We read through the 2018 climate report and summarized the effects of climate on renters.

The Fourth National Climate Assessment report was released on November 23rd. It paints a grim picture of the future, covering a vast range of topics, ranging from economic changes to infrastructure resiliency. Here are our key takeaways for renters.

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1. More Crowded Cities = Higher Rent

Politicians and media often understate the extent to which the US is an urban nation. “85% of the total U.S. population” lived in urban areas as of 2015, and that number appears to be increasing. …


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Logan Circle Rowhouses

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. …


It seems like just yesterday we wrote about Hurricane Florence. Here’s what panhandle and Georgian renters need to know…

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What if my apartment gets damaged?

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. A good starting point is to 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. Check RenterPeace for laws on whether the landlord needs to fix specific problems. …


All it takes to become a landlord is owning property. While many tenants have to undergo a credit check just to live somewhere, you never see similar transparency from landlords. But, there is a simple way to hold landlords accountable! It can be as easy as just telling your story.

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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 can log in to tell the app where you live and get better answers. It’s one of the most comprehensive sources for landlord-tenant laws on the web, covering over 50 scenarios in numerous states and cities. It not only covers the typical leaky faucet but also harassment by landlords, disruptive neighbors, and even discrimination. Best of all, you’ll see all your options and some tools to help you use them — from withholding rent until the problem is fixed to requesting an inspection from the housing authority. …


Everyone knows signing a lease is a commitment, but before you get to that step, even applying for the place can have sneaky costs. Smart renters should consider a rental application as the multi-thousand dollar commitment that it is. You should be prepared ahead of time with the right questions to ask. For example…

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“What’s the tenant screening process?”

Many landlords engage in tenant screening, which often includes running a credit check with your application and costs a fee the landlord will charge to you. It could be a hard inquiry, which hurts your credit score, or a soft inquiry, which does not. …


Ideally, get a lawyer. But we know that you may not be able to afford one — and the court does too. So you’re on your own in court, but there’s good news! It’s not as scary as you think.

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It’s Informal

This varies heavily by the location and court, but generally small claims and landlord-tenant court are designed for people who can’t afford lawyers. The matters here are too small to justify full format court proceedings, so they operate more like Judge Judy than Boston Legal. There’s no need to memorize objections, civil procedure rules, or any of that lawyer stuff. Just show up and tell your side of the story. The other side tells their side. You may be asked to present evidence, like emails or text messages, if there’s a disputed fact. And then, the judge makes a decision. …


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Luxury apartments are the ones with glass walls, rooftop pools, and high rent. You might have noticed that there are a lot of them but they are always advertising vacancies. Why don’t they just lower the rent? They also tend to have very low deposit requirements, which is strange. Why is that?

Rent Control and High Turnover

Many big cities have rent control measures. Generally, rent control prevents landlords from significantly raising the rent on current tenants. For example, in DC, landlords typically can’t raise the rent more than $50-$100 once a year for every $1000 of rent. But, when the apartment is empty, landlords are free to raise the price. That means that it makes sense for landlords who are making renovations or have purchased a building in an up and coming neighborhood to have high turnover, so they can frequently raise the rent. That’s why in some buildings, you’ll see them post $2500 for rent but then require only a $400 deposit. The less you’re committed to a place, the faster you’ll move out. It’s also why such buildings can appear fancy on the outside, but the service provided by the landlord and property manager is far from “luxury.” …


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Living with roommates can be a great way to get the housing quality and location you want for the price you can afford — plus, it can be fun to have friends right in your living room when you get home! But cohabitation comes with its own set of challenges, too. The one we hear about most often? Roommates who never do the dishes. Or mop the floor, or clean the bathroom, or do any of the regular maintenance that makes living space livable.

Deciding Who Does What

Even if nagging worked (which it usually doesn’t), communication is one of the biggest hurdles while you and your roommates balance all the other stresses of work, school, or social obligations. So, how do you deal with a messy roommate without becoming the unofficial mom of your apartment? The trick is to set up a system that continuously schedules and delegates chores for you. No need to argue about who needs to do it! …


We’ve all experienced it: The broken heater. The leaky tub. The neighbor playing his dubstep-polka records at top volume until 4 a.m. The apartment problem that isn’t an emergency, but drives you bonkers because no matter what you do, you can’t seem to get it fixed. And since no one wants to seem whiney, we don’t even realize just how common it is for tenants to try to get minor issues fixed, only to find it impossible.

What’s going on here?

It all boils down to incentive. There’s just no motivation for landlords to fix minor problems. It almost always costs you more time and money to hold a neglectful landlord’s feet the fire than just to fix the problem yourself. …

About

RenterPeace

Renter stories, news, and tips from the #1 social app made just for renters https://renterpeace.com

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