Seek out firsthand information about the landlord. If the present tenants still occupy the apartment when you consider leasing it, they are likely to be a good source of information. It is also a good idea to check with next-door neighbors and friends in the area. Once you move into the apartment, make an effort to check in with your landlord from time to time.

Your Landlord’s Responsibilities
1. Assure that your apartment meets state and local fire, housing, and health codes.
2. Provide electricity and heating systems. By law the temperature must stay above 65 degrees in the winter.
3. Keep the apartment free of rat and roach infestations.
4. Keep the apartment clean and safe, including no peeling paint or broken windows.
5. Return your security deposit within 30 days. (You must provide a written forwarding address.)
6. Your landlord cannot enter your apartment without advanced notice.
7. It is illegal for your landlord to lock you out of your apartment. If your landlord does not fulfill his or her responsibilities, there are steps you can take to hold them accountable. Be sure to keep a record of all conversations with your landlord.

Your Responsibilities
1. Pay your rent on time! For your own records, you should always pay with a check, or if you do pay with cash, get a receipt.
2. Follow all terms agreed to in your lease.
3. Keep your apartment clean and safe.
4. If you have any outdoor or public areas to keep up, be sure to do it.
5. Be sure to move out on time, or by the last day of the month if you have a month to month contract. If you leave even one day late you can be charged another month’s rent.
6. Give your forwarding address to the landlord.
7. Notify your landlord before making any changes to the apartment.
8. Keep good communication with your landlord.
9. Do not withhold your rent if a problem occurs. Instead contact the landlord and inform him/her of the situation. Follow up with written documentation and, if necessary, legal action.