actually winter.

So what should you do? Well, as a Property Owner, Property Manager or Landlord, you should be vaguely aware of the climate in which your property exists, and therefore have an idea of the type of weather your tenants can expect in the coming months. Let your tenants know if there are things they should do, and if there is any assistance you can provide them. They might need to switch out the screens for storm windows, and they might want to make sure the heat works in the house before they really need it later. This stuff should be in the lease, but it might be helpful to contact your tenants as a reminder if there are things they need to do.

On the other hand, Tenants living in a house, apartment, condo or duplex and preparing for the changing seasons should heed any instructions passed on from a property manager or landlord. If they’re telling you to do something, it’s probably for a reason. Things like making sure the flue in the fireplace works before starting a fire will save you smoking your whole rental property out. Things like having someone come to fill up your oil tank if you have an oil-run heating system will keep you warm later.

There are optional steps you can take to further insulate your property as well, since heat retention is key for keeping heating costs down. Window covers and insulating door seals are cheap, easily removed ways to improve heat retention, especially on older houses that have less insulation built in.

Whatever it is you need to do though, the most important advice we can give is to get started on it now, while it’s still nice enough to do things outside without being miserable. That way you can be relaxing at a balmy 75 degrees in the coming months instead of huddled around a space heater with your teeth chattering. Remember. Winter is coming.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Let us know: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

The Long and Short of it

Hey there all you tenants, landlords, landladies, and property owners. This week our dedicated renter/reader/contributor Amanda has returned to share some of her wisdom with us, this time regarding short-term rentals, which may or may not be a good option for all parties involved. Is a short term rental the right option for you? Let’s see what she has to say:

Some people would describe themselves as the type to enjoy getting settled and finding security in residing in the same location and making a long-term home out of it. Other are the complete opposite–they can’t stay in one place for too long without getting antsy to discover a new place to temporarily call home. Still for some of us, moving around is not just a necessity, it’s a part of life. For these folks there is the short-term rental. But are you an ideal candidate?

Short-term rentals operate a little differently than your traditional rental contracts by offering weekly rent payments and even fully furnished layouts for those that don’t attach themselves to too many belongings.

Performer: Are you a performer? Entertainers that travel often find themselves in select cities with limited time engagements attached. In situations like these, temporary housing for a weeks at a time, even months in some cases, are ideal until it’s time to move onto the next location or return to the original point of departure. For performers or traveling artists, short term rentals are perfect.

Contractor: For contractors of all sorts, working on a job site in a location that’s too far to commute daily is an ideal circumstance to opt for temporary rentals. Most contractors find themselves working long hours and need a place closer than their home base, especially for jobs that require several months until completion. In the case of most contracting jobs, short term rentals are the most practical option.

Student: Being a young student without any serious attachments makes it easier to say opt for traveling for your education. Whether you’re traveling cross country for a rotation or looking to travel abroad, short term housing contracts will be the perfect option to leave without any further obligations after only a few months. Or perhaps you’re a returning student who’s a smidge too old or mature for student housing. In cases like these, short-term housing as a student may be just for you!

Teacher: With so many different teaching options and contracts for educators in particular districts and curriculums, some teachers will opt to only work for a semester or a year until they transfer to a new location. Or for teachers that are new to a district or state looking to start laying down some roots, short-term rentals might be the perfect housing option until you see how the community fits your style.

Newlyweds or Newly Single: Are you newly married and looking to upend your life in surprising and fun ways? Or perhaps you’re the complete opposite and newly single looking for a fresh new outlook on life. In cases like these, being ambitious enough to take a new job in new cities just to see how they feel and leaving the idea open to anything else that presents an opportunity could lead you to look into short-term rentals.

Of course there are other occasions where short-term rentals might fit your lifestyle, but these are five possible occurrences. How well does your life fit into any of these molds? HomeTownRent is a great place to begin your short-term rental search!

Thanks Amanda, for the advice and the shout-out! Tenants, if you fit into one of the above categories, or can draw parallels between one of them and your own situation, you should consider a short-term lease as a housing option for you.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Hit us up: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

The Water Closet Chronicles

Hey all you renters, landlords and property owners. This week on the Hometown Rant, we’re talking bathrooms. You know, the head, the john, the sh*tter, the ol’ W.C. There’s a reason it’s the room with the most nicknames–it’s the most important part of the house that nobody wants to talk about. Here at the Rant though, we’re rolling up our sleeves, plugging our noses, and going in.

