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Tips to avoid renting from a slumlord

Finding an affordable place to live in Los Angeles can be difficult, especially when you want to find an apartment that is nice, located in a good neighborhood and does not require too long a commute to work. Another important aspect of choosing the right rental is the landlord.

When you are paying to rent an apartment, you will have certain expectations of your landlord or property manager. For example, you expect that he or she will sufficiently maintain the property, fix the bathroom if you have a leaky faucet or ensure that the building is up to code. Unfortunately, it is easy to end up with a landlord that does not live up to this end of the rental agreement. By following the tips below, you can identify if your potential landlord is actually a slumlord before you sign your next rental agreement.

Look deeper than the surface

When you are touring an apartment, look beyond the surface. A fresh coat of paint does not mean that there is not mold lurking beneath. Look closely at the construction of the building and how certain things work. For example, if the windows, doors and faucets do not work on a level that matches the surface appearance of the unit, you might want to move on. If it seems like the apartment is lacking in routine upkeep, then it is best not to trust that fresh coat of paint.

Talk to other residents

Take the time to talk to other residents who live in an apartment building you are touring. They can give you a realistic idea of what to expect in terms of any issues. For instance, the property manager might tell you that he or she responds to and fix all maintenance calls within 24 hours, but a tenant might tell you that it usually takes a week or more.

Check with the county

The county courthouse keeps records of safety complaints, licensing issues, code violations, and liens that a creditor might have issued against the property. If there is a stack of paperwork on an apartment complex you are interested in, this might be a sign that the landlord is not taking responsibility for the property. Also, you can look through lawsuits that the landlord has filed against tenants. This might be an indication of how aggressive the landlord is.

Read the reviews

Look online for reviews about the property from current and previous tenants. If there are a lot of negative reviews against the property or landlord, then this may not be the place for you. However, be sure you are discriminating with the reviews on which you base your decision. Those that are petty or extremely negative may not provide a clear and true rendition.

If you are shopping for an apartment in the Los Angeles area, it is important to determine if your potential landlord is a slumlord. Sometimes, it can take a while before you experience the truth of the situation. If this happens, and you find yourself living in an apartment operated by a slumlord, keep in mind that you have certain legal rights and you can fight back.

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