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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wanted: House for rent. Quiet cul de sac preferred

Up until a week ago., my mother told me a house wasn’t a good idea. Growing weary of hearing my neighbors noises really got on my nerves. For the last six years the pendulum swung from one extreme to another. A detached house on a quiet cul de sac would’ve been nice.

One of the problems with renting an apartment or house, there were a few things that bothered me but all this had to have been asked before signing an application or lease:

1.Section 8 Housing required everything in my bank account plus 20 hours outside the home. When most of the places accepting this situation found my not being able to meet income requirements, they laughed in my face or made smart aleck remarks about my getting a job. They also appeared on hand to inspect the house’s condition and what the owner had in it. My smart phone would’ve been a red flag to them.

2. Was there easy access into and out of the apartment? If not would the complex have done that? Most of the apartment complexes looked at by me said they weren’t required to do so, so the application was not filled out and signed by me either. One allowed alterations to the inside, but the expense to return it to its former state was the tenant’s responsibility.

Luckily one of the apartments looked at by me that didn’t work out recommended my current residence. There was no ramp upon my arrival here, but they built one in 2002 and had it redone in 2007 correctly. Even though there were no discounts on my rent until 2005, all was well until 2007, when my neighbors behavior began to change. If they weren’t hollering loud enough for neighbors to call the cops, they were having loud intimate relations.

 It was a good thing my knowing my rights as a renter. My lease stated a few things:
  • Rent was due on the first of every month but the deadline was extended a day, from the 5th to the 6th. The office opened at 8:30 a.m. Rent was late if the clock said 8:31 a.m. and fees applied.   
  • Visitors had a 72 hour rule when staying with a tenant. After that time notification had to be put in writing if it were any longer. 
  • Community Rules: Rowdy visitors were warned of their behavior. Three strikes and an eviction of the tenant took place, This included any noises that disturbed the neighbors and caused them to complain to management such as blaring music, arguing inside the house and outside.. 
  • There were to be no home based businesses on property. Tenants got suspicious if people were running in and out of another tenant’s residence. They might assume illegal drugs were being sold, which was a felony and a lease violation. 
  • If there were a problem with a tenant, one was to call the appropriate people first, then tell management. To avoid retaliation, never confront them alone. 
  • Lock the car and apartment door. There were three locks on everyone’s apartment door, use them.

Those were a few of the rules in my first lease signed in August  2001. Now, after 13 years at the same place, my wariness increases as new neighbors came and went during that time. Recently, Mom told me of a house near Southwest Parkway. It was previously occupied by an elderly person, so it was easy getting in and out of the house. Unfortunately, the rent was too expensive. With utilities included, it was $600 a month for that two bedroom. There was another problem. With nine months left on my lease, breaking it would’ve been detrimental to my bank account. Because income requirements were unable to be met by me, they gave me a discount because my income came from the government.

In order to terminate my lease, the nine month discount would’ve had to have been paid back in addition to the administrative fees for breaking my contract. That left a black mark against me because the new landlord would‘ve been notified of that which made me a risk. It was better leaving in 2007 when management was more willing to waiver those fees, but no one else offered the perks I had here. Most of the apartments only gave one month at a reduced rate just to hook the prospective tenant.

My problem with the other places reviewed by me was that they were not ADA compatible either inside the apartment or outside. If they stated the We weren’t required to speech, the application wasn’t filled out by me because there was no obligation to. One apartment complex allowed alterations to the inside of the apartment, but the tenant had to pay to put it back as was. It my have taken them five years to fix the ramp at the end of the sidewalk, or get sued, but it was fixed.

One thing that shouldn’t happen was renting a house and having to vacate in 72 hours because the landlord sold it and the new owner demanded the occupant leave in that time. It happened to one of the former members of my church. They moved four times in as many years before changing churches.

There was a thought of moving to the other apartment complex down the street, but it was the closeness of my neighbors that deterred me from that. And the easy access rule of my own.  There was plenty of time for me to decide where to live between now and the end of February 28, 2015

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