A Renter’s Nightmare: SLUMLORDS!

We’ve all heard the saying for as long as we can remember “Renting is a Waste of Time and Money” and while that is very true, not everyone is ready to purchase Park Place or the Boardwalk. I’ve been a renter for over 15yrs now and there have been many ups as well as downs. In the process I’ve learned quite a bit about myself as well as the individuals I rented from and I can tell you, all landlords are not created equal.

While I have had some landlords that made me feel as if I never wanted to move, I have also had my share of others in which I couldn’t wait until the lease was up. As a tenant there were many mistakes that I’ve made along the way but with experience comes knowledge and due to those previous rental mishaps, I now know what to do before I signed the lease (those tips later)…but it was through my most recent rental experience that I did fully came to know what my rights as a tenant really meant.

A couple months ago my dryer started acting up, it got to the point where it wasn’t drying the clothes as it should. The first thing I thought of was the heating element, maybe it was timing out. I purchased both the washer and dryer brand new in 2012, so 5 years later and this being the first problem, was well worth the expense. In the meantime I was contemplating on maybe purchasing another dryer but before I made that decision I decided to get the dryer checked out first…and, I’m so glad I did. To make a very long story short, the repairman came out and told me that the dryer was in good condition, however; my dryer hose was clogged. He went on to say that the hose was so backed up he was surprised that it hadn’t  started a fire.

Shocked face

OMGOSH? Like, Really??

He immediately told me to contact my landlord and let him know of the situation because it was very serious. My mind at that time went on flashback mode – the landlord hasn’t been that responsive when I’ve asked him about things in the past or let’s say, he’s acted but not in the way that I felt like he should. But this situation was very serious so I did as the repairman asked and called him right away.

Once called, I was informed that he would get someone on it right away. Two days later, I ended up sending a message to confirm if something was still going to be done. I was then informed that I could still use the dryer and that someone would be out to the house as soon as they can. Fast forward over a month later – no response, I sent a message explaining the situation again and asked if someone was going to come out, Once again, I was informed that the person was too busy and that they would find someone. Fast forward another month and a half later…..still no word. Tenant vs. Landlord1I was in shock that my issue had not been taken care of quicker than I had hoped, after all – a clogged dryer vent is a fire hazard that could have caused major damage within that time period and it did, especially to my light bill. So, I did my research and took matters into my own hands; I hired whom I needed to come out to the house and fix the issue in which got fixed the same day. There was a bird’s nest in the vent along with globs of lint; talk about a disaster waiting on a match. I was appalled at the landlord but after doing my research, I found that as a tenant I had rights and therefore could take those expenses from the rent payment and that is exactly what I did.

So given my experience, I wanted to leave you a couple of tips showcasing what I did and mistakes I made in the past regarding past rentals….

I. Document, Document, Document…

In order to withhold some of the rent money to pay for the necessary expenses needed to be fixed, I had to document and keep record of the times in which I contacted my landlord. I would suggest that if you have a problem, right down or keep track of the date, time and conversation discussed. It’s the most relevant piece of information that will come in handy should you need to take such action as I did or even take your landlord to small claims court.

I also would suggest telling your landlord about the situation a couple of times (3) to be exact with time in between to give them time to take action before you take action. You don’t want to jump the gun, because it could hang you later on. Always make the landlord copies of receipts of the items that you purchased, you keep all the originals and if you do get someone to handle an issue or problem that the landlord has failed to do. Make sure you try to get a reasonable person that offer reasonable prices; you don’t want them to think that you’re trying to take more off the rent than you need to and if you have to take them to court, you might receive questions from the judge asking “Why you didn’t go cheaper”– Remember, you’re not trying to stick it to them. You’re just trying to spread awareness that you won’t be run over.

