Bangkok expat housing guide :

How to prevent rental problem

 

The following are 10 things to do to prevent yourself from rental scam and problem.

1. Check landlord references.

When it come to renting a property, being cautious and suspicious can save you from the scam. the landlord you deal with might not be the owner of the property.

There are fake landlords out there ready to cheat your money. Just because the person  has the key doesn’t mean that  he/she is the real owner.There have been cases that tenants claiming to be landlords and subletting their condos to expats in order to benefit from the difference between what they paid and market rents.

It is a must to check the ownership of the property before you sign the contract. Make sure that the person claiming to be the landlord does indeed own the property and has the right to let it.

Bearing in mind that proof of ownership (Deed,Tax Bill or Mortgage Statement) and other relevant information to accurately identify also be provided upon signing lease contract.

2. Check property mortgage statement.

When a landlord loses a property they’ve rented out, it puts renters in a pretty uncomfortable position. When a property is foreclosed, pretty much any lease or other arrangements made by the owner are canceled and tenants are almost always evicted. Furthermore, in most cases, renters lose any rent paid in advance and deposits. While tenants can try to convince lenders or new owners to allow them to stay on, such arrangements are rare.

        

It’s necessary to run a background check on a prospective landlord to detect any signs of an impending foreclosure. asking the landlord to show you a copy of his mortgage statement  to make sure that payments are current and that the address on the statement matches the one you are renting , and if possible, have a chat with the previous tenants. You can also check the county recorder’s office for a notice of default ( NOD) or even check to see if the current owner has had an NOD filed against the in the recent past or has had a recent, major refinance.

3.Check lease contract.

When you sign a lease or a rental agreement, you are signing a legally enforceable document, obligating yourself to observe all of the terms. Make sure that you understand every element of it to avoid unhappy consequences

There are  clauses in the agreement that should be noted before signing:


Move-in date:


Some rental agreements don’t have a moving in date. This allows the prospective landlord to keep the prospective tenant waiting for an unreasonable length of time. If the prospective tenant can no longer afford to wait and withdraws their offer, the deposit is forfeit.


Repair and maintenance clause :


Usually, a landlord is responsible for major repairs and “normal wear and tear(for example, walls that routinely need to be repainted, or plumbing fixtures that break down because of long use). However, any damage caused by tenants, including minor repairs and replacement (such as replacing light bulbs, broken window, broken door locks ,etc.,depend on contract terms)is the responsibility of tenants.


  In case that rental payment  include all maintenance fee , the tenant will not have to pay for any repairs.


If your lease does not require the landlord to make repairs, you might attempt to negotiate terms for repairs. This is often difficult after the lease is signed. If the landlord is not responsible for repairs, you cannot terminate your lease if repairs are not made.

 

Termination clause  :

 

Review the lease to see if there are any clauses allowing the owner early termination rights in case that the owner has decided to sell property you are living in, or if your lease agreement contains a statement that your lease will terminate (generally upon 30 days notice) if the property is sold. These types of clauses are sometimes included in lease agreements by landlords who are planning to sell the property during the term of the lease, or by real estate agent that are temporarily renting the property until it can be sold.

If you want to be guaranteed that you can stay in the rental during the full term of the lease, you should not sign a lease agreement that contains a termination clause in the event of a sale.

 

Early termination clause :


Before you sign a tenancy agreement you may try negotiating a break clause with your landlord or agent, as this will enable you to end your tenancy before the end of the fixed term.


Normally, to terminate your lease early is considered breaching the contract. Unless you pay your rent until the apartment was re-rented or continue paying the rent until the leasing time was up,You are due to pay the early termination fee.   So Sign a long-term lease only if you plan to stay the entire lease term or only if there is an acceptable early termination clause . Make sure the early termination policy is in writing and that the written policy states what the Landlord has stated to you.

4.Carefully inspect the property.

Check if  the property in good repair,  If the place has serious problems, you should probably not rent it. A landlord who would even show a unit in a poor condition probably won't or can't make the needed repairs. If the landlord promises to fix it up, make sure it is agreed in writing with signature to be carried out by the landlord before you move in.  puts down dates on which certain repairs will be completed. Also, write down that you will not have to pay your rent if landlord fails to meet the completion dates. Do not sign the contract if landlord refuse to do so.


Before you move in, Document the condition of the property. Take a walk through with the landlord or property management company, and note any damage  of the renal property.  Photographs are a great way to record the condition of the property when you first move in. Have the landlord or property management company sign off on your notes, Keep these in case of any dispute about repair or refunding the security deposit at the end of your tenancy.

5. Pay rent on time and keep all receipt

A tenant is expected to be current on all rent, as provided in the lease.

Failing to Pay rent on time and in full  can subject you to eviction and liability for payment of the remaining rent.


Whenever paying by cash, it is very important to get a receipt and keep it as the proof of payment. If the rent is paid by check, mark on the check the month for which the rent is being paid before giving the check to the landlord. Keep the canceled check when it comes back with the bank statement. The tenant and landlord should keep complete records of rent payments. They may be necessary at some point as proof about what rent was paid or not paid.

6. Always keep the property in good condition.

A tenant is responsible for keeping the rental unit safe and sanitary.

Dispose of  garbage in a clean and safe manner, use appliances properly and prevent others from damaging your place.


Upon moving out , the tenant is expected to leave the property in the same or close to the same condition it was  when moving in. To get the unit be ready for the next tenant, thoroughly clean the whole place and Make needed repairs.


when you are ready to move out, Conduct a move-out inspection with the owner or property management company. Return your keys at the move-out inspection. Use the checklist you created when you first moved in to address any issues.

After the inspection the landlord will provide you with an itemized list of proposed deductions from your security deposit.

It is best to be up front with your landlord about what needs to be repaired or you can be charged later for actual damages.

Before you completely move out, give your new address to the landlord, so the security deposit can be sent.

7. Always keep a copy.

Whether it is a letter, a written notice , etc,  Make a copy of everything you send the landlord and Keep everything you receive from landlords.

Be sure to keep a copy of your signed contract, the receipt for your security deposit and any other housing-related documents in a save place.

8. Document all communication.

When any damage occurs to the rental unit,you should notify your landlord in writing immediately or at the first sign of problem.

Letters may also be followed-up with in-person visits or phone calls. All communication should be documented and letters should be sent by certified mail, receipt returned. Keep dated copies of all communications for your records.

9. Take pictures of the problem.

As part of the tenant record, it is a good idea to take pictures of the problem, so that the tenant will have evidence if the tenant has to go to court as a result of the landlord's failure to make repairs.

10.Comply with all conditions in the tenancy agreement.

Following your obligation and upholding your responsibilities can minimize  chances of running into problems in the future.