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Five Warning Signs of a Bad Landlord

Clogged Toilet

Shopping for an apartment? Still having trouble making up your mind on which apartment to take? There are several warning signs to watch out for while you’re looking for a place to rent that indicate you could be taking over an apartment with a rotten landlord. Here are five warning indicators that the landlord for the apartment might be more trouble than the apartment is worth.

The “I Don’t Know” Landlord

You should have a checklist with you, either memorized or even better, on a clipboard that you take along, with several key questions that are important to you. Get answers to those questions – a good landlord will either know the answers off the top of their head, or be able to get it to you in a reasonable length of time. The “I Don’t Know” landlord doesn’t know the apartment or its amenities well enough, or care enough to know, to be helpful to you after you move in.

The “What a Dump” Landlord

These landlords will show you – anything. In a tight rental market, or with an aggressive property manager, you will probably be looking at an occupied apartment. If that apartment is in a shambles, and the landlord doesn’t seem to care – you’re in trouble.

You’re in even worse trouble if the landlord shows you a vacant apartment which is a total wreck. This sort of landlord really doesn’t care, and odds are, won’t take care of the apartment after you move in, either.

The “Not This One” Landlord

This landlord shows you an apartment, then tells you that this is not the apartment you will actually be living in, but you will get one “just like it.” Even in a brand new building, that is a physical impossibility.

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Model apartments are fine if an apartment complex is still under construction – but beware model apartments in a building or complex that is finished. It is easy to maintain and keep up appearances in an apartment in which no one has ever lived, and an entirely different ball game for one that has been occupied.

The worst-case scenario is that the actual apartment you lease will be a total nightmare, with appliances that don’t work, carpeting that is a wreck (if there at all), mold and mildew evident – you get the picture. Only agree to rent an apartment that you have actually seen.

The “No Samples” Landlord

You should have an opportunity to review the lease agreement before you sign it. A high pressure landlord will want you to put down your deposit on the spot, without a chance to review the lease. A bad landlord will refuse to give you a sample of his lease, and expect you to sign it unseen by you, or your attorney.

The “I Never Come Here” Landlord

You pull in, the grounds are littered with trash, the parking lot looks like there was a party there this morning, and the FOR RENT sign is covered in graffiti. A good landlord visits their properties on a regular basis, or has someone doing so, and keeps the exterior (at a minimum) spic and span. A landlord who never visits his properties to check on these conditions is unlikely to respond very quickly to your clogged toilet, leaking faucets, or a hole in the roof.

Keep these five warning signs of a bad landlord in mind while shopping for your next apartment, and your next rental experience could be a good one.