II. Read Your Lease to the “T”

The number one mistake I’ve made in renting is not taking out the time to read my lease in it’s entirety. Getting the keys to your own space can be very liberating but costly if you don’t take out time to read your responsibilities vs. the landlord’s responsible actions. People automatically assume that if they rent then the landlord is automatically responsible for everything…not true. You may be responsible for taking care of the yard or fixing things that become dented, broken or messed up during your stay. Every lease and landlord is different so make sure you read what you’re supposed to take care of during the duration of your lease. And No, the landlord is not responsible for replacing light bulbs nor air filters…sorry. *sidenote* If there’s something you don’t understand or need clarity on, please talk to the landlord about it first before signing…once you sign, you are bound to whatever the lease states you are to do.

III. Inspector Gadget to the Rescue:

Once you’ve read your lease and got all the formalities out of the way and before you move one single item into your humble abode. Go alone or with a trusted friend and inspect your new place. Take out your phone and take pictures of how your place looked before you moved in. Check the wall sockets, the carpet, the bathrooms, sinks, under the sink, wash area even outside. You’re checking to make sure that everything is in good condition. If you notice the carpet is torn or a light fixture is broken or knobs or lights are off or out, take notes and write it up for the landlord, make sure you date it and keep a copy of it for yourself. You want to make sure that the landlord knows about any and all discrepancies before you move in, this makes him or her aware that there is an issue. If they choose not to fix it, then they will not be able to hold that against you once you move out…that’s where your copy of the letter comes into play.

IV. Credit Jeopardy:

If you rent from a private owner, they may not necessarily report your monthly payment to credit reporting agencies, however; most management companies do. If you ever have hopes of moving out to obtain better digs or have a desire to own your own home one day, then paying your rent on time is the meat that will get you there. This brings me to my next point…

V. Be Upfront about It:

If you live in this world, then you know accidents and misfortunes do happen. If you get laid off, have surgery or suffer any other life crisis that will affect you paying the rent, please be upfront with your landlord. I don’t know what type of relationship you may have with him or her but keeping them informed about important matters, will help build a trusting relationship with them, one that could indeed get you into your next place. You never know who they may know or who may know them.

VI. Leave it There:

There was one place that I moved into years ago that had pictures, curtains, shower curtain liners and other miscellaneous things in it. I was under the impression that the owners had just placed it there to stage and dress up the place when they showed it. It wasn’t until I moved out and was expecting to get my full deposit back that I noticed their list of reasons why it was cut short, they had listed all those little trinkets right on the detailed list. So please, if you move into an apartment or house and there are items left there either by the landlord or someone previously; please let your landlord know and ask what you need to do with those items. My suggestion would be to take pictures of where the items were or hung before you take it all down, put them in a box and save it for when you move out. Once you move out, refer back to your pictures to see how those items were placed and hang or place them back where they were. If the landlord says that you can have them, document the date and time of that conversation and refer back to it when you need it.

If you live in North Carolina, Listed below are a couple of links that offer great information on your rights as a tenant as well as the landlords. If you don’t live in NC, then you can replace the NC in the link below with your state acronym. Different rules apply for different states, so make sure you’re following the correct guidelines outlined for yours.

Overview of Landlord Tenant Rights in NC

North Carolina Residential Tenant Rights


Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud & Love Hard!


Feel free to comment or email us @ justsuminspiration@gmail.com

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Sunday’s Thought: Is It Worth the REACH?

The other day I was in the store (you’ll come to find out, I go to the store quite often =) – I was in there picking up a couple of things with my son and daughter, as I was checking out my items at the self-checkout; I noticed my son was no where in sight.

As I continued scanning my items, my eyes were doing double duty as I began to glance up and down to see if I could spot him out. Suddenly, my eyes zeroed in to the side of the store where he was standing over by the drink machines located near the exit doors. Whew! I thought to myself, now I don’t have to run all over the store trying to chase him down. I was exhausted, it was really late and the self-checkout lines were the only ones they had open at that time of night, I was very lucky to zip through and out before the crowd got started; it was after 11am at night and the store was quickly filling up with people. I didn’t know people shopped at that time of night, anyway as I checked out and grabbed my bagged items, my son came running up to me saying “Mama, I found a quarter beside the drink machine – Can I get It??