From a landlord’s perspective, the bathroom should be the room in the house, apartment or condo that gets the most attention after the kitchen, which if you think about it is pretty appropriate. This is because like the kitchen, the bathroom contains plumbing, which is pretty much the dividing line between man and nature. If the plumbing is out, people might as well rent a yurt or wigwam with a scenic view. You’ll want to make sure that everything in the bathroom is working properly before renting out the house, and if tenants have any problems, get them fixed asap. If you thought regular water damage was bad, you should smell sewer water damage. Ugh.

On the flipside, potential renters looking at properties should make sure to inspect the bathroom before making a decision. Sit on the toilet awhile, and see if you can picture yourself living there long-term. Stand in the shower and check out the acoustics. We recommend James Brown or Luciano Pavarotti. Or how about both?

There’s also a reason that rental properties are listed by the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Even if you’re cool with your buddy Steve renting the crawlspace, do you really want to share a bathroom with him and 4 other dudes every morning? Number of bathrooms is a seriously limiting factor in the number of people that can occupy a house, apartment or condo, so plan accordingly.

On another note, the bathroom is one of the places where there may be evidence of past tenants who didn’t take very good care of the property. Take an extra good look around the bath and under the toilet and make sure that you’re not being held responsible for the last people’s disgusting bathroom mess before signing anything.

It works both ways too. As a tenant, make sure your bathroom is kept clean and tidy, because it gets gross fast. People showering and shaving and doing their business naturally creates bodily messes that need to be cleaned quickly or they’ll start festering. And nobody wants a festering bathroom. Your roommates will detest you for making them clean up after your messes, and your guests will judge you mercilessly if they have to stare at hair bits and pee dribbles all over the sink and toilet, hopefully respectively. Don’t be those tenants. Respect your water closet and it will respect you!

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Get at us:  Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Getting Out of the House

Hey all you renters, landlords and property owners out there. Summer is the time for vacationing, and that means, hopefully, actually leaving your house, apartment or condo and getting out there to see the world! Depending on your situation, you may be out for just a few days, or for a few months, but if you don’t have roommates, or they’re coming with you, it’s going to mean leaving your home all alone for a period of time. This week, the Hometown Rant is bringing you a handy guide to make sure your rental property doesn’t miss you too much while you’re gone.

Even if you don’t have a big summer trip planned, chances are you’ll want to get out for at least a few weekends, which won’t be a big deal so long as you take the proper steps to make sure your property is secure. Close your windows and lock your doors, and make sure you remember to bring your keys. If you’re having a neighbor or friend house-sit, don’t forget to leave them a spare, or they might have to resort to drastic measures to get in.

A good habit to get into before leaving the home for any period of time is doing a quick run-through to make sure your electronics and appliances are turned off, and you don’t have any water running. While it may not matter if you’re out getting groceries, a TV or a stereo left on will run up your electricity bill faster than you might think, especially if it’s going for a few days straight. Same with a faucet left even a little bit running. The last thing you want to be paying for on vacation is a huge wasteful water bill from your house or apartment back home. The most important appliance to have off though is the stove. Not only is gas expensive, it can lead to disastrous results if left running unchecked. Don’t be a Rob Schneider. Turn it off.

If you’re planning on being gone for more than just a few days, you’ll want to have a neighbor or a friend check on your house or apartment now and again. This is yet another reason that you want to be on good terms with your neighbors, so if you aren’t yet, you might want to start schmoozing before it’s too late and you have nobody to water your plants while you’re gone. If you have higher orders of things living in your house or apartment, cats or dogs for instance, you’ll want to have someone coming in every day to feed and clean up after them, otherwise you might come home to a big mess at best, and a slew of animal cruelty charges at worst.

As a final note, it’s always nice to clean your house, apartment or condo before you leave. That way when you come home, it’s to a fresh space instead of some gross dishes that have been festering for two weeks while you were away. Most of all though, have fun out there, and hopefully when you come back, you’ll feel refreshed and your rental property will have that magical aura of newness about it once again.

 Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Holla back:  Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

The Final Showdown: House vs. Apartment

Hey all you renters, landlords and property owners out there. This week on the rant, we’re turning once again to you, our readers, specifically one reader by the name of Amanda, who recently moved into a rental house for the first time instead of a condo or an apartment. In doing so, she discovered a whole host of new responsibilities that go along with a larger property. She wanted to share her experience, so she wrote to us, wondering if we could help her help all you other apartment and condo renters out there who are thinking of taking the big leap. Here’s what she had to say:

Home Maintenance: House vs. Apartment Living

The difference between renting a house and renting an apartment is more than just having your own yard and some additional space between you and your neighbor. While those two benefits of renting a single-family detached house are quite appealing, they come along with some increased maintenance responsibilities that apartment residents do not have. You should carefully consider the pros and cons of each before choosing which one is right for you.

