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Avoiding debt problems because of shifty landlords

An increasing number of Washington landlords now have access to credit reports, and their actions can do serious harm. When a landlord acts in a malicious manner or sends balances to collections agencies, individuals' credit histories can be severely damaged. Unscrupulous landlords have even been known to push residents so far into debt that they suffer from wage garnishment and other unpleasant outcomes. Today, we discuss methods for protecting yourself from unscrupulous landlords who attempt to fleece their former and current tenants.

One woman tells a horror story about a landlord who charged her $1,200 to clean her apartment. Not only did the landlord take her entire $500 security deposit, but that person also sought an additional $675, which was sent to a collection agency. The same woman has also been victimized by apartment complexes that agreed to let her break her lease early, only to renege on the agreement. Both of those instances caused bills to go into collections, which damaged the woman's financial health.

Renters need to be aware of the condition of the property they are renting upon move-in. It is smart to record video walk-throughs when you move in and after you move out. Those walk-throughs will show whether additional damage has been done to the property during your time in the house. This way, you have evidence that can be used against a landlord that claims that you left a home in shambles.

Renters are also urged to carefully review the terms of their leases. Ask questions if you are not sure about certain terms. You are responsible for promoting your own rights during the residential renting process. Renters who pay attention and collect evidence are far more likely to be able to avoid debt that goes into collection because of an unfair Washington landlord.

Source: Credit.com, "How to Stop a Landlord From Ruining Your Credit" Gerri Detweiler, Apr. 28, 2014

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