Know Your Rights: Steps you need to take before signing a lease - KCTV5

Know Your Rights: Steps you need to take before signing a lease

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Problem with your landlord? KCTV5 breaks down what rights you have when you rent a home or an apartment. (KCTV5) Problem with your landlord? KCTV5 breaks down what rights you have when you rent a home or an apartment. (KCTV5)
FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -

It’s a complaint that often comes into the KCTV5 investigative tipline: problems with a landlord. There are specific laws in both Missouri and Kansas that lay out what a landlord and tenant can and cannot do.

KCTV5 teamed up with the University of Missouri Kansas City to lay out your rights when it comes to renting.

“The renter has some rights, but not necessarily to withhold rent,” said law professor Judith Popper.

No matter where you live, you have to pay your rent, even if you’re having a dispute with your landlord.

Outside of that provision, the Landlord Tenant Acts in Kansas and Missouri are very different.

In Kansas, the unit must be ready to move in on the date promised. If not, you can demand your money back and go somewhere else. In Missouri, there is no law on the books addressing move in dates.

In both states, you have the rights to live in an apartment or home that is up to code. If it’s not, you need to contact the city to report it.

If it’s not a code violation, you have to work it out with your landlord or take the problem to small claims court.

Before you move in, ask for property’s maintenance and repairs policy. If you’re having problems getting repairs done, document everything and get maintenance requests in writing. This will help your case if you have to go to small claims court.

When it comes to subleasing in Missouri, the landlord doesn’t have to allow it. If you do it without their permission, you could have to pay double your rent. In Kansas, there are no written rules for subleasing, so you’ll need to check your lease.

Before you sign a lease, do your homework. If it’s a condo or apartment complex, read online reviews about the property and management company. Also, inspect the unit you’ll be living in before you sign the lease. Bring a checklist that you and your landlord can go through together, which breaks down what the apartment offers and what your responsibilities are as a tenant.

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