VOLUME 7RNote from the Editor
I was headed out the door two days before Christmas, and I’d already told relatives to hold off on picking me up for the holidays until after a mandatory extermination check was done. From past multi-unit rental experiences, I’d learned the hard way that tenants may either be ashamed or worried about the costs once property owners realize they have a bug or rodent problem. Meanwhile, as both a prior tenant and a current condo unit owner, my door is wide open. Spray it down!

With my indoor and outdoor security cameras already set to record video and audio while I was away, I waited for the exterminator to show up. Almost an hour later, nothing happened. I was confused. I saw the property manager’s assistant walking around the building with the exterminator, and I opened my door to ask why they’d walked past my unit.

Imagine my look of surprise when the property manager’s assistant said he was ordered to not service my unit. It was the kind of conversation that would be considered hearsay if I didn’t have proof for the condo board. To my surprise, the property manager’s assistant was willing to admit this in a communal hallway—and my security cameras were already rolling.

I was oddly grateful to have programmed those cameras before this incident occurred. This verbal altercation was what led to the cover story idea, “Know Legal Ramifications of Recording Tenant-Landlord Disputes.” Although I wouldn’t let this dispute ruin the family gathering, I did contact legal counsel in the new year. I needed to know whether this recording could be used in court. Tenants should also be aware of their legal rights when they’re bumping heads with a landlord or property manager. Sometimes it’s worth the courtroom fight. Many times, it is not.

Also in this issue, other legal and insurance topics come up, including “Small Claims, Big Problems: How to Resolve Security Deposit Disputes” and “In the Event of an Emergency.” In the latter story, if you don’t have an In Case of Emergency (ICE) list in an obvious place, you should create one immediately.

Our team also touches on lighter issues for tenants with green thumbs (“Hard Freeze: How to Care for Plants in the Winter” and “Setting Up a Community Garden Without Violating the Rules”), tenants who want to make the most of outdoor amenities (“Clean Pool, Happy Tenant”) and tenants who want to increase the peace and quiet (“Quick and Easy Ways to Soundproof a Room”).

We hope this seventh rental issue answers questions you may already have and some you didn’t even know to ask. Is there a topic you’d like us to talk about? Contact me at shamontiel.vaughn@go4rent.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

Shamontiel L. Vaughn, Editor-in-Chief

About Shamontiel:Shamontiel L. Vaughn has been in the publishing industry for 18 years as a newspaper reporter, a web editor, social media specialist and a print editor. Her areas of expertise include K-12 and adult education textbooks; local and nationwide news; and health news. She's also completed approximately 235 interviews in a variety of areas, including business management; entertainment; internet technology; law (entertainment, business and real estate); nursing; and travel. Some of her bylines can be found in the Chicago Defender, Chicago Tribune and CBS Chicago.

The unapologetic dog lover also owned two prior dogs (German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever mix) before becoming a two-year dog walker (523 walks with 93 different dogs) and adopting a third dog of her own on Juneteenth 2021: a Hound mix named Junee. When she's not writing, editing or playing with her dog, she's a current condo owner, former condo board president and treasurer, and a five-year officer for a community Toastmasters club.