Possible Housing Issues
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Depending on the severity of the damage, and nature of your lease, the landlord may be able to evict you. But don't try to hide the damage! If you move out and the landlord finds the damage, your deposit is at risk. Check your lease for written instructions or details on what kind of damage you would be liable for. If damage occurs, notify your landlord. Ask if you can do any part of the repair and offer to pay for it. Get professional estimates of the repair project if the landlord wants to do it and wants to charge you. Damage is different from normal wear and tear. Reasonable wear and tear are conditions that are expected to happen because of normal use, or because of the continuation of time. Make sure you take photos of the previous state of the apartment so you cannot be charged for damages you did not create.
There are some basic ground rules all roommates should begin a relationship with:
- Communicate. Be honest and don't let issues fester and get blown out of proportion. Everyone will be more comfortable in the long term if needs and wants are out in the open.
- Respect boundaries. Set quiet hours and/or private spaces. In this case, it's better to ask for permission than ask for forgiveness.
- Don't be a borrower. Always ask before you use someone else's stuff.
- Keep your space neat and clean. Set definitions of what clean is that everyone can agree on.
- Negotiate and collaborate. Be willing to change. Don't just think about how your roommates can improve, think about how you can be the best roommate.
Be calm and prepared. Part of being prepared is reading the lease thoroughly and knowing if the issue is really something you cannot fix by yourself. Meet your landlord face-to-face in order to deal with the issue. Bring notes, photos, and witnesses, if need be. Make sure you keep copies of all correspondence between you and the landlord. Check out the San Francisco Rent Board Landlord & Tenant articles for more information and advice. Here are also some frequently asked questions regarding landlord disputes.