By Arek Sarkissian II
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday Feb. 27, 2002
Students says to trust instincts when it comes to judging a landlord
The new residence hall housing cap will leave many students with the task of finding a place to live off campus.
But with a new place to live comes landlords, laws and regulations - which, if not paid attention to, could land the renter in court.
Lauren Milligan, an anthropology graduate student, and Jackie Secora, an atmospheric sciences graduate student, described their year-long tenancy in a university area house as a constant string of problems.
Milligan said at the beginning of the lease term, broken appliances and a decaying ceiling were problems that her landlord wouldn't fix.
"You could just never count on him," Milligan said. "Whenever we told him something was wrong, he blamed it on us."
Susan Ferrell, student legal adviser provided by Associated Students of University of Arizona, said any damage to the landlord's property must be fixed in a timely manner by the landlord.
If the landlord chooses to ignore the tenants' request to repair the damages, tenants should send a certified letter stating the exact date by which the landlord needs to have the damage fixed, Ferrell said.
When Milligan and Secora finally reached the end of their tenancy in the house, Secora said she got a letter from the landlord stating that he was keeping the deposit and he refused to tell them why.
Farrell said the best way to prevent the loss of a deposit is to be present at both the move-in and move-out walk-throughs of the property. During the move-in walk-through, tenants should photograph and document all damages.
If a landlord still decides to keep a tenant's deposit, an itemized bill must be provided of all things that needed repair.
They both said upon initial contact with the landlord that things just didn't seem right.
Ferrell said to ask for references of other tenants who have rented from them in the past. However, she said sometimes its best to use instinct.
"If you have a bad feeling about the landlord, think twice," she said.
Secora said her lease was riddled with demands that seemed either too harsh or simply odd.
Ferrell said students should have an attorney look at the lease agreement before actually signing it.
She said tenants can check a landlord's history with the Pima County Justice Court.