Never Forget to Get These Documents from your Landlord
September 1st is upon us, and that means much of the city is on the move. You should have your lease and associated documentation already, but landlords are not required to provide all of that ahead of time. Don't get lost in the rush--make sure your 'T's are crossed and your 'I's are dotted. Make sure you have this paperwork when getting settled into a new rental:
1. Apartment Condition Statement - This is a document used in Massachusetts that documents the condition of the apartment upon move in. While many tenants receive this document, there is a lot of confusion about what it is, when you should get it, and what it is meant to document. When? You should receive this document prior to or on the day of your move in. What? When you receive this document, the landlord or property manager should have filled out their information at the bottom, and noted any defects in the property along with the general condition of the property. If the notes are accurate, sign off on it. If not, do your own documentation. On a separate sheet of paper, list any and all defects at the property (cracks in walls, missing doorknobs, cracked windows, broken fan, etc.). What is it? This document is meant to be a guide used for Security Deposit distribution at the end of your lease. The Security Deposit is held so that if you damage the property, the landlord can use that money to fix damages. That's why it's super important that you note pre-existing damages. You do not want to ask for your security deposit back just to receive a portion because the guy who lived there before you broke a door hinge that you just chose to deal with for a year. Make sure the landlord signs off on your account of the property and/or it is clearly documented that you sent it to them (email is best). You need to get this form back to them within 15 days of move-in or receipt of the paper (whichever comes later).
Note: This is NOT a repair request list. Just because you note 13 things that are damaged int he property, they may not be fixed. Consult your lease paperwork for how to deal with maintenance requests.
2. Rent and Security Deposit Receipt - This may seem obvious, or you may say "I don't need that; I'll remember what move-in funds I paid" but make sure you get this documentation! Even if you remember something accurately, it doesn't mean your landlord will. And beyond that, it is actually really easy to forget if you provided First, Last, Security, or Just First and Security, etc. And if you extend your lease, or your landlord increases your rent...three years down the line you may just forget he/she has your money and/or how much of your money. So, within 30 days of you providing move-in funds, make sure your agent or the landlord has gotten you documentation of all of the funds you have provided, and how much each check was written for.
3. Signed Lease - You want to know what rules you signed on for, don't you? Landlords should get this back to you within 30 days of move-in. Make sure pet policies, key replacement policies, maintenance request information, etc is clearly outlined.