Tag Archives: Tenants


Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and property managers. It’s that time of year again—the time when you get together with your in-laws, family, friends, and inevitably that random guy who you think might be dating your cousin, but you don’t want ask him because then he’d know that you’ve forgotten his name. It’s probably Steve. Or maybe Randy.

Anyways, Thanksgiving is upon us, and for many of you tenants out there, that means hosting an uncomfortable number of people in your rental property until they’ve all safely snapped out of their debilitating food comas. Not to worry though—here at the rant, we’ve got you covered like gravy on mashed potatoes.

Speaking of enormous piles of food, if you are hosting people, make sure that everyone has a rough idea of who’s expected to bring what. Traditionally, the host provides the bird, but obviously the dimensions of the kitchen in your rental property will decide what you can provide and what you can’t. Figure out what you can do, and have guests account for the rest.

Also, think about the size of your house, apartment, condo or duplex in terms of how many people you can realistically seat, and how much counter space you have for dishes. Having too many friends and too much food aren’t the worst problems to have, but they can be problems. Avoid potential awkwardness by figuring out beforehand how many people you’ll be entertaining.

As a guest, help your host out by contacting them and asking if they want you to bring something. Have your grandma’s super-secret pumpkin pecan pie recipe? Offer to bring a few to share, but don’t worry if there’s already a few pies in the works. You can always switch it up to keep your meal balanced and delicious.

Lastly, landlords and property owners–remember that it’s during this time of year that tenants often have guests over, so make sure to remind them about parking and fire safety measures. You don’t want to be a buzzkill during the holidays, but reminding people that overcrowding an apartment in which you’re deep frying a turkey is not the most prudent move. Stay safe!

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Give them here, thanks: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Shoes On, Shoes Off

Hey there all you tenants, landlords, property owners and managers. If you’re like us, you know that there’s two different types of dwellings in this world. That’s right–all houses, apartments, condos, duplexes, lofts and other rental properties fall into one of two categories: shoes on or shoes off. The funny thing is, the category depends not upon the property itself, but on the people who live there. So really there are two types of people in this world. Your in-house footwear regulations say a lot about you and stand for, so this week the Hometown Rant is dedicated to breaking down the difference between the shoe-onners and the shoe-offers.

Landlords and property owners take a bit of a backseat on this one, since it’s nigh-impossible to force tenants, uh, feet, when it comes to what they wear in their own rented home. Still though, you have your own preference, and we’d imagine that most of you fall on the side of the shoes-offers, especially when it comes to preserving the floors in your apartment, house, condo, duplex or loft.

One thing Landlords and Property owners can do to encourage shoes-offers is to put in what’s called a mud-room–basically a dedicated area for donning and shedding shoes and outerwear. Obviously this is only an option if you’re doing remodeling, or if you happen to have a rental property that was built with one in the first place. Still, mud rooms are a great selling point, and also a means of ensuring that it’s easy for tenants to remove their shoes before entering the house. It doesn’t have to be crazy though–the Japanese have a simple, elegant solution to the problem in the Genkan, a recessed area that isn’t a full room but serves as a dirt-trap to keep your home clean.

Tenants, the onus is really on you with this one. You’re going to be living in the house, apartment, condo, duplex or loft, so you’re the ones who have to set the standards for your own domicile. Here at the Rant, we’re shoes-offers, and we’ll recommend it to anyone who wants to retain as much of their security deposit as possible. If your rental property has carpeting, you definitely want to be strict about your no-shoes policiy, since after a certain point no amount of rug-doctoring is going to save your poor trampled floor.

If your house has wood or tile floors, you’re a little safer being a shoes-onner, although you’ll definitely have to clean more. If your shoes-on ideology stems from laziness though, you should weigh the time it takes to remove your footwear against the time you spend cleaning your floors–we’re pretty sure it’s actually more work to not take your shoes off in the long run, so bear that in mind when making your decision. There are upsides to being a shoes-onner–namely not stepping in potential messes and keeping your socks dry, but if you run a clean household, those shouldn’t be problems. The real issue is when you and your roommates fall on different sides of the lines in a battle that has ranged since people started building things to eat and sleep inside. Now you have are take–it’s up to you to search deep within your soul and figure out what it is you stand for.

