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  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc.

    Everything You Need to Know About Renting an Apartment

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc.

    Understanding Fair Housing

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc. 3

    WHAT IS FAIR HOUSING AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT ME?

    In the late 1960s the U.S. federal government enacted The Fair Housing Act, making it illegal to refuse to sell to, rent to, or negotiate with a person because of that persons race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status or handicap.

    Heres a brief overview of the Fair Housing Act and the federal protections it offers you as a renter or potential renter. Additional guidelines may be in place if there are state or local fair housing laws or ordinances.

    Whats Prohibited

    It is illegal for anyone to take any of the actions below based on a persons race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status or handicap:

    Refuse to rent (or sell) housing

    Refuse to negotiate for housing

    Make housing unavailable

    Deny a dwelling

    Set different terms, conditions or privileges for the rental (or sale) of a dwelling

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc. 4

    Provide different housing services or facilities

    Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection or rental (or sale)

    For profit, persuade owners to rent (or sell)

    Deny anyone access to or membership in a facility or service (such as a multiple listing service) related to the rental (or sale) of housing

    Its also illegal for anyone to:

    Threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with anyone exercising a fair housing right or assisting others who exercise that right

    Advertise or make any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap

    Protection For Those With Disabilities

    There are also laws in place to protect people with disabilities. The Act makes it illegal to discriminate against those who have a physical or mental disability, hearing, mobility and visual impairments, chronic alcoholism, chronic mental illness, AIDS, AIDS Related Complex, and mental retardation that limits one or more major life activities.

    As it related to disabilities, landlords may not refuse to allow reasonable modifications to a dwelling or the propertys common areas (at the tenants expense) if needed for the disabled person to be able to use the housing. In this case, the landlord may allow these modifications only if the tenant agrees to restore the property to its original condition when the tenant moves away. In addition, the landlord may not refuse to make reasonable accommodations in the propertys policies or services if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing.

    However, a landlord or property owner is not obligated to make housing available to a person who poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, or who currently uses illegal drugs.

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc. 5

    Requirements for New Buildings

    According to the Act, new buildings (specifically, those ready for first occupancy after March 13, 1991) with an elevator and with four or more units, must comply to the following:

    Public and common areas must be accessible to persons with disabilities

    Doors and hallways must be wide enough for wheelchairs

    All units must have an accessible route into and through the unit, accessible light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls, reinforced bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars, and kitchens and bathrooms that can be used by people in wheelchairs.

    If a building with four or more units has no elevator (ready for first occupancy after March 13, 1991), these standards apply to ground floor units.

    The Act also states that if a States laws or local laws for new buildings are more stringent, the Act does not replace these.

    Housing for FamiliesUnless a building or community qualifies as housing specifically for older persons, it may not discriminate against families in which one or more children under 18 live with a parent, a person with legal custody of the child(ren), or the designee of the parent, or legal custodian with the parents or custodians written permission. Familial status protection also applies to pregnant women and anyone securing legal custody of a child under 18. There are local guidelines in each area for the number of occupants in each apartment based on the number of bedrooms.

    This is just a basic overview of the protections offered by The Fair Housing Act; to read more about your rights as a renter, go to the United States Department of Justice website: http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/hce/housing_coverage.php

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc.

    The Cost of Renting an Apartment

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc. 7

    APARTMENT LEASING APPROVAL: TIPS FROM THE

    PROS FOR RAISING YOUR CREDIT SCORE

    When it comes to renting an apartment, whether youre a first-timer or seasoned vet, nearly every renter knows your credit score plays a key role in determining your leasing approval. While property managers certainly dont like turning down applicants, if your credit does not meet their criteria, your application will be denied. By following these pointers from industry pros and keeping up with your credit, youll greatly improve your chances of successfully securing a leasing approval.

    Whats the difference between a credit report and my credit score?According to BankRate.com, a credit report is a set of documents that tracks the status of your credit accounts, and also provides a documented history of your bill payments, loans, outstanding debt, etc. Your credit score is a number between 300 and 850 thats indicative of your financial credit history. The better the history, the higher the score, but an average score can be anywhere from 620-680. If your score is lower than 620, you might be considered high risk.

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc. 8

    Where can I get my free credit report and score?Each year, youre allowed to order one free credit report from EACH of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). However, AnnualCreditReport.com is the only source authorized by Federal law to provide you with a free annual update on your credit score.

    What do apartments look for when they check my credit?Once youve filled out a rental application for the apartment, the landlord will run a credit and background check to review your financial and criminal history. The credit check looks at your bill payment frequency, rental history, and any outstanding debts youve accumulated. However, they will NOT see any of this information, or your credit score, or any details about the approval or denial. Apartment communities use outside reporting companies to run the checks and, based on parameters set out in advance, they return the decisions. Youll be given an answer of approved, denied, or approved with certain conditions, and thats all theyll see as well. Due to Fair Housing laws, the apartment community cannot in any way influence the decision, which is why they use independent outside companies. If you have questions about your approval decision, you will be given contact information for the reporting company.

    How can I improve my credit score?To help you improve your chances of getting approved, there are many resources avail-able that can teach you how to work on improving your credit score. But because your credit score is linked with your total financial history, its hard to change it overnight. By following the following tips, however, slowly but surely it should improve:

    To make sure that you stay up-to-date on all of your credit accounts, make sure youre taking advantage of ordering your free credit reports. Youre legally allowed to order 3 free reports per year (with more provided for a small fee), so try spacing them out 4 months apart to stay as up-to-date as possible.

    Pay your bills on time! Paying your bills on time accounts for roughly 35% of your credit score, so never be late with your payments.

    Pay off your credit card balances immediately! Rather than letting your credit card debt pile up, make sure you take care of the balance immediately. Not only will you benefit from paying on time, but youll also benefit from the lack of debt.

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc. 9

    Limit your use of multiple cards. Not only is it difficult to keep up with a ton of different cards, but opening a new card also creates a hard inquiry on your credit report, which can negatively impact your