Rental housing must meet specific minimum legal standards. At a minimum, rental housing should meet the following conditions: The ceiling or roof should not leak and there should be no broken doors or windows. The plumbing has to work, including hot and cold water. The heater has to work and be safe. The lights, electrical wiring, and gas have to work and be safe. Floors, stairways, and railings have to be in good repair. The place has to be clean with no trash, mice, rats, or other pests. The landlord has to provide enough garbage cans with covers for the garbage.
Landlords have the right to check on rental applicants' credit history and can refuse to rent to people who have been evicted, who have bad credit, or court judgments against them. This is an important reason to be responsible in paying bills and to resolve conflicts with landlords without going through an eviction. Landlords can charge a rental application fee for checking a prospective renter's credit. One way to save money is for a family to secure their own credit report directly from a credit bureau and attach it to their rental application. Some advisors suggest that if a prospective renter has a bad credit history in the past but a good recent credit history then it is wisest to talk this information over with the prospective landlord because it is likely to be reported anyway. Credit Bureau reports go back at least five years.
Landlords have no valid reason or legal basis to be interested in a tenant's immigration status, legal or illegal. Interest in a tenant's immigration status should be considered as a red flag indicating a landlord's possible willingness to take advantage of immigrant tenants, based on their vulnerability.
US law prohibits discrimination in housing. Rental applicants can't be discriminated against based on their race, religion, gender, national origin, marital status, or physical disability. The law also prohibits discrimination based on any other arbitrary basis, such as age or sexual orientation. People who have been discriminated against can receive compensation for the damages they have suffered, reimbursement for the expenses they incurred in looking for another place to live, and access to the housing they sought in the first place. It may be difficult to know if you are being discriminated against, but clues include the following: an individual or a family is told that a vacant place to live has been rented but a For Rent sign is up or an ad is still in the paper; when a person or family shows up in person, they are given different information than when they first called; the manager takes a person or family's application but does not call back; Rental applicants who feel they have been discriminated against and want to file a complaint should write down exactly what happened so they can remember it when they do file the complaint.
A written Rental Agreement is an important part of renting housing. This legal contract helps to avoid conflict. Most rental industry associations recommend that landlords enter into written agreements with their tenants. Most landlords now use standard rental agreement forms, usually from an industry association. Prospective renters should consider carefully how well they know and trust a prospective landlord who wants to rent to them without a written agreement.
Renters should read the entire rental agreement carefully before signing it. In the United States, even everyday transactions are based on written, legal agreements. Often the standard terms of such agreements do not necessarily conform with people’s idea of what makes sense. Also, legal agreements are enforced on the basis of what both parties agree to, not on the basis of what might be considered fair. For example, standard agreements allow a landlord to recover attorneys' fees for disputes with tenants, in cases where the landlord prevails. Similarly, standard terms about default often say that the landlord has the right to terminate the tenancy after notifying the tenant of the default,(such as not paying the rent when due after three days. (adapted from OTAN)
Have you ever had or do you have back problems? What do you do to feel better? Have you ever gone to a chiropractor or tried yoga? Henry suggests acupuncture. Have you ever tired that?
Jamal suggests a firm mattress. Do you like firm mattress or a soft one? Do you sleep on something other than a mattress?
Have ever had water problems in your house? What did you do to fix them?
Jess says he doesn't "believe in that stuff" when Henry suggests acupuncture. Which remedies or natural treatments work and which ones are just not scientific? Do you know what the placebo effect is? Is it worth trying something that makes you feel better even if it's not really medically working?
Have you ever run a meeting? How did you stay on topic? Have you ever been to a meeting that went too long or was inefficient? How can meetings be more productive?
Have you ever been on TV?
Henry gets a B+ on his project. What could he have done better?
Pretend you have some serious problems in your apartment. Write a letter to your landlord requesting that he/she make the necessary repairs.