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The daily Tar Heel. (Chapel Hill, N.C.) 1946-current, February 20, 1989, Page 16, Image 16

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4DTHHousing GuideMonday, February 20, 1989 Leasing an apartment can pose tsiclky legal tan gles By ELIZABETH SHERROD Staff Writer When students sign an apartment lease, they assume a large legal debt that can lead to a damaged credit rating, said Dorothy Bernholz, attor ney for Student Legal Services. The most important thing for students to do is read and understand the lease, Bernholz said. Three roommates who sign a lease are responsible not only for their share of the rent, but also for the others in the case that one or both of the roommates breaks the lease. This is called joint and several liability, Bernholz said. If the lease agreement is breached, the landlord can sue to collect the rent if the apartment cannot be re rented. All of the roommates can be held responsible, or only the one(s) who moved out. These cases can also be turned over to collection agencies, she said. Students can often avoid legal problems by chosing apartments with leases for buyout provisions, Bern holz said. Before students move in, they should fill out a checklist describing in detail the condition of the apart ment. This will prevent them from paying for damage that others have done, Bernholz said. "North Carolina law requires renters to give written requests for repairs," said Bernholz. If the broken items are not fixed, the renter can sue the owner. Anything listed in the minimum housing code must be repaired. Items such as dishwashers that were in working order when the apartment was rented must also be repaired. Students should also have written agreements with their roommates, Bernholz said. The agreement should outline who will pay for what and in which proportion. If one room mate refuses to pay in accordance with the agreement, then he or she can be sued. "Landlords dont care whether roommates get along," she said. Rent has to be paid and roommates sue each other frequently. But Student Legal Services cannot represent one student suing another one. Finally, students should pay close attention to the terms of the lease and the fine print, Bernholz said. Free rent deals should also be carefully con sidered before a lease is signed. In addition to the legal consider ations, Bernholz said students should What especially with one months FREE rent! Designer floor plans with large closets, storage areas, large windows, cozy fireplaces, utility closet wd connections. Private clubhouse situated in a wooded country club setting complete with saunas, private baths, universal workout system, wide screen TV, 3 tennis courts, 2 pools, basketball, volley ball and jogging trail wfitness workout. On Bus Line. the on wl. apartments (S)I1S))S2S)-114I1 - rg Approximately 1 mile south on Creemboro St. (Smith Level Road) . from Hyy 54. By-Past in Carrbpf .AW be aware of the hassles of paying bills on time and bounced checks. Amanda Blackman, leasing agent for Carolina Apartments, said she has had a few problems recently with lease breaching. Subleasing is allowed; otherwise the occupants must be taken to court, she said. Corky Gatewood, manager of Ramsgate Apartments, said, "People have just got to realize that it (a lease) is a legal agreement." Parents are asked to cosign and roommate agreements are recom mended. "Roommate agreements are an ideal thing," Gatewood said. "They give students something to go by when splitting utilities and such." Gatewood said she has never prosecuted anyone for failure to pay rent. "Evictions are served on the whole apartment and we get someone else in," she said. However, evictions do damage credit ratings. If one roommate needs to move out, he or she can be released from the lease if another roommate-is found to assume responsibility for that portion of the lease, Gatewood said. But when both tenants want to move, the matter of obtaining the rent is turned over to a collection agency. Linda Glisson, a junior business major from Raeford, lives in Ridge wood Apartments. She said her lease contains a lot of "legal mumbo jumbo," but that the person in the office explained it to her. "Basically, I signed it and moved in." Dee Dee Hemby, an economics and international studies major from Southport, lives in the Villages Apartments with three roommates. "We talked it over with our parents and all of us signed the lease," she said. "It turned out really nice." Start searching for that home away from campus By NICOLLE SKALSKI Staff Writer If you are planning to live in an apartment next fall, now is the time to start looking, local apartment rental managers say. "The demand is going to exceed the supply," said Foxcroft Apart ments manager Kathy Ratchford. The increasing demand is due to the growth rate in Chapel Hill and at the University over the past two years, she said. Most rental managers in the area have already started waiting lists for leases beginning in May and August. Carolina Apartments manager Laurie Stanley said, "People are looking a lot earlier this year." The Chapel Hill-Carrboro area offers a wide variety of rates and apartment living for students. At the more inexpensive end of the spectrum are Royal Park, Carolina and Old Well apartments. Old Well Apartments rental man ager and leasing agent Liz Scharman said' her apartments are not the fanciest, but they do offer the neces sary amenities at a better value. This is why her apartments have captured so much market demand and put her present occupancy rate in the high 90s, she said. While Old Well's and Royal Park's occupants consist of a mix of under graduate and graduate students and .professionals, Stanley of Carolina Apartments said students make up 95 percent of her occupants. Moving up to a higher price range are Kingswood, Laurel Ridge and Foxcroft apartments. Kingswood" Apartments manager Elizabeth Colmore said her occu pants are mostly students and some working professionals, and her apart ments are currently being redecorated with new tile, wallpaper and carpeting. For students who plan to attend summer school, Kingswood is cur rently offering a special for half off the rent for the months of June, July and August. Laurel Ridge manager Nicole Hehl says she is offering a special of $19 for the first month's rent, and Foxcroft manager Ratchford said her special is for one month free on a 12-month lease. Highland Hills, Ramsgate and The Villages are the newer and more expensive apartments in the area. Ramsgate rental manager Corky Gatewood said his apartments just opened in December 1987 and cur rently have a 97 percent occupancy rate. The Villages manager' Sandy Bjorgo said her occupancy rate is currently at 93 percent and she is offering a special for one month free on a 12-month lease. Highland Hills leasing agent Denise Spence said the occupancy rate for her apartments has risen from 80 percent to 85 percent since last year because of their special for students. This special is about $50 off the regular rent for all floor plans for nine- and 12-month leases. ft. 1 . jji mcmmm r i V Or f ! 929-8394 n M-F 9-5 1- and 2-bed-rbomapts. starting at $330mo. 9 a? 12 month leases available! A Great Location! On C a? F buslines & walking distance to grocery and shopping! 54 ByPass v l. Carrboro

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