Deciding who and where to rent a property from can be stressful, but there are ways to get help.
Anne Dunbar, an attorney at Prairie State Legal Services, said online reviews can be helpful when deciding what company to rent from, but to take those with a grain of salt.
She recommends doing a walk through of the property before you move in to see what repairs need to be done.
Dunbar also said it’s better to get a recommendation from someone you know when renting.
If you are dealing with a landlord who isn’t making repairs in a timely manner, you can call code enforcement.
“Some red flags for a management company or a landlord would be whether or not they would enter in to a written contract with you and if repairs that are necessary before you move in to the apartment, whether they would enter in to a written agreement that those repairs are going to be made.
Her biggest piece of advice is to get things in writing.
“Oral contracts are very hard to prove and they’re hard to enforce so always try to get it in writing first,” Dunbar said.
She strongly suggests not to withhold rent if you are in a situation where you landlord is unresponsive.
Prairie State Legal Services is a non-profit legal company that may be able to help you. You can call their application line at 1-800-531-7057.