Updated: Aug 1, 2019
No one is a pro their first time around... especially when it comes to renting. So it is important that you get ahead of the learning curve and learn some ways to make sure you aren't getting scammed.
3. That's Your Money!
Most Landlords charge you 3 months rent before your lease ever starts. Really it is 2 months and security deposit. THAT SECURITY DEPOSIT IS YOUR MONEY. Many landlords in the market will try to use issues with the house to take the security deposit.
LEGALLY, they are supposed to present you with a checklist to review the state of the house on move-in day so that it can be used
to determine how much of the security deposit will be used on move-out day.
ALSO, you should be able to track your security deposit throughout the entire tenancy. It might not seem important, but it is your money and you deserve to know if it is ever being used.
2. Chill Party is a Legal Party
Contrary to popular belief, students are not justified to party outside of the campus boundaries. This idea was probably fostered by TV Shows and Movies, but you are not allowed to host the next ‘Project X’.
HOWEVER, there are some rules you can follow to ensure that you do not get fined. Simply search your city and type ‘Noise Ordinance’. In Somerville here are the main things to consider: The level of noise; The time of day or night of noise; Duration of noise: intermittent, or constant; and The density of the inhabitation of the area within which the noise emanates.
Long story short, don’t go crazy with parties. Every adult will tell you not to party, but students will be students. Just try your best to be smart and respectful.
1. MASSACHUSETTS WATER IS FREE
Now this might sound obvious, but Landlords are in charge of paying all water bills. Believe it or not, there have been multiple complaints at my college where students are paying massive utility bills. After looking deeper into these issues, almost each one originated from water bills that should have never existed.
The main point here is that EVERY STATE HAS THEIR OWN LAWS. You have to determine whether you are in a state that favors tenants or a state that favors landlords. This information will make it easier to guide your expectations on leases and other restrictions.
If something feels fishy, its most likely illegal. And if you want to avoid these types of situations, Toku Got You.