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Useful Tips to Protect Yourself as a Renter in Nebraska!

Most people rent an apartment or a house during their lifetime. Renting creates a unique relationship with the owner of the property because while they own it and have certain rights to the property, you as the renter also have certain, but different, rights to the property. Below are some useful tips to protect yourself as a renter.

Read Your Lease Before You Sign

The first thing you should do is read the lease in its entirety before signing it. It might be awkward but take your time reading it so that you understand what you are agreeing to before you sign it. You can always consult a lawyer regarding any contract you are considering entering into. Remember, once you sign the lease, you are in a legally binding contract with the landlord. The lease will include normal provisions such as rent due and the lease term. Some leases will include other things, such as not permitting you to run a business out of your home or have sublets. These types of provisions are valid and you should be aware of restrictions like this.

After You Move In

Once you move in, take pictures of everything in the space you are renting. A video may be helpful too. Fill out any property condition form your landlord provides and request a copy of it. Follow the same process when you are preparing to move out. This will help protect you if your landlord tries to withhold your deposit for damages.

After You Move Out

An itemized statement of what the deposit was used towards should be sent to you within 2 weeks of moving out. This statement will include any damages that will be taken out of your deposit, which prevents you from collecting your full deposit. If your landlord is trying to charge you for damage that occurred before you moved in, then use your pictures as proof of the condition of the property when you moved in.

There is a difference between property damage and normal wear and tear. Normal wear and tear occurs within the normal use of the property. Property damage is pretty much anything outside of normal wear and tear. Typically, normal wear and tear does not affect the return of your deposit, while damages will be taken out of your deposit. It is likely that a lease has a provision regarding your deposit and for what things it may be used.

Statutory Rights

There are also laws that protect your rights. These laws protect you and certain statutes cannot be waived with a lease. For example, there is a law that protects you from your landlord coming into your space or taking over your space without notice. However, there is an exception for emergencies. If your landlord is entering your space without notice or consent and it is not an emergency, the landlord is violating the statute.

If you would like to understand your legal rights under a lease and as a tenant, please contact one of our real estate attorneys.

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