Someone told me that as a tenant, I assume no risks. Landlords risk everything by taking a chance on the renter, who might choose not to pay rent or cause damage to the property.
It's true that landlords risk losing money. But is it true that renters don't face any risks at all?
Here are some of the things I risk when I sign a lease:
The landlord agrees to make all necessary repairs to the property and bear the cost of said repairs. I risk living in an non-functioning apartment if the landlord decides not to uphold their end of the deal.
As a renter, I have no control over who lives in the building with me. I risk living with people who will keep me up all night with noise, who won't take care of their apartments, or who will invite dangerous people into the building.
I risk never seeing my security deposit again even if I follow the landlord's instructions for move-out to the letter.
I risk living in a home that might be purchased by someone else, someone who wants to make more money off of the property and wants to push me out.
I risk being thrust into poverty by an eviction.
A lease is a document that binds landlord and tenant, and there is plenty at stake for both parties if one person doesn't abide by the terms. It should not be that hard to balance a renter's right to a stable home with the landlord's need to protect their financial interests.
The city could create a fund that would help landlords recover some of their losses after renting to tenants who do damage or owe back rent while also enacting a rent stabilization policy that would prevent landlords from exploiting renters through unreasonable rent hikes.
This would require city leaders to act as mediators, however, when we all know they'd prefer to divide us so they can ram their agenda through. Maybe during the next election cycle we can lift up some candidates who understand the value of compromise.