My first reaction was, really?? That’s what you were over there doing all that time?. He began to explain the quarter’s location and how if I could just move the machine, he’ll be able to get it. Wonder WomanDo it really look as if I want to be Wonder Woman tonight, I mean did he expect me to use my bionic powers to move this big machine; mind you that was also in between two other huge drink machines. The space itself was very small and I couldn’t see how a quarter even got beside there unless it rolled there from someones loose change that accidentally dropped out of their hands.

He was determined to figure out a way to get that quarter and Why? What was he actually going to spend it on, what were his plans for it, he definitely can’t buy anything with it. I began to ask him, why was the quarter so important – he said he didn’t know, it just caught his attention and he wanted to get it. But why waste your time on something that’s not worth the trouble of even obtaining. I mean, if I’m going to perform miracles to move something out of the way, I want to make sure that it’s worth the time and effort in me doing it, otherwise what would be the point in me exhausting unnecessary energy for something that’s just going to sit on a dresser or in his case, get lost. I told my son, if it had been a five dollar bill meshed in between that machine, Wonder Woman would have been in full effect. Which brings me to the thought of the day, whatever you’re pursuing in life “Is It Worth Your Reach?”

On the way to our destiny, it’s so easy to get side-tracked by shiny objects, catch phrases and minor bumps in the road – at some point we will all be faced with the problem of either continuing to move forward or allowing trivial things to take our attention away from things that truly matter.

Sunday’s Thought:

Make sure the things that you are reaching for are worth your time and effort. A lot of times in life we waste the majority of our energy trying to grab minuet things that are not beneficial to our life, neither is it going to improve our current situation. If you’re going to reach for something, you want to make sure that what you are reaching for is not a distraction intended to knock you off track to your next destination.

Let’s face it, every minute counts when it comes to your future and you don’t want it to be wasted because something small, shiny or of little value got your attention. Be sure that whatever it is, it will be worth your attention as well as your time and will add value and meaning to your journey. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of time.

Let’s Keep It Moving, Shall We?..

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Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud & Love Hard!


Feel free to comment or email us @ justsuminspiration@gmail.com

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Success In Mind; Not Wealth…

The definition of success according to Merriam Webster’s English Language Learners is:

  • the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame

  • the correct or desired result of an attempt

Most of my life, when someone mentioned the word “Success” I also gravitated to the the first bullet (wealth, respect and/or fame) and because of that, I sought out in life to achieve and to do just that. When my attempts at stardom failed; it was then that I felt like a failure for not obtaining success “as I knew it to be” – I was blinded by what success really was and later realized that success had nothing to do with wealth, respect or fame; I mean don’t get me wrong, a part of success is known to be wealth and fame but if you don’t have the mindset to achieve the basics, you’ll never get to the other side of it.

The world we live in now, deems success as such things above and puts many stipulations on the word. Such as, if you haven’t achieved a certain goal or aspiration by a certain time frame or age in your life, then according to the worlds term of success, you would be deemed as unsuccessful. You might as well give up, close up shop to your dream and goals and wait to die. Sounds dreadful; and it will be, if we base our success definitions off of other peoples perceptions. Success Way1

You see? True success starts within your mind. A lot of times in life we get mixed up by what success truly is because we focus our attention on other people, their status, their way of living, their wealth, their life and etc. and try to match and/or adjust our life to be set up just like their world is. I’ve been there and done that…

When I first starting blogging two years ago, I visited quite a few blogs during that time. Some had really cool site tags, but what really got me was how many people were following them. I was overcome by the comments they were receiving from their writing styles and topics and it was then that I became discouraged about my own blog. I began to think to myself – “Okay, maybe I need to do this or say that.” or “Maybe I need to change my Blog to look like theirs.” From that point, I found myself going through many different realms and circles just to get engagement, but failed miserably to get the responses that I felt were making them successful. Suddenly, I began to ask myself “Are my topics not interesting enough?, “What is it that they’re doing, that I’m not doing?” and the questions and comparisons went on and on and on. I literally made myself sick and depressed thinking about it. What I was trying to do was compare other bloggers success  to what my blog should look like in order to get to the success and the level that they had achieved. “As Julia Roberts said it best in “Pretty Woman”….

