Finding a rental is hard enough, but making sure you don’t get scammed as a first-time tenant is even harder. Not all landlords are out to get you, but there will be the occasional black sheep giving everyone else a bad name.
Just like any other city, renting an apartment or a house in Boston probably required a lot of work. And now that you have finally found your favorite place to live in while in Boston, what should you do next?
Know The Laws
The first step to protecting yourself as a first-time tenant is to know all there is to know about tenant and landlord laws in Massachusetts. A bad landlord will definitely take advantage of your ignorance of local MA or Boston laws. Do not give them this opportunity by learning all there is about a tenancy.
You not only need to know your responsibilities as a tenant, but also what your landlord’s responsibilities are so there are no misunderstandings. Also, learn about all the costs associated with renting an apartment or house. This website gives you detailed information about MA laws. In addition to these resources, talk to your agent and make sure they tell you everything you need to know.
Get Everything in Writing
From the beginning of your tenancy to the last day, you must document everything. Ask the agent and your landlord to give you everything in writing. Want to ask them if you can paint your bedroom a different color? Send them a letter or an email and ask them to reply in the same manner. Keep a copy of this interaction so you can use this proof if the landlord refuses that he permitted this change in order to scam you out of your security deposit. Some other examples are:
- Get all repair and maintenance details included in the leasing or rental agreement.
- Permission to repair vehicles (personal transport) on the premises
- Who handles appliance repairs and maintenance? Get it into the agreement.
- If you plan to do any DIY renovations etc, get permission in writing and also how will the landlord reimburse you for this
- Write down the age of all appliances.
- If the house or apartment has carpeting, note down its age too (Though you should try and not rent something with carpeting)
Well, not quite, but make sure you photograph the rental property before you move in and after you move out. This way you have proof of any previous damages being present before you moved in, in case the landlord tries to charge you for something you never did. You could Instagram it too, in case you lose your pictures or something. You never know.