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

Resolution Solutions

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and managers. It’s December 31st, we’re on the cusp of a new year, and everyone is hoping, we’d imagine, that next year will be even better than this year. New years in America is a holiday without a huge litany of traditions, but one of the central ideas is the resolution–the commitment to oneself in setting goals for the coming months. It’s also one of the traditions least-often followed through on, which is sad since other new years traditions include dropping a ball of a skyscraper and drinking too much. Luckily, the Hometown Rant has your guide to making good resolutions related to your house, property, apartment, duplex or condo, and sticking to them.

Landlords, property owners and property managers might want to think business when making resolutions. These are what we like to call top-down resolutions–big goals that requrie little steps to complete, things like I want to own and be renting out another property by the end of the year, or I want to complete a much needed-remodel after the current tenant’s lease is up. Top-down resolutions require a lot of work, so instead of just saying that you want to do something, make the goal and then look at what you can do to move toward that goal. For that type of planning you should be thinking about week-to-week and even day-to-day things you can do to get closer to accomplishing what you set out to do.

Tenants might want to think about bottom-up resolutions–things you can do every day to improve your life in a noticeable way. These could range from something as small as I want to do my dishes after every meal, or I want to spend more time every day gardening to something with a bigger scope like I want to set aside money each paycheck to buy my own house. All of these goals are legitimate and achievable if you work them into your routine every day or every week.

Whether you’re going top-down or bottom-up, or you have a strange third category of resolution (which by the way we’d love to hear about,) the real challenge is staying with it. That’s why we recommend the day-by-day approach, where every day you have at least one thing you want to accomplish towards your end goal. Not only will you be getting closer, but you’ll go to sleep each night with a sense of accomplishment, having done something you set out to do. And if you’re going out tonight, watch out for droves of drunk people and balls falling from skyscrapers.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? We resolve to answer it all:  Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Turkey Days

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and managers. That special time of year is coming up again. You know, the one where your whole extended family comes over for a few days and trashes the place? That’s right. It’s almost thanksgiving, and whether you’re the lucky host or one of the in-law horde come to feast, the Hometown Rant has the guide for you.

As renters, only agree to host a huge thanksgiving dinner if you have enough space in your rental property. A tiny studio apartment probably won’t cut it if you have more than a few cousins bringing their families too. The ideal property for a good thanksgiving is a house with a big kitchen and a big dining room, so keep that in mind when planning, though if you haven’t started making plans yet you should probably get on that, or risk spending thanksgiving alone with one of these. Please, please don’t do that.

Likewise, if people are actually sleeping over in your house, apartment or condo, make sure that you have the space to accommodate them. The point of thanksgiving is to see your family and catch up, not to grow to hate them and share the flu over a several day period. It’s tough, but you may have create a hierarchy within your family to decide who gets beds. Don’t be afraid to ask your third cousin and ex-step uncle to get hotel rooms if you just don’t have the space.

Cooking the meal itself is a whole ‘nother animal as well, or two more if you’re making a turducken. If you’re the type of family where everyone considers themselves a master chef, you’re going to want to communicate between people so you all have the space and time to make the dishes you want, and so you don’t end up with four different stuffing dishes and no pie. That’s how dinner table fights start.

Also, if you’re a true American hell bent on deep frying your turkey (which for the record we absolutely endorse) please, for the love of god, do it outside. Every year there are families that watch their rental property go up in a huge grease fire instead of eating a delicious meal. Don’t be those guys. Fry safe, and make sure to dispose of your oil properly afterwards.

