Do Tenants Have the Right To Have New Homes Rekeyed?

By Linda Mullins

The excitement and expectation of moving into a new home can sometimes overshadow the many details involved with the process itself. Whether moving into a single-family home or condo rental, a large part of a tenant’s comfort and peace in their new place is resting assured that no previous tenants have access to the home.

Providing this peaceful enjoyment is foundational to landlord responsibilities and includes some safety measures. A chief concern is rekeying the unit when a tenant begins a new lease. While the expectation is for landlords to be diligent about this, situations arise when some may refuse to rekey. This article will provide step-by-step instructions on how to request to have the landlord rekey a rental home, within the law and hopefully without the need for legal action.

Though the laws vary from state to state, tenants will see mention of “locks and keys” within the law code of every state. For instance, the tenant law in Florida says that landlords must make “reasonable provision for locks and keys.” 


Avoid Penalties By Ending the Lease the Right Way

By Amanda Razani

When tenants enter into a signed rental contract with a landlord, they’re agreeing to a set of terms that include the rental rate, residential rules and the date when the lease ends. But life happens, and sometimes renters may need to break the lease.

Whether it’s to get married and move in with a spouse, caregiving for a family member or a job relocation, ending a lease early may be the easiest way for a tenant to avoid shelling out money that can be used for other expenses. However, Texas and Florida laws don’t list any of these instances above as exemptions for ending a lease early. 

Cutting the lease short also leaves a landlord scrambling to find a new tenant to avoid loss of income. And more often than not, the tenant will owe penalties and remaining rent. It’s not always this way though. There are some legally recognized exemptions that allow for tenants to break their contract without being penalized, such as active duty; privacy violations; unsafe living environment; physical or mental harm (i.e., stalking, domestic violence, sexual assault). This post will explore legitimate ways to break a lease and what to do when termination is in that gray area. 


How To Get a Deposit Back

By Melanie Green

When someone prepares to rent a new place, saving money for move-in expenses are top priority. In addition to beating the odds of a competitive rental market, applicants must make sure their credit score is up to par and they have a decent rental history. 

Once those two boxes are checked off, a large portion of initial funds includes at least a month or two worth of rent and a security deposit. But what happens when the renter has a change of heart and wants the deposit back?

In this guide, learn about: 

  • Different types of deposits
  • Which deposits are refundable
  • Steps to take to increase the likelihood of getting a deposit back
  • How to avoid tension with a landlord, even when ending the lease early
  • Deadlines to receive deposits
  • Legal steps to get the deposit back

Regardless of which deposit is paid for and whether it’s refundable or not, all tenants should read through their leases to make sure deposited funds are kept in the landlord’s separate business account. Here’s what else is on a need-to-know basis.


Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold, Finding the Realtor Who’s Just Right

By Melanie Green

To quickly find the best rental property, it’s imperative to find the right Realtor. They may not have the largest number of clients. Rather, this experienced Realtor has a solid level of service and reach to access rental condominiums and single-family homes in a particular area.

Here are some important considerations to remember when selecting a suitable Realtor:

  • Choose a likable Realtor who is open to honest conversations.
  • Ask for referrals from peers.
  • Confirm that the Realtors know the local market well.
  • Research their savviness with rental properties.
  • Prioritize Realtors that put the renter’s interests first.
  • Ensure the Realtor shows quality listings.
  • Understand what support services they offer.
  • Ensure they communicate effectively on the property owner’s behalf.
  • Read about their online reputation.

Let’s explore why these points matter so much in the home-shopping process.