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Five top tips for Calgary renters

Saskatchewan's justice minister is reviewing part of the province's Human Rights Code that allows some landlords to turn away renters because of their sexual orientation.
Saskatchewan's justice minister is reviewing part of the province's Human Rights Code that allows some landlords to turn away renters because of their sexual orientation. Getty Images

CALGARY – If you’re considering moving to an apartment in the city, it’s important to do a little research before you pack your boxes and sign your lease.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says more than 6,400 complaints against apartment complex and landlords were filled in 2012, for everything from trouble getting security deposits back or badly handled repairs.

To make sure you don’t find yourself in trouble with your landlord, the BBB suggests you follow these five steps:

READ YOUR LEASE: It sounds obvious, but make sure you read and understand the terms of your rental. When is your rent due? Who pays for utilities? Are pets allowed? Keep a copy for your records.

DOCUMENT DAMAGE: Before you move it take pictures of condition the apartment is in. Document the flaws and have all agreements, like what improvement will be made and when, put into writing.

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KNOW YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES: Find out how maintenance and repair concerns are handled, and learn what you’ll be responsible for fixing. Will you have to replace light bulbs? Leaky toilets? Remember you have certain rights when it comes to a liveable space, as outlined in Service Alberta’s landlord-tenant act.

BE CAUTIOUS OF CRAIGSLIST: Scam artists can place phony postings on online forums and rental sites. Never wire money for a rental you haven’t seen in person.

GET RENTERS INSURANCE: The property owner carries insurance on the building, but it’s your responsibility to insure all personal furnishings and belongings against theft or disasters such as fire, flood or tornado.

To review the apartment complex you’re thinking of living in and the property managers you are considering, you can visit Calgary.bbb.org to see reviews and find out if the company has a history of complaints.