Friday, October 17, 2008

Renters Beware

If you are thinking about renting a house, get ready for the third degree by your prospective landlord.

And you'd better be ready to give the landlord the same third degree, because you will be asked for plenty of money right up front. The usual is a deposit equal to the first month's rent, the first month's rent and, sometimes, the last month's rent. So that adds up to three months' rent, probably well in excess of $3,000.

Now, what if the house is headed into foreclosure? You fork over your money and make plans to move in. Maybe you even get in. And then one day you open the front door and there hangs an Eviction Notice. Think you'll ever see your money again?

We are probably not lucky enough to have a sheriff who will stand up as Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is doing. He is refusing to evict renters of properties whose owners are being foreclosed upon. A good guy. The sheriff with the white hat.

Unfortunately, Sheriff Dart will probably end up explaining to some unsympathetic judge why he is not carrying out the court's order to evict the tenants. And then Sheriff Dart may be a guest in his own jail; only he won't be able to say, "OK, let me out," as the Lake County Sheriff was able to do recently during his own voluntary stay.

Run a credit check on your landlord, whether it's an individual or a business. Whoa! Here's a brand-new business for an entrepreneur. Credit checks on landlords.

Might as well throw Employers in there, too. Is your employer going to be able to make payroll? If not, you want to know that ASAP.

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