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Top Apartment Challenges and How to Handle Them

Tempting Solutions May Actually Make Things Worse



A smart approach is your best bet for resolving apartment problems.

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When you sign a lease and move into an apartment, you should hopefully experience only good things for as long as you choose to live there. But many renters encounter a bump or two along the way that threatens their continued enjoyment of their apartment living.

When thorny or unpleasant situations arise, you may feel tempted to react in certain ways that may actually do more harm than good. For example, if you respond too aggressively, you risk adding fuel to the fire; if you decide to ignore a problem or continue tolerating a situation, it can fester while you needlessly suffer.

Here are tips for handling top tricky apartment situations you may encounter during your lease term or as you look for the perfect apartment:

Situation #1: Your Neighbor Is Driving You Crazy

How you might be tempted to handle it: Many apartment dwellers deal with annoying neighbors by pursuing one extreme or the other. Some immediately pound on their neighbor's door and yell at them. Non-confrontational types may choose to grin and bear it. Not only does this often lead to unnecessary suffering, but the persistence of the neighbor's annoying behavior eventually pulls them toward the other extreme.

How you should consider handling it: There is a middle ground when it comes to dealing with difficult neighbors. No matter what you do, it's best to proceed without letting your emotions get the better of you. Also, keep in mind that, very often, neighbors don't realize that their actions or habits are annoying anyone.

Situation #2: Your Roommate Isn't As Compatible With You As You Thought

How you might be tempted to handle it: You might jump to the conclusion that the person is a horrible roommate and that you made a big mistake. This could cause you to decide you have no choice but to suffer it out until the end of the lease term. Or, you might be pushed to the other extreme and feel you need to find a new roommate as quickly as possible.

How you should consider handling it: Don't let the first sign of a problem get you down or lead you to assume you made a horrible mistake. When looking for a roommate, it's important to keep in mind that compatibility is key. But that doesn't mean that people who share an apartment but have opposing views on aspects of apartment living can't be happy together. Chances are, you can reach a compromise with your roommate if you have different political views, disagree on holiday decor, or even just have conflicting opinions about how neat and clean to keep your apartment.

Situation #3: An Apartment Advertisement Seems Almost Too Good to Be True

How you might be tempted to handle it: You might feel the urge to respond quickly and give the people behind the ad whatever they want so you can make sure you get the apartment and don't lose out on what appears to be a terrific deal.

How you should consider handling it: Recognize that an apartment ad that seems almost too good to be true probably is and may be a scam. Pursue such ads cautiously and no matter how eager or impatient you might be to find the perfect apartment, don't let feelings of desperation interfere with prudence. For example, don't be quick to send money upfront and don't be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to feel satisfied that an apartment rental is legit.

Situation #4: You Might Need to Break Your Lease

How you might be tempted to handle it: Fearing that breaking a lease is "wrong" might lead you to avoid doing it under any circumstances. Or, you might assume that breaking a lease will trigger a large penalty that can't be avoided.

How you should consider handling it: Keep in mind that breaking a lease isn't breaking the law. It means you're terminating a civil contract early. As a consequence, you may have to pay a penalty. Breaking a lease is a fairly common occurrence, especially for renters who learn they must move for a job or who decide to buy a home. Get familiar with which situations are most and least likely to require a penalty. Also, keep in mind that a landlord normally has an obligation to "mitigate damages," which means she must make reasonable efforts to find a new tenant, rather than sit out the remainder of the lease term and collect rent from you for a vacant apartment.

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