When you finally find that apartment that you can call home, it is hard to imagine that the apartment manager who seems so nice can try to rip you off. It does happen. It is hard to tell when renting the apartment whether or not the manager is one of those dishonest people who will bury youith unfair charges or if the manager is honest and fair. Just to be safe, there are some things that you can do to protect yourself moving in. Never take possession of an apartment without protecting yourself, even if the manager or leasing agent seems trustworthy.

Keep a copy of your lease in a safe place. After a while, the lease gets misplaced or just thrown away. This leaves people open to a dishonest landlord to make changes unchallenged. It is illegal for landlords to do this but I have heard of it happening. Another extra step you can take is to sign every page (whether you are asked to or not). This way, changing any of the pages in the lease is much harder to do.

Get all promises in writing. If a promise is made to you, for example a free garage, garbage or a garbage disposal will be installed, have it added to the lease. If it is not in writing, it is not a valid promise. This does not mean that landlords never keep promises that are verbal. I am saying there is no way to force them to keep the promise if it is not in writing.

If there are provisions in the lease that you do not like, have them changed before you sign. If the landlord will not change them, you either have to live with it or rent someplace else. Never let them tell you that it is just standard and does not apply to you. If it is in the lease, you are bound by it. You absolutely must abide by any terms in the lease if you want to avoid fines, eviction, or forfeiting your security deposit. When a person is deciding to move to apartment in Penrose, there should be gathering of complete information. The leasing of the apartment should be great to meet with the results. The terms should be clear and avoidance of extra fees should be there.

Get a copy of the move in sheet. The move in sheet is where you document any existing damage to the apartment before you move in. Not only should you get a copy but be thorough when you fill it out. Nothing is too small to include. This is your guarantee that you are not charged for damages that were already there. If it is not on the sheet, you cannot prove that it was already damaged. An additional step that you can take is to take some pictures of the condition of the apartment when you move in, focus on any imperfections. It is best to use a camera with the capability of stamping the date on the picture. If such a camera is not available, you could try a digital camera or scanning the pictures then e-mail them to yourself so that your e-mail can note the date. You will also want to do the same thing when you move out to show the condition of the apartment when you leave.

Get copies of all of the keys on your move in date. This includes keys to the mail box and common areas, not just the apartment. If you don’t get them up front, do not sign anything saying you did. Most of the time, additional copies of keys are given with a fee. You have no way to prove that you were never given the keys if you signed something saying that you were given them.

I know it sounds like I am bashing landlords. I assure you all that this is not the case. There are thousands of good landlords out there who are honest and fair. There are also some bad ones. It is often difficult to tell what kind of landlord you are getting. Current residents may or may not tell you the whole story about what kind of landlord you are getting. Former residents are often hard to track down, and getting their names is nearly impossible. It is not likely that you will be able to ask former residents why they left. You could ask the landlord why the previous resident left. However, if you are dealing with a dishonest person, you will probably not get the truth. A good landlord will not object to your taking these steps, in fact, many good landlords encourage it.