A Solo Renter’s Guide to First-Time Renting: Knowing Your Rights

If you are planning to rent a place alone, then you are soon to be a part of the growing community of people living solo. Statistics show that despite the higher costs, more people are choosing to live alone. They would rather be independent in all aspects, even in the way they handle their rent. They no longer want the headache that comes with having a roommate.

But if this is both your first time renting and living alone, there are many things you ought to know before you take the next step. For one, it pays to familiarize yourself with your rights as a soon-to-be tenant. Note that not all tenancy agreements state what your rights are as your landlord’s tenant.

Not all renters can afford the best rentals in the market. But even so, your rights are non-negotiable. This is why you should learn about your tenant rights even before you start renting.

Anti-Discrimination Law

One of the first rights you need to know as a first-time tenant is that no landlord may discriminate against you just because of your ethnicity, religion, race, gender, nationality, familial status, or disability. This means even if the landlord prefers their rentals to be occupied by families, you can still apply as a solo renter. This is for as long as you can meet their other requirements.

No matter the color of your skin, what country you came from, or how you identify yourself, you have every right to apply for tenancy. You can report landlords who discriminate against you based on certain protected criteria. Anyone who violates the Federal Fair Housing Act can be fined a hefty penalty if proven guilty.

Security Deposits

deposit

Landlords can require their tenants to make a down payment that will serve as their security deposit. You are to pay this after signing the lease agreement. The agreement should indicate how much security deposit is needed and what conditions apply after the term ends.

Sometimes, you are also required to pay additional fees as part of your security deposit. For instance, pet-friendly rentals may require a deposit for every pet that will move in with you. The security deposit will then be refunded back to you usually a month or so after you terminate the lease.

Note that the landlord may use the security deposit to pay for repairs you incurred during your stay. They may also use this as your payment for your failure to pay rent. It is important that you ask your landlord on what grounds they can keep the security deposit.

Tenant Safety

Renters have the right to rent a place free from safe conditions. This is why one of their responsibilities to ensure the place is safe enough for their renters to stay in. This means you can choose not to push through with the move and ask for the security deposit back if they fail to improve the place as discussed.

Many things can put your safety at risk while renting. This goes beyond the presence of hazardous materials inside the rental. A landlord’s failure to regularly maintain the place can result in your own injuries.

If you ever get injured because your landlord fails to fulfill his duty to keep the rental in good shape, you can hire a personal injury attorney. They can help you gather enough evidence to prove your landlord’s liability over your injuries, pain, and suffering, and even your lost wages if applicable.

Right to Privacy

Just because you are renting does not mean you no longer deserve enough privacy. All rentals should offer a reasonable level of privacy that tenants can enjoy. You ought to know this especially since you are planning to live alone.

You also have the right to be notified ahead of time in case the landlord needs to do a maintenance job around the apartment. Of course, there are cases when their visit is too soon due to emergency repairs. As much as possible, ask your landlord about their maintenance schedule so you can prepare ahead of time.

It is better if they can notify you at least a day or two before they show up for the maintenance. This is especially true if they are hiring professionals to do the maintenance and repair. Since you live alone, you should never welcome anyone who claims they are hired by your landlord to fix a dripping faucet or maintain the HVAC.

Tenants have many other rights. Since this is your first time renting and you plan on living alone, it pays that you do extra research. Know all about your future rights as a tenant and know your options in case your landlord fails to exercise your rights.

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