Renting Property as a Student: What You Should Know
BY SYLVIA KOHL
Although renting a property for yourself may be fascinating, the truth is that many students know very little about their rights and duties in this respect – which is a sure way to trouble. In this article, we will tell about some of the basic things you should know.
1. The landlord cannot enter the rented property whenever he wants
Contrary to what you may have heard, neither the landlord nor the people acting on his behalf have the right to enter the rented property without providing some form of reasonable notice. Reasonable notice is loosely defined to some form of official contact providing reasonable time frames to accommodate the landlord coming over to inspect or make repairs or show the property to future renters or buyers. The only situation in which the notice isn’t necessary is an emergency – for example, in case of fire or water damage. The landlord is within their right to have routine safety inspections and many perform them quarterly to check smoke detectors and also electrical, water and mechanical. Most landlords will often send an email or text to all tenants living in the building or specific unit that they will be coming over during a several hour time window to perform a route inspection. Nearly all landlords provide one day notice for routine maintenance inspections as they are often scheduled well in advance.
2. Fire and general safety are mostly the landlord’s responsibilities
Legally, the landlord should make sure the property has an adequate means of a fire escape and, at the very least, appropriate smoke alarms on every floor. For landlords of apartments in Boston smoke alarms are often a big concern because many tenants constantly take them down when they are cooking and often forget to put back the batteries or pull out the hardwire. For landlords it often seems like an endless game of whack-a-mole as many landlords are often replacing many smoke detectors either broken or lost by tenants. There should also be an appropriate amount of carbon monoxide detectors depending on the size of the property. If there isn’t one, it may be a good idea to request a meeting with the landlord to remedy the issue in an immediate manner. Landlords have run into issues where one tenant will take down the smoke detectors but not let the other tenants know they have done so. So make sure you talk with all your roommates to make sure that you are not the cause of the problem.
3. The landlord cannot just evict you without a good reason
There is a whole lot of reasons why a landlord may have a legal right to evict you. For example, if you are regularly late with your payments, have breached the tenancy agreement or take part in illegal activities. However, this works backward as well: if there is no court order seeking eviction, a landlord can’t demand you must vacate if you have a lease and you are in good standing. Your lease protects you from a landlord evicting you without cause.
4. The landlord can ask you to move out earlier than the agreed upon lease term
The landlord can certainly ask you if you would like to end your lease earlier than the agreed upon time frame; but they can’t make you without some other form of violation or serious safety repair that must completed without tenants being present. In nearly all instances, minus violations and serious habitability problems, the landlord can only ask you to move out if you agree to leave – otherwise, he is bound to let you stay on the property until the end of the agreed-upon period. The same goes for you-you cannot move out before this period ends unless the landlord agrees. Otherwise, you will still have to pay the rent for the rest of the period. But if you would like to move out early, it is always a good idea to talk it over with your landlord and see if you can sublet or help rerent the place so that landlord doesn’t lose any money. In this case many landlords are very willing to help you as it didn’t cost them any money per-se; just a little bit of their time. Most landlords are always willing to help good tenants. So make sure you are good tenant; because you never know when your dream job shows up in another city or a couple of your roommates need to move out and you are interested in a change of venue.
We hope that these tips will be of help to you the next time you decide which flat to rent – there are many other nuances to it, but we’ve covered the ones that cause students the most problems.
Sylvia Kohl is an IT teacher with more than 8 years of professional experience. Her main spheres of interest are e-education and she convinced that learning process doesn’t stop after years in school and university.