As a landlord or property manager, you should keep in mind that many of your tenants will have people coming to stay, and remind them of any rules pertinent to the property. For instance, if the number of parking spaces at your property is limited, or if you live in an apartment or condo with designated spaces in a communal lot, you should make it clear that it won’t work to have an armada of guests clogging up the whole street.

Above all else though, take the time to appreciate the people around you and the home that you have, even if you’ve traveled from it to be somewhere else. And if you need any reminding of what it’s all about, just watch this.

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

The Rental’s Underground

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and managers. This week on the Hometown Rant, we’re talking about the foundations that this great nation was built on. No, it’s not freedom and justice for all. It’s basements. Basements come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they’re fortified to withstand a nuclear blast and sometimes don’t even exist at all, but whatever type of basement your house, duplex, cabin, condo or apartment has (or doesn’t have) we’ve got you covered.

Seeing as how they often add a whole extra floor’s worth of space to a rental property, basements are often a great selling point for landlords and property owners looking to advertize. Finished basements are even better, since they potentially allow renters to fit another person in the house, but if you’re advertising it as such, make sure you’re not overcrowding the house, and that the living space is up to local fire safety codes. Otherwise you could be legally and morally responsible for people getting injured and/or killed. Nobody wants that.

Unfinished basements are also a good selling point, either for storage space or as a potential area for tenants to work out or make space for a hobby studio or workshop of some sort. Tenants who want to do something along these lines with a basement space should absolutely consider it, though as always you should get the landlord or property manager’s consent to make permanent modifications to the space.

Unfortunately, sometimes basements can be a liability. Especially in wetter areas of the country, basements are prone to flooding. This is always a problem, but severity can range from inconvenient to potentially life threatening. Tenants should let landlords know if a flood has occurred, and landlords or property managers should have some sort of plan in place for if and when it happens. Usually it’ll involve some fans and de-humidifiers, but bad floods can ruin carpet, and really bad floods left unchecked can rot out beams that hold your rental property up. Don’t let that happen. Get it dried up ASAP.

Then there are the properties without basements–the single stories, ranch-style houses, the condos and apartments for rent. As always, it’s important to tailor your living situation to the type of lifestyle that you lead.  Properties without basements are probably good for those individuals that enjoy a certain degree of minimalism–the people who don’t have boxes upon boxes of sentimental objects and outdoor equipment to store somewhere. If you’re the type who could live out of a single bag if you had to, consider looking for a rental property without a basement–it’ll probably be cheaper, and you won’t miss the space. On the other hand, If you’re the type who owns a massive collection of model trains or comic book and pulp fiction or sports memorabilia, steer clear of rental properties that don’t have the underground vault you need to store your tacky pile of treasures.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? We’ll be in the basement:  Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

House Plants

Hey there all you renters, landlords and property owners. The season is changing once again. September is almost over, and with it goes the final hurrah of the summer season. The time for growing plants outside is coming to a close, so what better time for us to discuss how you can become more aesthetically floral and or vegetative in your rental property.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing. Less sunlight and less time spent outside can be incredibly detrimental to your psychological well being if you aren’t careful. While it isn’t necessarily a cure-all, keeping live plants in an area can help mitigate levels of stress and contribute to a healthier and happier lifestyle. Check out this study done at Kansas State if you don’t believe us.

Besides the potential psychological benefits, keeping well-maintained plants will just outright make your house, apartment or condo look way better. A healthy plant says something about you. It say hey, I care enough about stuff to not let this pretty thing die.  Isn’t that a message that you want to convey about yourself?

Let’s say you’re a renter in a house, apartment, condo, duplex or other rental property, and we’ve convinced you that you should get some plants. Where do you start? Probably with something fairly low maintenance, if you’re just getting into growing things. A quick google search yields a plethora of resources for figuring out what sort of plants you should get. Remember that even though you’re inside, some things may be locationally dependent, so make sure to take that into account if when making a decision.

