How to Assert Your Rental Occupants Rights
Renting a home or apartment does not mean you are an individual living without occupants rights, regardless of how long you have lived in a particular space. Understanding your occupants rights and how to go about asserting them is essential to protecting yourself as much as possible in times of need. Whether your home is no longer safe or if you are not receiving the ongoing maintenance services you require as a renter, knowing your rights as an occupant can go a long way in ensuring an outcome that sways in your favor.
Do a Safety Check
When it comes to understanding and establishing occupants rights, conducting a safety check around the house is essential, even before you move in a new rental tenant. Conducting a safety check and inspection will help you determine if you require nationwide fire sprinklers to be installed or if there is a lack of safety and security due to outdated structures, fixtures, and even appliances or other amenities in the home or apartment. Conducting a safety check before you move into a rental can prevent major issues from becoming a hassle in the near future.
Make Sure Heat Is Provided
One of the most important occupants rights to keep in mind anytime you are renting a property is your ability to receive heat. Ensuring that heating is provided at all times is necessary for comfort and safety purposes. If your heating is not provided, your landlord or property manager should assist with covering the costs of any heating repair work you may need at some point or another.
Finding the Right Heating and Cooling Repair Company
Finding and hiring the right heating and cooling repair company can be done by working with your property manager or landlord, by referencing local business directories, and even conducting a search for heating and cooling companies and contractors near you with the use of the internet. Searching for a heating and cooling company will require the ability to compare services, packages, prices, and portfolios ahead of time to ensure you are making the right hiring decision. You can also speak directly with a heating and cooling company to inform them that you are just a tenant in a rental unit, which may prompt them to work directly with your individual landlord or any property management company that is currently responsible for your building.
Keep Copies of Documents
As a renter of an apartment or home, learning about your occupants rights means keeping copies of documents that pertain to your rental unit and any contractual agreement you have signed before moving into the space. Making and keeping copies of useful documents can provide a paper trail if you need to prove that you have paid your rent or that you have also invested your own money into other services and solutions that should be provided by your landlord or the property management firm responsible for your rental home or unit. Keeping copies of documents can also protect you if you require assistance with a legal matter in the future with a lawyer by your side.
Tips on Keeping Copies of Documents as a Rental Tenant
Keeping copies of documents as a rental tenant is much easier to do when you have access to various copier services near you, especially if you do not currently have a copier of your own at home. If possible, consider scanning documents or taking photos of them with the use of a smartphone if you have a way to back up your photos and documents using a secured server or on the cloud. Keeping your documents as organized as possible with dates and labels can also come in handy if you need to reference them again in the near future.
Make a Note of Egress Points
When it comes to occupants rights, you should always take time to make note of egress points or exit points of your rental unit. This is especially important if you are living beneath the ground level of an apartment building or if you are living on an elevated floor. Regardless of your exact location in a rental home or apartment building, you will need to ensure you have proper exits and entrance points to protect yourself in the event of an accident, injury, fire, or even a natural disaster. If you have been injured due to a lack of egress points, it may be time to consider retaining a personal injury lawyer to assert your rights and fight for you.
Advantages of Retaining an Injury Attorney
Working with the right injury attorney is highly recommended if you were recently injured due to a lack of maintenance or even egress points in your own home or rental unit. An injury attorney can act as a mediator for you while negotiating with your property manager or landlord, depending on the circumstances that surround your situation and the injuries you have sustained in your rental unit. If you are thinking of seeking compensation for your injuries or even for the emotional stress you have endured, you can do so by retaining an injury attorney who is well-versed in the area of occupants rights and tenant law.
Ensure Your Disability is Accommodated
As a rental tenant, you will want to ensure your disability is accommodated, whether you require wheelchair access or additional support throughout the home or apartment you intend to rent. Whether you require stair lifts or balancing bars in hallways, it is important to always take a bit of time to research units that are for rent before choosing one that is right for you and most accessible for your own needs as an individual. If your rental agreement states that you are entitled to accommodations according to the ADA, or the American Disability Act, you may need to speak with your landlord or property manager directly to inquire about your options and to ensure they are willing to invest in the necessary updates and upgrades.
