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Renting vs. Buying – Do I have all of the facts?

Choosing your home is one of the most important decisions you will make. If you do not have all the facts and information, you could make a decision that could ruin you financially. Owning and caring for a house is not part of the “American Dream” for everyone – at least, maybe not right now. Based on lifestyle needs, renting can make more sense. When you choose the home that best suits your situation, consider how the following factors fit your lifestyle and your future. For more information go to http://www.iaaonline.net/sections/homefacts.php

How do I use this site?

By using this site, you can complete a search based on location, number of bedrooms, minimum & maximum rent. You will also have the opportunity to utilize advance search options such as: Pets, Laundry Facilities (Washer/Dryer Connection or Washer/Dryer in unit), Short Term Lease Availability, Garage, Covered Parking and Furnished apartments availability. Once your search is complete, you can review each apartment community page for additional apartment and community features. On each apartment community page, there is an opportunity to request additional information, save as a favorite or share your listing on different social media platforms. Once you have more than one saved favorite, you can compare and determine which apartment communities you will contact or visit for more information.

What are some of the questions that I should ask before signing a lease?

Indiana is a contract state; the rights and responsibilities of both the apartment management and resident are spelled out in the lease provided by the apartment community. The lease is a legal document; failure to comply can lead to court action.

What are some other questions I should be sure to ask?
  1. How long am I committing myself to pay rent?
  2. What if I want to move before my lease is up?
  3. Is there a job transfer clause?
  4. How many days notice to vacate is needed after the lease is expired?
  5. What if I would like to sublet, get a roommate or a pet?
  6. Is there “escalator” clause meaning that at some point will my rent be higher?
  7. At what point can the apartment community raise my rent? (an important point to remember unless it’s a government subsidized community)
  8. How much of a security & pet deposit is required?
  9. Are there riders to the lease which entail special provisions?
  10. What are the move-in and move-out policies and procedures?

DO NOT SIGN THE LEASE UNTIL YOU UNDERSTAND AND AGREE TO EVERYTHING STATED.

Should I get renter’s insurance?

Renters’ insurance is an insurance policy that you can purchase from most insurance agents. The insurance policy provides coverage for damages to your personal property and can provide liability coverage for the apartment in cases such as fire, theft, and vandalism. The apartment community owners are responsible for insuring the apartment building, but have no responsibility for your belongings.

Can my rent be increased during the lease terms?

Check your lease, but typically the answer is no. There would have to be an escalation clause in the lease in order for your rent to be increased during the lease term.

What happens when I don’t pay my rent?

When you do not pay your rent, your apartment community has the legal right to begin eviction proceedings. Before official eviction, you will likely be sent a notice for non-payment of rent. You will need to review your lease to find any late fees and how many days before your account could be sent for eviction. Please note that an eviction will affect your future ability to rent an apartment and will affect your credit score.

I need to move out of my apartment before the end of the lease, can I just move out?

If you choose to move out of your apartment before the end of the lease, you will be held responsible for the remaining balance due on your lease or until the apartment has been rented again. The only exception is a termination clause that may be in your lease, which allows for a termination fee for ending your lease before the end of the term.

Who do I contact if I have legal questions regarding my lease?

The Allen County Bar Association Legal Line is available every Tuesday from 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at (260) 423-2358 and can provide legal assistance regarding landlord/tenant law.

I need help and I’m not sure who to contact?

The United Way has established First Call for Help that connects residents in 19 northern Indiana counties with comprehensive and up-to-date information about social, health and government services. Dial 2-1-1 seven days a week, 24 hours a day and talk to a live phone counselor or browse our online directory below to find the resources you need. You can also visit their website at www.myunitedway2-1-1.org

NORTHEAST INDIANA VOLUNTEER LAWYER'S PROGRAM
This program provides free legal representation to qualified applicants through placement with a volunteer attorney. Call (260) 407-0917 for information.

NEIGHBORHOOD CHRISTIAN LEGAL CLINIC
This organization provides assistance and representation to qualified low-income clients. They also have a free legal advice hotline that can provide legal information and advice for certain issues. You can visit their website to find the intake times and locations and how to reach the legal advice hotline here www.nclegalclinic.org. 

ALLEN COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION  
This organization offers a free legal line, and you may contact them every Tuesday evening from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at 260-423-2358. They also offer a Referral Service, and you can be referred to a private attorney who will consult with you for thirty (30) minutes for the minimal fee of $40.00.Call 260-423-2358.

How long after I move out does the owner have to return my security deposit?

In Indiana, the resident should receive their security deposit within 45 days; however, there are specific items you must provide to the landlord before the clock starts on the 45 days. Find more information here: http://law.justia.com/codes/indiana/2015/title-32/article-31/chapter-3/

How do I contact the Tenant Assistant Legal Clinic operated by the local Indiana Legal Services?

The Tenant Assistance Legal Clinic is operated by the local Indiana Legal Services office, 919 S. Harrison St. Suite 200. Low-income residents facing possible eviction should call the clinic at 260-424-9155 to be accepted into the program. If eligible, clients will then be referred to either a volunteer attorney with the Volunteer Lawyer Program or an attorney with Indiana Legal Services, who will provide legal advice and attempt to resolve the dispute out of court. If necessary, an attorney will represent clients during eviction proceedings with Allen Superior Court.

Indiana Legal Services staff will work closely with staff from Brightpoint and the local township trustee offices to help prevent evictions and homelessness. Brightpoint will provide help with rent, mortgage and utility payments to low-income residents. Residents in need of help should call Brightpoint at 260-423-3546, ext. 567.