On the other hand, you might be a landlord or property owner looking for renters, or looking for a way to improve the quality of your renter’s experience. One way to do this might be to better accommodate for house plants, or possibly even to provide some if your property comes already furnished. Consider installing some hooks by sunny windows to allow for hanging plants, and make sure to advertise that your rental property is equipped for tenants to keep plants indoors. Not only will you attract tenants, you’ll likely attract tenants who are motivated and clean enough to maintain house plants. Bonus!


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


Lord of the Flies

The Summer heat has set in most everywhere in the country, and with it come the seasonally associated critters. for renters and landlords alike. One such critter that becomes exceedingly common in the summer months is the fly, infestations of which can range in severity from being mildly annoying to spreading dangerous diseases that could potentially kill you maybe. Don’t worry though, this week the Rant is dedicated to helping you rid your house or apartment of the buggers once and for all.

Flies come in quite a few varieties, but some are more common than others, and each type has different particularities. The first step to getting rid of your flies is determining which type you have, though be warned, there may be more than one. Orkin provides a nice illustrated guide as a good place to start.

Fruit flies are one of the most common types of fly, especially in the summer. They can find their way into almost any house or apartment, and they  typically go for the kitchen. Fruit flies feed mostly on fruit (go figure), vegetables, or other produce that’s nearing the end of its life. As a preemptive strike against them, make sure that fruit and veggies don’t sit too long on your counter, and if your produce is starting to turn, get rid of it ASAP. If you’ve already got fruit flies, make sure their food sources are cleaned up and then make yourself a few traps. In our experience the red wine trap works well. If you can get your hands on some Mad Dog 20/20, it’s even better, though be warned that flavored fortified wine beverages should under no circumstances be humans.

Larger flies like house flies and blow flies are usually less prevalent, but far more noticeable, and usually indication of a larger and grosser food source. They’ll eat other organic material, but they prefer rotting meat, so if you start to see larger flies appearing on the premises of your rental property, make sure that your trash cans have all been emptied recently, and your fridge and cabinets are both free of rotting food. If your kitchen and garbage is clean, search around your yard for any possible breeding sources. If you have a compost piled up in the back, that might be one. If you have a pet who poops in the yard, make sure to pick it up, or soon enough it’ll have turned into a festering fly-nest that spawns poop-covered flies who want to live in your kitchen. Gross, right? Bottom line is that you have to get rid of the breeding source if you want to live in a no-fly zone.

Traps and prevention are all good, but they take time, and we know that you’re probably wondering, how can I get rid of the fly or flies that are bugging me right now? At this point you have two options: you can either go to your local butchers for a pig head, put it on a stake in your living room, and proclaim yourself lord and master over a new rented jungle kingdom, or you can become a sniper with a rubber band. Actually we only advocate the latter. But seriously, the flies never see it coming, and best of all, exterminating pests becomes fun! If you have kids, give them a bag of these, or if you want to get crazy, get one of these bad boys. Good luck, and happy hunting!

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

Ask The Rant #1

Here at the Hometown Rant, there’s nothing we love more than giving custom-tailored advice to landlords and renters like you, which is why this week we’re digging through our giant sack of emails to bring you the very first edition of Ask The Rant.

Coleen writes:

Hi, I was living with a woman for 3 months. Our agreement was that I drive her and her kids around because she lost her license, which I did daily. She had to have an interlock device installed in her vehicle. The driver (me) had to blow in before the vehicle would start. I have COPD, so sometimes I can blow in and other times I can’t. So she would and we got to start the vehicle. She got a job and decided to have a neighbor drive her to and from work. She didn’t pay for the gas or rides. The neighbor was bored anyways and offered to do so. So one day I asked if the neighbor wouldn’t mind grabbing the kids on the way back home, so I wouldn’t have to.

Next thing I know I’m being told the locks were changed and to get my sh*t out that night or the next day after she got out of work. Well needless to say I had to call the cops and wait hours for them. Could only get as much as I could get out of the apartment in ten min. Now I lived there for 3 months and my question is can she legally do that? And my cat was locked in my bedroom for 3 days before I got to get him! It was a total nightmare. And I never ended up getting my belongings out of her house. The cops are no help at all. The story goes on and on.

