Renting an Apartment

Revised Spring 2008-Caron

I live in the Colton Heights Apartments owned by a company based in Fargo, North Dakota. There are extensive rules and regulations for residing in these buildings. I live in my assigned space as a means of living in the city of Billings, while I attend college at the Montana State University of Billings. My desired outcome is to live safely, peacefully, and comfortably, and to offer the same environment for my fellow neighbors. The first steps to renting an apartment include filling out a lot of paperwork, and hopefully after everything is done right getting approved. This may take a couple of weeks, or it could take a couple of months. If you do get approved then it is time to move in. There a many rules and regulations before you can move in, and then once you are in there is many more to be learned.

Juridic Controls:
Security Deposit Agreement: (found on the signed deposit agreement) The $300 deposit will be returned to the resident upon satisfaction of the following conditions: the full term of the lease has expired, and a written notice, as required by the lease, has been given before the last day of the month, with move out date no later than the last day of the month. Premises and contents are returned in as good a condition as received, subject to normal wear, including but not limited to range, refrigerator, cupboards, sinks, closets, shelves, floor covering, walls, windows, air conditioners, tub and shower, and all debris and rubbish shall be discarded in proper places.

Guide Governing Occupancy: (found on the back of the lease) The management will appreciate your observance of the following Guide Governing Occupancy in order to insure your comfort and the comfort of your neighbors. All residents and their guests are expected to conduct themselves in a manner befitting respectable living. Over indulgence in alcoholic beverages and loud boisterous parties or conduct will be grounds for immediate eviction.

Please show consideration for your neighbors with regards to loud televisions, radios, or stereos. The volume should be turned down at all times.

Please use standard locations in your apartment for the telephone.

When entering or leaving the premise, please operate you car at speed not to exceed fifteen miles an hour.

Balconies or windows: clothing, rugs, mops, and other articles shall not be hung from rail of balconies or windows, nor shall anything be stored on the balcony that is visible from any direction. When cleaning balconies avoid sweeping over the side onto another balcony, this is also the regulation when shaking mops or rugs.

When defrosting the refrigerator, do not use a sharp instrument to hurry defrosting. Use pans of hot water instead.

Bathroom: Do not flush any Kleenex tissues, paper towels, sanitary napkins, or disposable diapers in the toilet. The residents are specifically responsible for costs of repairs and service charges resulting from their carelessness in using the refrigerator, range, air conditioner, heating or any of the mechanical equipment and for the drain blockages especially clogged toilets and sinks caused by disposable flush-away paper diapers, sanitary napkins, paper towels, Kleenex tissue or foreign objects.

For your convenience coin operated washers and dryers are on the premises. It is not permitted to have your own washer and dryer in the apartment.

Terms of the Lease: (found on the back of the lease agreement)

Occupancy and use: No other person, other than those listed as residents may occupy the apartment without the written approval of management. The apartment, common areas, and utilities may be used only for ordinary residential purposes.
Rent: Resident agrees to pay management, at the place or in the method designated by management, in full on or before the first day of every month in advance, during the duration of this lease and any extensions or renewals of this lease. If rent is not paid on the 1st day of the month, a 3-day notice to vacate may be issued.

Late fee and retuned check fee: Resident agrees to pay as additional rent the late fee stated with the rent for each late installment of rent when the rent has not been paid by the 1st day of any month. Resident also agrees to pay a fee of $75 for each check returned.

Resident Promises: Not to damage or misuse the premises or waste the utilities provided by the management, not to make any alterations or additions or remove any fixtures or to paint the premise without the written consent of management. To keep the apartment clean and tidy, not to conduct himself/herself in a loud, boisterous, unruly or thoughtless manner so as to disturb the rights of the other residents to peace and quiet, to use these premises only as a private residence, and not in any way that is unlawful or dangerous or which would cause a cancellation or restriction or increase in premium in management’s insurance. Not to use or store, on or near the premises, any inflammable or explosive substance, to give written notice to management of any necessary repairs to be made.

Pets: Residents or guests may not have animals or pets of any kind on the premises.

Management’s right to enter: Management and its authorized agents may enter the apartment at any reasonable time to inspect or make repairs, or to show the apartment to prospective new residents or purchasers.

Subletting: Resident will not sublet the apartment or any part of it, or assign this lease without the written consent of management.

Reimbursement by Resident: Resident agrees to reimburse the management promptly for any loss, property damage, or cost of repairs or service caused by negligence or improper use. Resident shall be responsible for damage from windows or doors left open. Resident shall pay a $35 fee to unlock resident’s apartment, and shall also reimburse management for the cost of re-keying the lock if resident looses a key management’s failure or delay in demanding any of these reimbursements , late payment charges, returned check charges, or other sums due by resident shall not be deemed a waiver.

Vacating: Resident agrees to vacate the apartment on or before the termination date of the lease or any renewal or extension as provided in this lease. If resident fails to vacate on or before the required date, he or she shall be liable to management for any and all losses incurred.

Eviction: If resident violates any material term of this lease, he may be evicted. Resident shall be liable for all attorney’s fees and court costs incurred by management in enforcing its rights under this lease. If management excuses a specific violation of a particular section of this lease by resident he shall not be deemed a waiver regarding any subsequent similar violation, or any other violation of this lease.

Carpets: Resident agrees to have carpets professionally cleaned when vacating the apartment and shall show receipt.
Use or Distribution of controlled Substances: Resident covenants and agrees that resident will not at any time on the premises or common areas use, manufacture, sell, give away, barter, deliver, exchange or distribute a controlled substance. Resident agrees that any violation of this provision shall be grounds for eviction.

Qualitative measure of Burden:
After I signed the lease I did not think about the rules or the restrictions placed on me, I definitely did not read them all. Some rules I did not know about until I began my research. A lot of these rules made me laugh, because they were either very obvious common sense type regulations or they were bazaar rules such as, please place your telephone in a standard area. This to me is very ridiculous and unnecessary; I do not understand what difference it makes. However, I visited with my next door neighbor, Holly, and she did not know all the rules either, but doesn’t feel an everyday burden of all the rules, neither do I. There are few rules that I keep in mind: the parking rules for example, parking only in your designated spot, and the no pets or loud noise rules. I often wonder if my television is too loud or if other residents can hear me talking on the phone. This is new to me since I grew up in an area where our closest neighbor was about three miles away and I could scream at the top of my lungs and no one would be around to care. I like living where I do, and I try to follow the rules so that I can continue to live there.

Ways to withdrawal:
I can escape; we all can escape these “renting controls” by owning our own homes, and can take it a step further by living in the country. I would think for long-term renters owning a home is the most practical and reasonable do-able option. College students can of course always live in the dorms, or stay with local family. More radical ways to withdrawal would be living out of your car or a camper, and living on the streets. It appears to me that no matter the choice there is always a new set of rules waiting.

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