Be A Good Tenant

Living in the Rental Unit

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As a tenant, you must take reasonable care of your rental unit and any common areas that you use. You must also repair all damage that you cause, or that is caused by anyone for whom you are responsible, such as your family, guests, or pets.

This section discusses other issues that can come up while you’re living in the rental unit. For example, can the landlord enter the rental unit without notifying you? Can the landlord raise the rent even if you have a lease? What can you do if you have to move before the end of the lease?

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When You Have Decided to Rent

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Before you sign a rental agreement or a lease, read it carefully so that you understand all of its terms. What kind of terms should be in the rental agreement or lease? Can the rental agreement or lease limit the basic rights that the law gives to all tenants? How much can the landlord require you to pay as a security deposit? This section answers these and other questions.

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Looking For a Rental Unit

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You can obtain information on places to rent from many sources. Local newspapers carry classified advertisements on available rental units. In many areas, there are free weekly or monthly publications devoted to rental listings. Local real estate offices and property management companies often have rental listings. Bulletin boards in public buildings, local colleges, and churches often have notices about places for rent. You can also look for "For Rent" signs in the neighborhoods where you would like to live.

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Before You Agree to Rent

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Before you decide on a rental unit, there are several other points to consider. For example: Is an oral rental agreement legally binding? What are the differences between a lease and a rental agreement? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each? This section answers these and other questions.

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Who is a "Landlord" and Who is a "Tenant?"

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A landlord is a person or a company that owns a rental unit. The landlord rents or leases the rental unit to another person, called a tenant, for the tenant to live in. The tenant obtains the right to the exclusive use and possession of the rental unit during the lease or rental period.

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