Despite the gradual stabling of the once turbulent housing market, rental rates are still rising in the U.S. Some consumers are recovering from a foreclosure or just aren't able to qualify for the loans needed to purchase a home and are choosing to rent rather than buy. But whether you're renting from a Las Vegas property manager or a private landlord, knowing your rental rights is essential to avoiding long term problems. Here are three serious signs your landlord may be violating your legal rights.
1.) Asking discriminative questions
Pop quiz: You're in the initial stages of the application screening process and have not yet filled out an application. Can a Las Vegas property management company tell you that they really want to keep the community quiet and ask you if you have any children? The answer: Absolutely not! It's been illegal to discriminate against familial status, disability, and race for over twenty years now, but some landlords will still sneak in questions regarding these statuses. Under federal law, landlords cannot choose tenants based on familial status, age or health. Violating federal anti-discrimination laws can lead to serious lawsuits, especially if a potential tenant feels that they were turned down from a rental because of discrimination.
2. Breaking promises
Pop quiz: You've found a great condo community where the manager has talked up the countless amenities from a 24 hour laundromat to a pool, gym, and free coffee bar. You rent immediately but less than six months later the laundromat has been shut down, the gym equipment is broken, and the manager has stopped stocking the coffee bar. All the benefits you rented for are suddenly all gone. Is this a violation? In some cases, it is. Las Vegas property managers and landlords want to highlight their properties benefits especially to help attract leasers. But if certain perks are promised and a tenant ends up feeling cheated, they may have the right to sue or even legally break the lease.
3.) Security deposit slip ups
Pop quiz: You pay a refundable security deposit at the beginning of your lease and throughout your renting time you've had nothing but disagreements with your landlord. Upon leaving your Las Vegas property manager decides to keep the security deposit because of all the disputes you've had. Is this legal? Definitely not! The most frequent types of cases in small claims courts are arguments over security deposit retentions. And though deposits should only be used to cover damage beyond basic wear and tear, there are lots of landlords that are using the security deposits incorrectly. Some keep the money for property upgrades, to cover the cost of broken leases, or justify keeping the deposit for a tenant's “bad behavior”. It's important to know all the stipulations of receiving your security deposit to avoid legal issues later.
Knowledge is power and in this day and age, it never hurts to know your rental rights so as not to be taken advantage of.