Tending to the Landscape

All of that additional space requires upkeep by someone. It is usually the responsibility of the renter to cut the grass, trim bushes, and weed the flower bed. Sure, you won’t have property landscapers gearing up their noisy equipment outside your apartment bedroom window at the crack of dawn anymore, but now the yard management is in your hands. Having your own back yard is great, but it is going to have additional cost. During the summer months, you will have to devote a few hours each week to care and maintain the landscape whether that involves pruning up plants, trimming the grass, or simply raking and cleaning off the gravel. If this is an enjoyable hobby for you, great. If not, you may find yourself spending more time complaining about the responsibilities of a large yard than you do enjoying the benefits. And if your home is in an area with HOA regulations, you’ll definitely have to take extra care to ensure your property is looking pristine in order to avoid any fees.

Apartments often have common park areas, playgrounds, and walking trails. Community garden areas are becoming more common. These are maintained by the apartment management and the cost is part of your regular rent payment. You are able to enjoy them without having to expel any energy maintaining them. When it comes to inviting over a large group of friends for a backyard cookout and some volleyball or horseshoes, an apartment cannot compete with having your own outdoor space with plenty of parking for everyone. How often you host such activities should be weighed against how many hours you want to spend maintaining the yard.

For Some, It’s All About the View

Apartment residents typically have walls that back up to their neighbor’s living area. This results in windows on just one side of each unit. The developers take this into consideration and strive to make each unit have access to ample natural light. Still, some units will have a view of the park and some will look out on the trash bins. Heck, some will only have a view to the side of another apartment building. The good news is that apartment dwellers have fewer windows to clean and less heat loss through those windows than people living in a house.

Many rental houses are older and do not have thermal pane windows. In addition to the time spent cleaning windows, home renters can expect higher energy bills. About 56 percent of a households energy usage goes to maintain a comfortable inside temperature, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. And although the cost may be a bit more than apartment dwellers, the views and windows in majority of rooms is a huge perk to make it worth the extra cost.

The Household Handyman

For those renting out older houses, keep in mind that there may be more maintenance to perform that can’t be fixed with a simple work request to the property handymen. These older homes can have older wiring and plumbing that will need your attention at some point or another. They may not have the lines needed for cable and high-speed internet and it could cost an extra fee in order to install outlets that are adaptable with current times. Meanwhile, most apartment complexes have easy access to the latest technology and some even include free internet or cable in the rent.

Requirements for multi-family buildings are often much stricter than the standards for landlords of single-family houses. If you rent a house, you may be responsible for any utility issues that may occur. But depending on your rental agreement, with landlord approval you can make renovations as needed to help you cut costs in the home. Easy upgrades around the home like smart thermostats or tankless water heaters can cut energy costs by 40% for a home, making home utility costs near those of living in an apartment. Most apartment complexes have full-time maintenance staff on call to correct even minor problems. When renting a house, you may be responsible for the additional water usage of a leaky pipe or dripping faucet, in addition to the cost to repair the problem.

Before signing a lease for an apartment or house, make sure you understand what maintenance issues are covered by the landlord and which issues are your sole responsibility. Simple things like trash collection are taken for granted by residents of apartments. People renting houses need to know who will remove leaves and yard waste and they’ll have to be responsible for putting out their own trash. Apartments are often owned by corporations and managed by companies while houses are frequently rented by individual owners under a property network. Be sure you know what your rights are as a tenant and ensure you read over all your responsibilities upon signing your new lease. If you’re ready to take on the extra responsibilities of renting out a house, then sign on the dotted line, but if you’re still not ready or find that you don’t have the time for the extra maintenance that will be needed, perhaps apartment living is just right for you.

-Amanda

Whew, thanks Amanda. It’s a lot of information to take in, but definitely worth a read if you’re a renter considering moving into a house, or if you’re a landlord or property owner who wants to tell potential tenants what the differences between houses and condos or apartments might be.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Get at us:  Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Beat the Heat

Depending on where in the country your rental property is, temperatures are now ranging from toasty to sweltering, and all over people are looking for ways to keep cool inside their house, apartment, condo or duplex. Methods vary both in terms of effectiveness and safety for those trying them, so here at the Hometown Rant, we’ve compiled a handy guide to keep you chilling out no matter how hot it gets outside.

