As one Atlanta resident found out recently, it can pay to know something about the home owners that you are renting from. Ms Jones signed a lease with a home owner and paid him her deposit and first month’s rent before discovering that the home she was renting was already foreclosed on.
Ms Jones was lucky enough to get an offer from the bank that owned the home in their “cash for keys” program. This agreement had the tenant turn in the house keys in exchange for double the money that she had paid to the home owner as well as two months to find alternate accommodations. While this particular renter’s story had a reasonably happy ending, that is not the case for every renter who finds themselves in a situation like this.
There are a variety of things that you can do to protect yourself against this type of thing happening to you when you are looking for a new home to rent. Landlords are naturally cautious about new tenants; as a tenant, you should be cautious about a new landlord. Like renters, landlords are just people too and can have the same types of failings that renters do.
Some of the ways that you can help ensure that you are not getting into a bad situation are:
Do some research into your new landlord: don’t be afraid to ask them for a reference from a current tenant or previous one if they have that information.
Google your new landlord and the address of the home: depending on where you live, there is a variety of information that could be available online. You may be able to find out if the property is up for sale or auction as well as if your landlord has any complaints filed against him or her by previous tenants. The internet has a wealth of knowledge for this type of thing. There are also many websites created by people who have had bad dealings with specific landlords or rental companies that you can easily find online.
Check with your municipality to make sure that there aren’t unpaid taxes on the home; in some areas if property taxes go unpaid, the home can be foreclosed on and put to auction.
The more cautious that you can be before you sign a lease and hand over your deposit, the less chance that you will have a bad experience in renting a home.
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