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Common Landlord and Tenant Mistakes

May 10, 2017

The most common errors made by both tenants and landlords.

Tenant Mistakes

No Proof of Prior Conditions:  When a tenant move out, if they can’t prove, e.g., a window was broken, a rug was stained, one of the stove burners did not work, before you moved in, the landlord may have a claim to your security deposit.  Good landlords will inspect the property with you before you move in, and, for example, if there are gouges on the kitchen floor, make a note of it on the lease, however, this isn’t always the case.
Weak Understanding of Lease Length: Many tenants believe they pay “monthly” rent, and if they move out, they do not owe rent for the following months.  Almost all leases, however, are written based on a one-year term.  The lease will say the annual rent is $12,000, payable $1,000 monthly.  This means that if you move out after six months you still owe the balance of the year, i.e., $6,000 to your landlord.

Landlord Mistakes

 Delay in Rent: The most common mistake and perhaps the most costly one is letting the tenant accrue too many late rental payments.  At some point, the arrears become so high the tenant may give up and wait to be evicted.
Too Vague of Lease: A landlord only has the rights stated in the lease.  As an extreme example, if there is no lease, the landlord has no rights except to collect the rent.  He has no ability to inspect the property, make repairs, show the property to potential new tenants, etc.  The best leases cover every possible issue and solve them in a manner fair to both parties.