The most obvious and simple way to keep cool in the summer is to turn on your air conditioning, but this only works if your rental property has air conditioning. Landlords renting out air-conditioned properties would do well to advertise that, since it’ll become a major selling point in the next few months. Renters of air-conditioned properties should probably turn on the AC now if they haven’t already, at least to make sure that the system is in proper working order. If you have to get someone in for repairs, you’ll want to do it now rather than in a few weeks when the heat is reaching unbearable levels and you’re too sweaty and angry to deal with it.

Keeping the place air conditioned can be expensive, so if you do turn it on, make an effort to keep the cool in. If you have the AC on, you don’t want to open the doors and windows, lest your precious cool air escape into the yard and beyond to be lost forever. People who really want to save money also might consider waiting to crank the AC until the absolute zenith of the summer heat, but until then, you’ll want to employ some other tricks to keep your house or apartment liveable.

Without centralized air conditioning, there are a few options. Window mounted AC units can help quite a bit, and landlords of rental properties that don’t have central AC might consider providing a window unit or two as a selling point. Window units tend to bee less efficient than central AC though, and they’ll run up your electricity bill, especially if you try to cool your whole house with them. If you’re only going to use one or two, put them in the rooms that get the hottest–probably the upstairs in a two-story house. Especially if you’re putting the unit in an upstairs window though, make absolutely sure that you’ve installed it correctly, so you don’t end up like Kramer.

If you aren’t going to use any sort of air conditioning, your best bet for keeping things cool is probably a system of fans positioned in key windows throughout the property. Keeping inside doors open as well can help create an air current that runs through the house and cools everything off. Remember–areas of stagnant air are your enemy, so if you any room seems particularly stuffy, see what you can do to get that air flowing again. Also remember that electronics create a lot of heat, so don’t leave your TV or stereo on longer than you have to, and keep your computer off when you aren’t using it. As a matter of fact, once you finish reading this you should probably shut her down and go play in the sprinkler. Trust us, it’s still fun, even if you aren’t a dog.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Send it on over: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

 

The Rental World Cup

The world cup is upon us, drawing people from all across the globe to circle around the closest television set and sit in soccer-induced trances for hours at a time, every once in a while letting out a cry of either elation or outrage. In terms of houses, apartments and condos, this means that the most important room in the house is about to change to whichever one t.v. is in. Luckily, here at the Hometown Rant, we’ve got the guide to help you maximize the futbol-ficiency of your rental property.

Landlords have less to do in this regard than renters, but there still are ways to take advantage of the global phenomenon, as well as to protect yourself from issues surrounding it. If you’re currently trying to rent out a property, figure out which room would be the best for watching sports, and use it as a selling point for potential renters, especially if you see them sporting paraphernalia of their favorite team.

It’s also a good time to make sure that your rental property is equipped to easily receive high speed internet and television, since if it isn’t, now’s the time of year that you’ll probably be hearing complaints. This is mostly an issue in older houses or apartment buildings, so be aware if that’s the type of property you own.

Renters, you’re the ones who’re going to be setting up the space and watching the games there, so you’ll have the most to do. It may sound like a lot of work, but don’t you want to put your heart on the line and bear your soul for your team without all the grizzly old regulars at the sports bar giving you weird looks because the only sport they acknowledge is baseball? Trust us, if you’re going to scream at a television, it should be your television in your house.

Most people these days own some kind of television, but if you don’t, or if you’ve been considering upgrading, now might be the time. In the age of 60+ inch 3D monstrosities, conventionally sized TVs are cheaper than ever, and more than adequate for all your viewing needs. Do you really need to see every pore and bead of sweat on Michael Bradley’s head popping out of the screen at you? Probably not.

If you’re planning on hosting people for the games, you’ll also want to make sure you have adequate seating. Seven layer dips and people sitting on the floor is a recipe for disaster. Trust us. You probably already have some couches, but if you need extra furniture, maybe consider getting some fold-up camping chairs for the friends of friends who’ll invariably show up unannounced.

The last thing you’ll need is either cable or the internet so you can actually get the games at home. Cable is probably the easiest way to go, but check with your Cable provider to make sure you get the proper channels. The other way is streaming via the internet, which can be cheaper, but also sketchier. ESPN provides legitimate streams for people with certain internet packages, and there are also a myriad of websites offering free streams if you can slog your way through the minefield of advertisements. Just remember, if it sound too good to be true, it is. Don’t click on it.

And hey, even if your team is already eliminated, never fear, it’s never too early to start planning your setup for Russia 2018, though you might want to wait a little bit for Qatar 2022.

The Backyarder’s Bible

The last few weeks here at the Hometown Rant, we’ve been talking about various obligations of renters and landlords that come with the advent of the Summer season. This week though, we’re shifting gears to talk about the fun stuff that comes with the hot weather. Contained within are the do’s and don’t for Renters and Landlords alike trying to maximize awesomeness in the piece of your rental property that isn’t indoors.

