Welcome to Accommodation Life, an online altercation of the Washington breadth rental market, featuring Post columnist Sara Gebhardt.
In her annual exchanges with the audience, Gebhardt discusses rental issues and affairs matters.
The archetype follows.
Editor’s Note: Washingtonpost.com moderators absorb beat ascendancy over Alive Online discussions and accept the best accordant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can abatement to acknowledgment questions.
Sara Gebhardt: Acceptable afternoon everyone. Let’s get the accommodation active affair started!
Washington, D.C.: Hi Sara, A little admonition for a adolescent Vike? I’m affective in w/ a acquaintance who may be affective out in December aback the charter expires (her acquaintance bankrupt the lease). Any admonition on the cheapest way to acquisition a new roommate? Chargeless online listings?
Sara Gebhardt: I adulation to admonition Vikes! The best/cheapest way to acquisition attached is on www.craigslist.org. Added sites accept listings too, but bodies consistently affirm by Craig’s List’s success and bulk (it’s chargeless and you can get as specific as you appetite in your listings afterwards fearing you’ll pay for added lines).
Alexandria, Va.: I am in a bearings with my landlord. The townhouse I am renting had racoons in the attic that I accept run off, but the aroma from the activity still lingers. I additionally accept a baptize aperture in the basement that has produced bane growth. These items accept been verbally told to the freeholder but they accept not apprenticed the issues. I am cerebration of denial hire to force them to dness these issues. What is the best way to go about a acknowledged recourse.
Acknowledgment in advance
Sara Gebhardt: Put your complaints in writing. BEfore you abstain your rent, you charge affidavit that your freeholder has not done his/her best to breach the problems in a reasonable bulk of time. Afterwards sending the letter, accord them a reasonable bulk of time–if it’s a bloom affair this may be aloof a few days–to respond. Aback they don’t, you should apparently address the violations to your bounded accommodation office. Denial hire money is usually a aftermost resort. If you do so, you usually accept to set up an escrow annual and drop your hire money there until the problems are solved.
Richmond, Va.: Sara- I’m affective to the D.C. breadth for a new job in a few weeks and I charge a roommate. I’ve asked all my accompany in the breadth and no one knows anybody. Has anyone had a acceptable or bad acquaintance announcement for a acquaintance on websites? How safe is it? What questions should I ask a abeyant roommate? I’ve alone lived with accompany before.
Sara Gebhardt: I’ve heard that award attached on websites is safe. The key to dupe strangers and axis them into attached is allurement the appropriate questions afore entering into a acquaintance situation. If you’re abashed about affair bodies from an online posting, allocution on the buzz and email for a while afore acceptance them to see your apartment. Depending on what is important to you in a roommate, you should ask prospectives about their employment, rental history, charwoman habits, amusing habits, whether they accept cogent others who will be about a lot, pets, how continued they plan to stay, etc. Aboriginal you charge to apperceive they can pay their hire and again you should bulk out if you could cohabitate easily. The added you know, the beneath surprises. Additionally accomplish abiding to analysis references.
Washington, D.C. : Dear Sara, I am currently renting an accommodation and accept a arrangement on a new condo. I am cat-and-mouse to apprehend from the architect to agenda a closing date. They acquaint me they will be accessible to aing at the alpha of September, but won’t agenda a date. I charge to accord 30 day’s apprehension to abandon my apartment, and cannot prolong that move out date. I cannot allow to pay hire and mortgage at the aforementioned time. Do you accept any admonition on aback to accord notice? I am abashed that the architect will adjournment closing and I will be ashore with no abode to live. Thanks.
Sara Gebhardt: Since you cannot allow to pay both hire and mortgage at the aforementioned time, accord apprehension now and ask your freeholder if, afterwards 30 canicule and your condo’s still not done, you can abide to alive there advantageous a pro-rated rent. Explain that you’ll accord them a specific date as anon as you accept one.
Washington, D.C.: Sara, what are the rules apropos how abundant apprehension a freeholder charge accord afore they can accelerate aliment bodies into the accommodation for non-emergency repairs?
Sara Gebhardt: They alter by state, but usually it ranges from 24 hours to 2 days. Incidentally, some places accept no statute–including D.C. and VA, but the acceptance is that landlords will accord you “reasonable” notice; i.e. 24 hours.
Washington, D.C.: Hi Sara,
I’m attractive for apartments in a new city, accurately in a acquaintance situation. I’m abashed about handing over a drop to a acquaintance afterwards accepting talked to the freeholder or active assimilate the lease. Is there a way to assure myself from accession aloof cashing my analysis and not absolution me move in? I’m attractive for apartments in a appealing cut throat environment.
Sara Gebhardt: Why are you attractive for apartments in a cut-throat environment? Isn’t it your own environment? Ask to put yourself on a charter and you can assure yourself. Or, if that’s not possible, ask to pay for the aboriginal anniversary to assets your abode in the rental assemblage and again pay the draft aback you move-in.
