Moving Tips

No one likes moving. It can be a lot of hard work. The key is to have a good plan. Here are a few tips.

1. As soon as you’ve settled on a new address, start notifying people of your new address. You can set up forwarding with the post office, but you’ll need to change your mailing addresses with your magazine subscriptions, insurance companies, credit cards, and so forth so that you don’t have to have your mail forwarded all the time.

2. Make a list of things to do, and include deadlines. If you tend to get overwhelmed, it helps to break a big job into bite-size chunks, and it is satisfying to be able to put a check mark next to a task when you’ve completed it.

3. If you plan ahead adequately, you’ll have plenty of time to gather moving boxes. When you go to the grocery store, you can ask them when would be a good time to stop by to get boxes. Free boxes are better than buying boxes, right?

4. Some people will be too creeped out to consider this suggestion. But go on Craigslist and put an ad on for a couple of guys to unload your truck. With a couple of people helping, the job will go much quicker. You could hire a professional moving company for more money, but there’s no guarantee the movers will be less creepy.

5. Shop around for a moving truck. Prices are pretty standard, but availability may be an issue.

6. Get rid of as much stuff beforehand as possible. It doesn’t make much sense to take stuff you don’t want from one house to the next. Have a yard sale or donate your unused and unwanted junk.

What if Your Landlord is in Foreclosure?

It’s an unfair situation when the tenants are taking good care of their house, they’re paying their rent on time, and they want to stay, but the landlord doesn’t make his payments. Eventually, the house will be taken over by the bank or possibly a private individual. What are the tenant’s rights?

First of all, if you suspect your landlord isn’t making his payments, and you think the sheriff may show up any day to move your stuff out to the curb, don’t worry. If you’ve been living there a while, you will be notified when the foreclosure begins. This mailing should explain everything you need to know.

If you’ve received that foreclosure notice, or your landlord has told you that he’s not making the payments, I believe you should put your rent money in a savings account. The landlord cannot collect the rent and not pay the bank. That is called equity skimming, and is a felony. I’m not a lawyer, and the laws are different in every state, so you should check with an attorney.

I heard of a situation where the tenants stopped paying their rent when they found out the house was in foreclosure. They ended up staying there for 11 months for free, and the bank eventually offered them $1500 to move out if they didn’t have to evict them. This may be an exceptional situation. During the sub-prime mortgage crises, banks were overwhelmed with houses to take care of, and some slipped through the cracks.

The Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act

The Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act was passed in 2009, and expires on 12/31/12, though I would expect it to be extended. In the past, a foreclosure would wipe a lease off the title of the property, meaning the lease is cancelled, and the tenants had to move out if the new owner wanted them to. Under the act, tenants with a valid lease, can continue under the terms of the lease. And, if the lease is already expired, they can continue to pay the rent and have 3 months after the foreclosure sale to move out.

If you have any questions, the first place I would go for help is the lawyer handling the foreclosure. In Colorado, there is a public trustee handling the foreclosure, which is a county agency, and they are very helpful.

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What If Your Landlord Won’t Make Repairs?

As a landlord, I’ve never faced this issue. I’m obligated to supply safe, functional housing to people, and they’re obligated to pay me (unfortunately my tenants haven’t always kept their end of the bargain). If there is an issue, the landlord should fix it.

If your landlord isn’t keeping up his end of the bargain, and you are, what should you do? If you’re certain, that your landlord should be taking care of the problem, but isn’t, you should do the repairs with the rent money, and send the landlord the receipts. This assumes that you’ve informed your landlord in writing, and isn’t something that you should broke.

For example, if the refrigerator, that your landlord supplied stops working, you need to inform your landlord in writing (if you know that he won’t respond to phone calls). Most leases say that the landlord must be informed of repairs needed in writing, so you need to follow what the lease says.

Then, if the landlord doesn’t make the repairs, you can have the refrigerator repaired. For example, if it costs $150 to fix the fridge, deduct $150 from the rent, and send the receipt in with the rent. Keep a copy of the receipt. If your landlord starts an eviction, you will need the receipt as documentation of what happened.

Another option is to not pay the rent until the repairs are made. You should be sure to save the rent money. Don’t go and spend it.

As always, you would probably want to seek advice from a lawyer. There should be free legal help from local agencies.

If something is broken due to your negligence, you are responsible for the repairs. If your kid breaks a window, you have to repair it. However, a landlord that doesn’t make necessary repairs is not fulfilling his end of the agreement, and there are ways to make it right.

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What if the House I’m Renting Is Sold?

There can be a lot of unknowns when your landlord puts the house you’re renting up for sale. If the house sells, the lease remains in force. But along with a new manager, there can be new scrutiny on the tenants. Is the new landlord planning on keeping it as a rental, or is he going to want to move in the day the lease is up?

I guess you never know, but that’s one of the unpleasant parts of renting. You don’t want to sign a lease that is too long, because you don’t want to lock yourself in in case your circumstances change, but if you don’t sign a long enough lease, you may be moving around more than you like.

I would recommend contacting the new buyer, and finding out what they plan on doing with the property. Maybe they’re looking to rent it out, or they can give you a heads up to start looking for a new home.

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