And the girl is selling my things on craigslist. Last time cops went with me she said she put my stuff outside and called me, as per the landlord’s orders. It never happened! Can I sue her and get money for the things I had in that apartment? The story goes on and on! But I can’t deal with writing it all down… very upset.. thanks,


Well Coleen, this does sound like a horrible situation for everyone involved. If you’re serious about taking legal action, consult an attorney who is familiar with property law in your area. Ideally, that would be a last resort, but it sounds like you’ve already exhausted most of your options in terms of talking it out.

It may not be of much use to you now, but there are a few points you mention that should raise red flags for problems down the line:

First off, you make it sound like you were not paying rent, but instead had a verbal agreement to provide a service (driving) to pay for your lodging. While maybe not technically illegal, your situation certainly illustrates the problem with making a deal and not explicitly laying out the terms of the agreement in writing. When one party feels the other party hasn’t held up their end, the whole thing devolves into a series of accusations, and it’s virtually impossible to prove who is right or wrong.

Second off, it’s unclear from your story whether or not you had any contact with the landlord, or if the landlord even knew about the arrangement you made with the woman. From what it sounds like, you didn’t sign any form of sublease agreement, meaning that the woman is presumably the only one with her name on the lease. Typically leases contain a clause stating that tenants must be given notice a certain amount of time before an eviction, but if your name isn’t on paper anywhere, then it may come down to your word against hers. As for the stuff of yours that she has or has sold, you should speak to a lawyer if it’s that important to you to get it back, but depending on what it is, it might be cheaper to just cut your losses and not have to deal with a person who is clearly very difficult to communicate with.

For resources available to you at this point, check out the US Department of Housing and Development website, which provides state-by-state information about tenant’s rights, and other resources you can use to get help in your area. If after that you still feel that legal action is your best recourse, talk to a lawyer who specializes in rental law to figure out what you can do. Best of luck, and at the very least know that your story will help other people avoid similar situations.

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

Issues faced by Renting out Your Property

Many people think of becoming landlords so that they can earn from the spare rooms or houses they own. But little do they know that renting out a property and becoming a landlord is not an easy job. While it is a great way of investing your time and money, and has a greater potential for generating money, there are some issues that can end up making the whole thing seem impossible.

What are these issues? Let’s find out.

  • Although you might have bought a stunning property for lower price, but the costs associated with remodeling and modernizing it might be exponentially high.
  • You never know which part of the house may require fixing, and costs seem to creep up on you when you least expect them.
  • Collecting rent can sometimes be extremely testing, as renters have a tendency to procrastinate.

Want to know more about the problems faced by landlords? Click http://www.moneycrashers.com/five-issues-with-buying-rental-property-and-becoming-a-landlord/ to find out more.

10 Common Rights Tenants Should Know About!

Before you start looking for a place to rent, or at least before you sign the agreement, make an effort and know your rights. The laws may vary from state to state. Here are a few common rights you should know about.

  1. Discrimination is illegal. Landlord cannot deny renting house on the basis of color, race or religion.
  2. The property to be rented should fulfill the housing and health codes.
  3. In some states, law limits the security deposit amount charged by the property owner.
  4. Landlord should get the repairs made in time. If not, the tenants should be allowed to get it fixed themselves and deduct the cost from the rent.
  5. Rental agreement is not above the law. Provisions against the law cannot be enforced in court.
  6. The tenant has the right to break the lease if terms are being violated by the owner.
  7. The landlord cannot deduct from the security deposit for normal wear and tear.
  8. In some states, the law states that the security deposit needs to be refunded in 14 to 30 days, after the premises are vacated.
  9. Landlords can’t change the locks or shut off the tenant’s utilities or force the tenant to leave.
  10.  If the landlord purposely forces tenant to leave the property by making life difficult, the tenant has the right to take legal action.