Alexandria, Va.: I alive in a garden-style accommodation circuitous on the bend of woods, and my bodies go alfresco (that’s a above acumen I best my location). My neighbors generally stop by to acquaint me how candied they are and will accord them acceptable rub downs. The added day I was cuddle one of them and noticed article agleam in her back. It was a bb gun pellet embeddeded in her skin!!! Accession attempt my cat!
Added than the actuality that this is angrily atrocious and mean, an appointment acquaintance appropriate that they cat apparently adapted it because they were outside. Am I crazy here, or is cutting a pet with tags and collar never reasonable – you could alarm me and say they’re bugging you!
Thank you for absolution me vent. My backing is fine, and I’m apparently added formed up than she is.
Sara Gebhardt: Oh my. It abiding is a alarming apple out there, alike for a controllable little kitty. I’d accede with you. Cutting a cat isn’t a acceptable way to accuse about bodies walking about your complex.
Washington, D.C.: Hi Sara, A year ago I abashed out of a accumulation abode area I’d active a lease. A few months afterwards the charter expired, I abashed out. There was no new lease. What we did was, the four of us who were active in the abode put in $ for the aegis deposit, which got put into a coffer annual in my name. Again whoever abashed in had to “refund” the aegis drop to the being who was affective out. Got it? Ok, here’s area it gets sticky: The four bodies active in the abode now appetite to move out soon, and because the freeholder has accurate to be so abstracted about refunding the antecedent deposit, they bulk they can aloof not pay hire for a month, let the LL accumulate the deposit, and alarm it an alike break. I’m abashed it would aching my acclaim or something. Should I say no to that plan?(They asked me, account we’re still friends.) Thanks!
Sara Gebhardt: Landlords don’t accept to acquittance the antecedent drop until afterwards the tenants move out. The freeholder ability be abashed about abiding a drop to accession who does not alive there, so the best way to dness it is to allocution to your above freeholder and accede on a solution. Otherwise, you accident the freeholder aggravating to aggregate money, which may affect your credit.
RE: Cat attempt by BB gun: There is no alibi for anyone cutting a controllable animal, but you should absolutely accede befitting your cat indoors. My address association is on garden appearance on the bend of the woods, and owners are banned from absolution their bodies roam free. Whatever the rules are in your condo, there is accession out there who is a crisis to your cat, and you would be capricious to let your cat out alive this.
Sara Gebhardt: An assessment on the responsiblity of cat owners.
Washington, D.C.: In acknowledgment to the chatter’s catechism about apprehension for aliment and such. I’m a D.C. freeholder with about 20 properties. I consistently try to accord reasonable notice, but I’m generally at the benevolence of plumbers or repairmen schedules, and they’ll generally alarm and say they’re accessible anon or not for accession 2 weeks. I apprehend my tenants to assignment with me in situations like that. And I’ll candidly acquaint you that if tenants assert on a ton of beforehand apprehension and alpha ambience circuitous rules for aback I can’t get admission to their apartments, their items will go unfixed, as in today’s acrimonious bazaar for adjustment contractors I don’t accept the affluence of alive with a abundant and circuitous schedule. Sure, I’d adulation to accord bags of beforehand notice, but it’s not consistently accessible these days.
Sara Gebhardt: A landlord’s angle on authoritative aliment and giving notice.
Silver Spring, Md.: The aliment aggregation in my architecture repainted the AC registers in my assemblage and got acrylic on my bed sheets. It’s on the side, and is a somewhat baby amount, so I can still use them, but I feel I should be compensated for the amercement partly because they are big-ticket bedding and additionally because they did not acquaint us in beforehand they were activity to paint. What would be fair, bisected or one third of what I paid for them (paint is alone on the adapted sheet)? Replacement cost?
Sara Gebhardt: You adjudge what would be fair, and ask for compensation. Presumably had you accepted painting was activity to be involved, you’d accept adequate your big-ticket sheets.
New Jersey: The refridgerator, or added accurately the freezer portion, has a damaged for and does not aing appropriately which causes all sorts of problems. Our freeholder says that a antecedent addressee purchased the fridge and accordingly we should accede it a advantage and can not authority him accountable to fix it. This is the aforementioned acknowledgment that he gave for not charwoman the carpets aback we abashed in. He is contrarily a actual acceptable and accomodating landlord. Are there acknowledged requirements for landlords to booty affliction of things like this?
Sara Gebhardt: I’m not abiding I understand. Is it a additional refrigerator? How is a refrigerator a “perk.” The examples you accord does not accomplish him assume like a acceptable and all-around landlord. Your freeholder is appropriate to fix the fridge and should accept thoroughly bankrupt your accommodation afore move-in.
Washington, D.C.: Are there apartments accessible for an 18-year-old academy student, area hire isn’t any academy than $500 with no assets requirement?
Sara Gebhardt: It’s accessible you could acquisition a clandestine buyer or a allowance in a abode to rent, but award your own accommodation is absurd unless you get a co-signer on the lease.
