On Court Radio – What You Need to Know As Tenants and Landlords – Listen in Sunday at 7 a.m.
By Dean I Weitzman, Esq. on July 14th, 2012
Disputes between landlords and tenants are among the most common legal situations that can occur in people’s lives. From a landlord who isn’t concerned about properly caring for their rental properties to tenants who fail to pay their rent on time, there’s a myriad of issues that can arise and cause tensions for both sides.
These kinds of issues will be the topic on “Court Radio” at 7 a.m. this Sunday as Court Radio host and MyPhillyLawyer managing partner Dean Weitzman and his co-host David Rapoport discuss landlord-tenant issues and how they can be resolved for both parties.
Court Radio is broadcast live at 7 a.m. every Sunday morning on Philadelphia’s WRNB 100.3 FM, with a simulcast on Magic 95.9 FM in Baltimore. You can also listen live on the Internet at WRNB 100.3 or on Magic 95.9 via streaming audio.
Weitzman and Rapoport will offer a do’s and don’ts list for tenants and for landlords to help prevent problems before they arise. These issues can also relate to tenants who share rental properties as roommates.
For renters, some tips include:
- Do get contracts and rental agreements in writing to protect your legal rights and to know and understand the responsibilities of you and your landlord. Don’t ever accept a verbal agreement alone. And make sure that you make and receive copies of all rental documents and forms after they are signed so you have proof of the agreements in writing.
- Do research your prospective landlord on the Internet. Check their names or company names for complaints and any reported problems so you can look into their reputations. Check with your local government agencies, such as the housing inspector or zoning board, to see if there are complaints outstanding. Find out how any problems are resolved.
- Do get renters insurance. This kind of insurance is cheap and easy to obtain and will protect your belongings in the event of fire, theft or other losses. Your belongings are not covered under the landlord’s property insurance. Be sure to obtain this inexpensive and worthwhile coverage to protect yourself.
- Do be sure that the language specifying your security deposit for the property clearly stipulates how much you will pay, what potential damage it would cover if needed and when it will be returned to you after you move from the property at the end of your lease. A definition of what normal wear and tear to a property should be included in the lease and other papers repalting to the rental.
- Do understand that your rights as renters are protected under the federal Fair Housing Act, which makes it illegal for a landlord to deny housing to any tenant because of religion, sex, disability, family status, race, color, or national origin.
- If you believe your rights have been violated, do contact the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, which can investigate your complaint and help enforce your civil rights under the law.
- Do know that your landlord must maintain your rental property in safe and habitable condition. If those conditions are not maintained, you may have legal rights to break your lease and vacate the property.
- Do know that your landlord must give you at least 24 hour notice before they can enter the rental property. That entry to the property can usually only occur when repairs are needed or in emergencies.
- Do know that you can’t be evicted without sufficient and proper notice, depending on the laws where you live. In Philadelphia, you can learn more about eviction procedures and your rights as a renter from the Community Legal Services agency.
- Do carefully review rental applications from prospective tenants and be sure that you collect all of the required information on income, past rentals and employment to ensure that your tenants will be responsible.
- Do run a credit check on your prospective tenants.
- Do require a security deposit for the rental property to protect your investment.
Other handy lists of useful suggestions for renters can be found on the real estate web site, Move.com. Be sure to check out the “10 Tips for Every Tenant” list, and the “Apartment Renters Rights” pages.
So be sure to tune in for Court Radio at 7 a.m. Sunday to learn more about landlord-tenant laws and your rights and responsibilities with co-hosts Dean Weitzman and David Rapoport. And remember to call in with your own questions and comments.
When Winning Matters Most, call us to discuss any legal matters that arise. If you need us, we will be there to help you with friendly, professional and highly-skilled legal services.
About Court Radio
Listeners can call in with their legal questions to 800-539-1479 or they can email their questions to [email protected]. Participants are asked to only ask or submit ONE question each time so that all callers have a chance to discuss the legal topics that are on their minds.
Court Radio is the place to ask your legal questions and get real answers from lawyers with a deep background in the law, from personal injury to contracts and estates, insurance and much more.
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