Renters, If you’ve been following our advice from the beginning, your garden should already have some tasty produce that’s ready to eat, so it’s time to get your grillin’ game on! You can skewer your Zucchini and Peppers and throw them right on grill, or top your burgers with hearty home-grown Kale instead of the crunchy water that passes for lettuce at the grocery store.

Landlords of houses with a yard might even consider providing a basic charcoal grill with the rental to sweeten the pot, and to make sure that if renters do want to grill, they’re using something that won’t burn the house down. Renters, this would be a good point to mention that grilling on a wooden deck is illegal in some states, so make sure you’re abiding by all local laws (and laws of common sense) when cooking outdoors. All this information should be in your lease, by the way, so look there first.

Now that you’re grillin’ hard, you’ll probably want to invite the neighbors over for a good time, but what are they going to sit on? You could drag over that couch that somebody down the street is throwing away, but do you really want to have to get rid of it once it rains a few times and the mildew moves in for good? No, you don’t. Invest in some lawn furniture that won’t begin to decay in a matter of weeks.

Landlords, you might consider doing this before you rent the property out, if only to dissuade tenants from using whatever they can find, eyesore or not. Plasti-rondacks are a cheap, relatively classy solution for your seating needs, though depending on how rural your rental property is and how high the expectations of your guests are, you might even get away with some nice stumps arranged in a circle.

Ideally, there’d be a fire in the center of your stump-circle, but once again renters, check your local legislation and your lease to see if that’s something you’re allowed to do. Most cities require a fire to be in a contained, raised pit, which is another good thing to invest in if you don’t have one already. I know it seems cheaper renters, but don’t just dig a hole and line it with rocks. You’ll only have to fill it in later, and getting the grass to grow there again is going to take longer than you want. Also, be careful of low-hanging trees and drunk friends. Both can cause big problems if they catch on fire.

Finally, don’t forget to have a good time out there! For Property Owners and Landlords, enjoy the yards of your own homes, and make sure that the yards of your rental properties are enjoyable too–it’s the part of the house that’ll make the first impression, and it should be a large factor in renters picking your property over all the other ones out there. For renters, sometimes maintaining a property can seem like a lot of work, and we forget to sit back and enjoy the space that we live in, but nothing beats a great backyard for taking a load off.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Hit us up: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

 

The Inspection Connection

It’s getting to be that time of year again. Summer is here and all across the land renters and landlords are deciding whether or not to renew their leases. Part of this process usually includes a property inspection, which can be stressful for both parties if it isn’t handled properly on either end. Luckily, the Hometown Rant is here to help you make sure that the inspection goes smoothly so landlords can keep their properties filled with renters who want to be there, thus maintaining the great circle of rental life.

The purpose of an inspection is theoretically beneficial for everybody–it provides an opportunity for the property owner to address any issues the renters might have with the property, be it a faulty appliance or a leaky foundation, and to make sure that the renters are holding up their end of the lease. There are a multitude of ways that it can go wrong however, and we’ve identified a few of the common ones below so you don’t fall into the same classic traps.

Most leases include a clause that states something to the effect of landlords must provide written in advance of a property inspection. Landlords and property owners: you chose to put that clause in there, so respect it. It exists to maintain the renter’s privacy, and to make sure the place is easily inspectable when you do stop by. Plus who knows, they might be an aficionado of reading shakespeare aloud in the nude, and if you barged in on that it could get weird.

If you’ve picked good tenants, they shouldn’t really have anything to hide, but they probably want to at least pick up the dirty clothes on the floor and do the dishes before you come over. We all let things get a little messy sometimes, but nobody likes it when their mess is exposed to the world. Renters, if you didn’t get the hint, clean the house or apartment before your landlord comes over. And before anyone comes over for that matter. Jeez, where are your manners. If you’ve been putting off your spring cleaning, stop. It’s now Summer. I’m sure you could think of a whole list of stuff you’ve been meaning to do around the house, and there’s no time like the present. Get off the internet and get it done!

Once a problem with the property has been identified, the issue becomes whose responsibility it is to deal with it. This information should be outlined in the lease, but sometimes there can be disputes about when an issue arose or whose was at fault in the first place. This is why it’s important for renters to keep on top of maintenance requests, and to have photos documenting the condition of the house or apartment when you moved in. Thanks captain hindsight! And always remember: Read your lease. Know your lease. If you abide by it, it will save you.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Get at us: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com