Finding a good landlord

Finding a good landlord CREDIT: FSU PUBLICATIONS AND COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT

Finding a good landlord can sometimes be a hard feat. Especially as a student, it’s important to have a landlord who will help with any maintenance or issues around the house while you’re busy with school. Rob Richards is a realtor with eXp Realty. When looking for a place, there are generally a few things to watch for.

“The condition of the place and if possible, talk to some of the tenants that are already there,” Richards said. “Ask what their experience was with the landlord, if they fix stuff, what condition the house is in, what the response time is when there’s issues, things like that.”

The majority of students, since they are looking for temporary housing, tend to take the website approach. Looking on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or any other buy-and-sell sites isn’t a bad thing, but Richards said to be mindful.

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“I would never give anyone a deposit online until I’ve physically went to the house, and then I would double check with somebody. There’s thousands of realtors around. Somebody’s going to know someone.”

Looking on a website is the free approach, which is why it’s more popular. But for those who might be worried that they could get stuck in an unwanted situation, going through a realtor is always a safe way to find housing. However, it does cost a bit of money. Richards said there isn’t a lot of student housing on their Multiple Listing Service (MLS), but for those maybe looking for something more long term, especially if you have a four-year program, they are able to help easier.

“We go to the landlord and say, ‘OK, we’ve got pre-screened tenants for you and for a fee, we can do all the legwork for you and do credit checks.’”

Of course, again, this costs money. If this isn’t the approach for you, you can always continue on buy-and-sell sites and refer back to a realtor to do a check on their websites about that specific listing and landlord. Realtors have access to a specific website called “GeoWarehouse.” The app allows them to look up any property in that specific area and see who owns the house, when they bought it, and what they paid for it. But as long as there are no deposits given before seeing the house physically, that will decrease the risk of being scammed, according to Richards.

“It takes two minutes to look up on Geo and see, ‘does this person actually own this place?’ And it’s a fair question to ask, ‘do you have proof that you’re the owner?’”

A good, legitimate landlord will not mind showing proof that they are the owner of the building. In return, it appears as if you will be a good tenant because you’re doing your due diligence.

When it really comes down to it, finding good housing with a good landlord is all up to the tenant doing their homework. In school areas, there have more than likely been so many students who have stayed at that exact house or apartment. Talk to your peers, see if they know anybody, and go through a realtor to see if they are legit. There is no way to truly tell if someone is a good landlord without asking around.

Once you know you have a decent landlord for that place, how do you know if you’re getting a fair price? Well…that’s a bit of a loaded question. It really varies on your budget, the area, and the condition of the place you are looking at.

“A lot of times with students, unless there’s a group of them, they’ll rent by room. It’s probably around $700 to $800 per room. If there’s a bunch of students who could get together and rent the whole place themselves, three or four bedrooms could probably run anywhere from $2,000 to $2,400, depending on the age and condition.”

No matter what the condition is, if there’s a house or apartment close to Fanshawe or Western, the cost will be higher due to convenience. If it’s a nice, new place, it will be even higher yet.

“If there’s places that haven’t been rented for a while, there’s probably a reason for that. They might be less desirable than other ones.”

There’s no set recipe for finding a great house with a great landlord. As always, it needs some give and take. If you want a nice house that requires little maintenance, it will cost more. If you’re wanting to save a little money, the house might take more maintenance from the landlord. Evaluate what’s best for you and your situation and the rest will work out exactly how it’s supposed to!