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6 Things Every DC Renter Should Know

By |November 21st, 2018|Tenant Tips|

1. First, check if your landlord has a business license If they don't, you have a ton of power. Renting without a business license can result in the landlord receiving a $1000 to $3000 fine on average for a first time offender (DC is harsh!). If the landlord is refusing to make a repair that costs $500, it's a no-brainer to point out these fines. If they try to raise your rent, you can refuse to pay the increase - it's illegal to raise the rent without a business license. Basically, your rights as a tenant expand ten-fold if they are renting without a license. Check here. 2. Housing inspections are typically the best answer If you're already fighting with your landlord or the problems are severe, calling a housing inspection is probably the best answer. It's free, relatively fast [...]

Hurricane Michael: Tenant Rights and Who Pays for What

By |October 11th, 2018|Tenant Tips|

It seems like just yesterday we wrote about Hurricane Florence. Here's what panhandle and Georgian renters need to know... What if my apartment gets damaged? First, take lots of pictures (RenterPeace can help keep your documentation organized). Then make sure to tell your landlord about all the damages, even minor ones. They probably have tons of properties and don't have time to do deep walkthroughs of every single place - by proactively telling them about the problems, you make sure that you're a priority. In every state except for Arkansas, landlords are legally required to fix severe problems at their cost and maintain working utilities to the extent it's under their control - this includes Florida and Georgia. Check RenterPeace for laws on whether the landlord needs to fix specific problems. Make sure to remind your landlord that FEMA may cover the [...]

How to Hold Landlords Accountable

By |October 5th, 2018|Tenant Tips|

All it takes to become a landlord is to own property. While many tenants have to undergo a credit check just to live somewhere, you never see such transparency from landlords. But, there is a simple way to hold landlords accountable! It can be as easy as just telling your story. Learn Your Rights Learning your rights on your own is normally tricky. Try Googling your problem and most of the results will be law firm blog posts that intentionally make the law complicated to make you feel like they're the only ones that can explain it to you. But RenterPeace makes it easy and free. Just visit the RenterPeace law page and search for your problem - no login required. You'll instantly see laws targeted for your jurisdiction. The app will guess your region based on your computer's location - you [...]

Hurricanes Florence and Olivia: Your Tenant Rights

By |September 11th, 2018|Tenant Tips|

Headlines about Hurricane Florence and Hurricane (or, hopefully, Tropical Storm) Olivia are blowing across Americans’ phone screens and inboxes this week. As we charge our phones, stock up on water, and do everything we can to prepare, those of us who rent our homes have an extra question. What can I do to prepare my rental home for the storm? Before the Hurricane Should I leave? Check the news. At the time of writing, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia have issued some evacuation orders. If the government says to evacuate, definitely follow their instructions and start early - the traffic will be bad and many flights will be booked. Even if you don't have an evacuation order and are in the general path of a hurricane, you may want to consider leaving. Rain, flooding, and storms can make life difficult, and [...]

How to Make Friends When You Move to a New City

By |August 25th, 2018|Tenant Tips|

Making new friends when you move to a new city is the difference between spending every night with takeout and Netflix, or actually exploring your home beyond your new digs. But, especially in your young adulthood, it’s intimidating. There are apps for dating. For friendship? Not so much. But it’s not impossible. Here’s how you can reach out and make new friends after you move. Contact friends of friends. Ask your friends if they know anyone in your new area, then take that person out for coffee. If you both get along with the same person, there’s a good chance you’ll get along with each other, too. Look up alumni events. Alumni of your college who live in your area may host networking or social events. Contact your alma mater’s alumni office or scour Facebook to find out. Ask a [...]

The Definitive Roommate Chore List

By |August 24th, 2018|Tenant Tips|

No matter how much you love your roommates, keeping your apartment or rental house clean and organized can cause tension and stress. We can’t tell you how many users have written in complaining about roommates who leave dishes in the sink for months, never clean the bathroom, or bring in pets they neglect to care for. If you can afford to hire a weekly or monthly service to supplement your regular upkeep, all the better. But, unless you have a live-in maid, you’ll have to do some cleaning. And with roommates, cleaning means communicating. Keep the peace and a clean house by setting up a system ahead of time! This roommate chore list includes all the daily, weekly, and monthly tasks you and your roommates should divvy up. From there, set up whatever rotating system you prefer. Many roommates choose [...]

Interview Questions to Ask Potential Roommates

By |August 16th, 2018|Tenant Tips|

Few renters can afford the quality and location they want without sharing living space. When you achieve roommate harmony, that’s a good thing! But then there are the roommate horror stories. Renters have told us about everything from being scammed out of thousands of dollars to just pulling their hair out over omnipresent dishes in the sink. To ensure a copacetic apartment share, don’t just ask the most obvious questions about sleep schedules and cleaning. Try these oft-ignored roommate interview questions, too. What's your biggest pet peeve? Everybody wants a clean place with respectful roommates. BUT, it turns out that this means different things to different people. Some people are irked by clutter in the common room, some are sensitive to being woken up by roommates coming in late, and others hate when the shower curtains are dirty. To get a good [...]

How to Set Up Your First Apartment

By |August 16th, 2018|Tenant Tips|

You’re striking out on your own, and that’s exciting! But it’s also overwhelming. Setting up your first apartment is its own unique brand of stressful because you don’t have experience or stuff. Here’s what you need to know before you start. Before you move anything in… While the apartment is still empty, clean it! This is the best time to get in a real deep clean because there’s no furniture to reckon with. Exercise healthy skepticism if the landlord says the place will be cleaned before you move in. Set up utilities. Your landlord can tell you what companies provide electricity, water, and internet. Set up accounts before your move-in date. Try to call the companies at least a week or two ahead of time so you don’t go without. Finally, be sure to change your address on your subscription [...]

What You Need to Know Before Moving to a Big City

By |August 6th, 2018|Tenant Tips|

If you’re moving to a big city for the first time, you’re probably excited. That’s because you should be! You’re about to experience more art, culture, diversity, and sensory overload than ever before, and it’ll surround you constantly. Follow these tips to make sure you spend more time enjoying your new surroundings and less time stressing out. Get rid of a bunch of stuff. Then, get rid of more. You’re about to move into a much smaller home, and then spend much less time in it, than you used to. Pack accordingly. The more you can pare down your belongings, the less time and money you’ll spend moving, and the easier your new digs will be to set up. Don’t be shocked if your moving date draws dangerously close and you still don’t have a place. As Alice noted on [...]

10 Notices You Might Get From Your Landlord (and What They Mean)

By |August 3rd, 2018|Tenant Tips|

A letter from the landlord can set a first-time renter’s hard pounding – especially if you don’t know what the notice means. So, check out our guide below of the notices you may receive from your landlord, and what you should do if you get them. Notices you don’t want to see If you get one of these notices, you’d be justified in stressing out a bit – and talking to a lawyer. Unconditional Quit Notice An unconditional quit notice tells you your lease will end on a certain date and you have no option to rectify the situation. It’s illegal in some states and most US areas have restrictions on when landlords can do this. Notice of Non-Renewal This tells you that your lease won’t be renewed as expected, and when you need to leave. If you don’t think [...]