Find Whether Your Landlord Uses Certified Contractors
Anytime your landlord or property manage is working on your home or rental unit, you may want to take the time to verify that they are using certified contractors at all times. From hiring a certified electrician to working with a certified, licensed, and insured HVAC company, certification matters whenever you are thinking of hiring someone to work in or around your home, even if the location you’re in at the time is simply a rental and nothing more to you. If you want to determine if a contractor or company is certified and insured, you can ask them outright when they are at your property and before allowing them to get to work. In some cases, you may also learn more about the certifications of various companies and contractors near you when you choose to do so by conducting some of your own research online.
The Importance of Certification for Contractors
Hiring certified contractors is a way for your landlord to protect themselves while also protecting their own tenants. Certified contractors are well-versed in their area of expertise and will work with each of their clients on an individual basis when creating a plan of action, whether new custom cabinetry is being installed or if an HVAC system is receiving an inspection or being replaced. When you work with a contractor who is not only well-versed and experienced in their chosen industry, but also certified, you can do so while maintaining your own peace of mind knowing that your home is in the right hands. Certification and insurance will also prevent you from assuming legal and financial liability anytime a contractor is working around your home.
Take Advantage of Escrow
If you are a renter, you can still take advantage of escrow. Using an escrow solution is ideal if you want to place a hold on your rental payments due to a lack of maintenance or repairs needed around your home or apartment. If you want to get started with an escrow solution but you’re unsure of where to go to begin, hiring the right attorney can help guide you along the way.
Network With Other Tenants
Choosing to greet, get to know, and network with other occupants in an apartment building or housing development unit is key when you want to assert your own occupants rights. When you take the time to network with other tenants near you, it is much easier to gain strength in numbers, especially if you are all in need of the same services, such as a mold removal contractor near you. When you connect with and network with other tenants, you can also help convince them that it is time to take action, especially if multiple properties are being neglected and ignored by the landlord altogether.
Connect With Legal Aid
Another way to go about asserting your occupants rights as a rental tenant is to do so by connecting with legal aid. Connecting with legal aid, depending on your current location and the local resources available near you, is a way to learn more about fire alarm systems you may qualify for and how to go about ensuring your safety and privacy rights as a tenant. If you want to connect with legal aid, you can do so with the use of local references and referrals and by researching the options and resources you have accessible and available near you online.
Benefits of Connecting With Legal Aid
When you choose to take some time to connect with legal aid regarding your case, you can do so while maintaining your own peace of mind knowing that you will be working with an individual who is well-versed in the rental system and when it comes to occupants rights. Connecting with legal aid is a way for you to better navigate any issue you’re experiencing with a property management firm or an individual landlord, regardless of where you currently live and the size of your apartment or rental unit itself. Legal aids can assist you with reviewing contractual agreements and even seeking out additional public resources that are suitable for your needs as a rental tenant.
Check the Contract
When you are living as a tenant in a rental property and you want to learn more about your occupants rights as an individual, you will also need to take a bit of time to check and reference the contract or leasing agreement you signed before moving in. Reviewing the contract between you and your landlord or property management company will help you better determine which direction you should go in based on the issue(s) you are experiencing at the time. For instance, if you are dealing with an infestation of pests in your home or apartment and you require professional pest control services, you can take some time to reference your current leasing agreement or contract to determine who is responsible for caring for pests. In most cases, your landlord will be held responsible for maintaining a property and keeping it pest-free.
The Importance of Referencing Your Leasing Agreement or Contract
Becoming familiar with your current leasing agreement or the contract you signed before moving into a rental home or unit can be extremely beneficial, especially if you run into legal issues and potential problems in the future. Anytime you are signing a written contract as an adult, it is only best to do so once you’ve thoroughly read and comprehended the entire agreement presented before you. The more familiar you are with the entire leasing agreement or contract you signed before moving into your rental apartment or home, the easier it will be for you to address certain issues or a lack of assistance from your landlord if a problem arises.
Knowing and understanding the ins and outs of your rights as an occupant or tenant of a rental property is imperative anytime you are renting from someone else or even from a rental corporation. Even as a renter, knowing your rights can come in handy when you’re entitled to various services or when your own landlord is violating their current leasing agreement or written contract. The better you understand occupants rights, the easier it will be for you to face potential legal matters that arise while you are renting a property at any time.