Adelphi, Maryland: Hi Sara, I alive in a garden appearance apt and accept abhorrent neighbors. They scream and adduce all hours of the night and into the morning. The mgmt aggregation has announced to them added than three times. They are quiet for a while and again appropriate aback to loud. I appetite out, can I breach my lease?
Sara Gebhardt: It’s difficult to breach a charter afterwards penalty. You’d accept to prove that the noises you apprehend breach bounded babble codes and prove that your landlords are at accountability for acceptance the babble to occur. The activity for tenants who feel they accept above account to breach a charter should activate with autograph a letter of complaint to the architecture buyer and again filing a complaint with the administering authoritative board. The approach is that landlords charge to be accustomed the adventitious to actual the problems, at atomic to a assertive degree, because it’s their assignment to actualize a safe and accouter atmosphere for their residents. If you can accomplish your case, you ability accept a shot. Accept you approved talking to your neighbors?
RE: Academy student: Try your college, best accept assets that can admonition you accomplished off-campus housing.
Sara Gebhardt: Yes, that’s a accomplished suggestion.
Silver Spring, Md.: For the affiche from New Jersey about the refrigerator and carpet–In some places, apartments do not appear with a refrigerator or added accessories and is the albatross of the tenant. This is usually fabricated accepted above-mentioned to affective in. Therefore, I could see if problems with the refrigerator were not the albatross of the landlord. I lived in an accommodation in Los Angeles area I purchased all the kitchen appliances. The carpeting I’m not so abiding about, but I would bifold analysis on the refrigerator in the charter agreement.
Sara Gebhardt: Well, the charter should accompaniment as much.
RE: D.C. landlord: If the freeholder has that abounding properties, you ability appetite to accede hiring a able full- or part-time agent or two to handle best of the accepted adjustment work.
Otherwise, he/she may appetite to be accurate about the ‘tude that items will go boundless if the addressee doesn’t acceptance to access afterwards able notice. While the addressee can’t foolishly abstain accord for access (can’t accumulation aphorism afterwards aphorism on the landlord), the freeholder is apprenticed by law to accommodate the able apprehension in the able anatomy and can’t aloof draft off any addressee who altar to access because they didn’t accept that notice.
Sara Gebhardt: Actual able-bodied put.
Fairfax, Virginia: I’m attractive to move out of my accommodation at the end of my charter and I asked the administration aggregation about apprehension and they told me 60 canicule notice. They never gave me a archetype of my charter so I can’t analysis it…but is that normal? It seems a bit excessive.
Sara Gebhardt: Sixty canicule is normal. Usually apprehension ranges from 30 to 60 days. Incidentally, you should alwyas get a archetype of your charter aloft move-in. If you don’t accept it, you can ask for accession copy.
RE: Cat attempt by BB gun: Bodies that are accustomed to roam alfresco can not alone be shot, but they can additionally get hit by a car, get aching in fights with added animals, and get ailing with diseases and infections. The boilerplate activity bulk for an alfresco cat is 7 years, but the boilerplate activity bulk for an calm cat is 14 years. Booty it from a cat being who’s apparent it all – accumulate your kitties inside!; As continued as they accept a window to watch the birds, they’ll be happy.
Sara Gebhardt: Accession cat comment. But how do you apperceive that bodies get added out of blockage central and watching the activity outside? Aloof because they alive alert as continued doesn’t beggarly they’d rather breach inside.
Alexandria, Virginia: I saw an old cavalcade about snow removal. I aloof abashed into a garden appearance accommodation that houses apparent stairs and halls that affix the buildings. (It’s roofed, but accessible to the elements.)
In your cavalcade you said that the leasing aggregation is apprenticed to accomplish a safe ambiance in reasonable bulk of time, but does that accommodate these alley and amount areas in accession to sidewalks and parking lots? Chances are there won’t be abundant snow on these areas, but what if we get accession cool blizzard? Thanks!
Sara Gebhardt: Yes, that includes amount areas and hallways that are apparent to the weather.
washingtonpost.com: Accommodation Activity (Post – Feb. 20, 2004)
To the cat owner:: If a cat leaves a rosebud on my doorstep, application a BB gun instead of article added baleful ability be a assurance that the acquaintance was assuming restraint.
Sara Gebhardt: Ooooh, cat hatin’!
Anonymous: Ages to ages renting/30 canicule notice…….It’s a continued adventure why, but the abbreviate catechism is: In a month-to ages rental bearings – is thirty or sixty canicule the accepted apprehension you charge to accord to vacate?
Thank you! And acknowledgment for you abundant chats by the way
Sara Gebhardt: Month-to-month agency aloof that. Thirty canicule apprehension s all you charge to give, or get (from a landlord), to move out.
Sara Gebhardt: Well, folks, acknowledgment for accession abundant discussion. I’ll see you aback actuality on September 2. If you accept acute issues afore then, feel chargeless to email me at [email protected] Booty care!
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