Julia Roberts1

What I had to realize was that their success was not my success and not only that – in order to get that type of following, they had to have been blogging for a couple of years or more. At the time I was just starting out and was already looking to shoot to the stars off of one blog post, trust me I think it’s silly when I think back on it now.

What I came to the conclusion of is that everyone has their own audience and while they had built up theirs through hard work and consistency. I had to realize that, that would be the same road that I would need to take as well. Was I doing this to get likes and follows? Or was this something that God had really birthed in my heart and spirit to do, because if it’s of God – we have to trust and believe that he has success worked out for us in his own time, including followers. But, if we’re into ourselves, then we’ll forever chase a rabbit that we’ll never catch.

Listed below are a couple of Success tips that I learned along the way, that might help you, no matter where you are now on your journey.


1.Wealth is not Wealth if you don’t have a Successful Mind to handle it.

Okay, so I’ve always been bad when it comes to money. I never really had anyone to teach me about wealth growing up and the benefits it can add to your life. If you want to have money and keep money, you first have to have a successful mindset towards it. As a people, when we advance in life whether this is from a job or other advancement; we tend to increase our life and possessions as well. We’ll go from a job making 25,000 a year to making 35,000 a year and still be broke. We’ll go out and get a new car with higher payments and take on more expenses in which will make us sink deeper into debt, then we’ll find ourselves asking God for a better job to pay off the debt “we” incurred. The new increase is not meant to increase our lifestyle but help us to save and make it easier to pay for the things and/or bills we are already facing, not to add to it. What we have to do is keep the same mindset we had when we were making 25,000. You might even want to pretend as if you got a 5000.00 increase instead of a 10,000 increase.  I’m a firm believer, if you can’t handle what you have now, then you won’t be able to handle the million you’re praying for.

2. Stop with the Comparison

As stated above, I had it bad comparing myself to other’s. When it comes to success you have to realize that everyone is on a different level. Their success is not going to look like your success and vice versa. When you have a product or a service to offer to people, don’t get side-tracked because someone else’s products or services is doing better than yours. You can’t focus on what they are doing, you have to stay consistent with what you are doing in the space and time that’s given to you. Most people are grinding everyday and putting themselves in uncomfortable spaces in order to push their product because they believe in it. We don’t know the effort that anyone is doing behind the scenes that make it look effortless in plain view. Success is obtained through your hard work and consistency. What are you willing to do or how far are you willing to go to push yours?

3. Create your own Path

A minister told me when I was 18, she said “I tell my children all the time; create your own Path, Let people follow you instead of you following them” – I didn’t understand her words of wisdom at that time because my focus was always shifted on following someone else in whom I thought was much cooler, popular or better than me. It wasn’t until I hit 30, that the light bulb went off in my head. I was so busy following others until when I looked down at my own feet,  I didn’t have a path of my own to follow. It was then that I immediately began creating my own path of self-assurance and success and while I am still adding to that path daily, it feels good to be the leader of my own destination and not someone elses.

4. It’s Never Too Late

I used to tell people, “It’s Never too Late to Do Anything you want to Do; It becomes too Late when they are rolling you into a church.” I say the same thing to you today, Don’t get sidelined because the career you always dreamed of didn’t happen in your 20’s and you’re now 40. Success doesn’t have a start date nor an end date to when it should happen and when it should stop. As long as you’re living, breathing and have the activity of your limbs; you’re capable of accomplishing anything you want. If it doesn’t happen, it won’t be because it wasn’t available – It’ll be because you didn’t allow it too.


Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud & Love Hard!


Feel free to comment or email us @ justsuminspiration@gmail.com

For Daily Inspiration, you can follow us on one or all of the social media sites below:

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JUNE IS IN FULL BLOOM! & So Are This Month’s Topics…


I promise you, It seems as if it was just a week ago when I posted the topics for May. I seriously need to put forth a protest to stop these months from moving so fast. June Already?? Wow!

Well, while the months are taking wings and flying away – so are we with the topics. I really appreciate everyone for reading and engaging in the topics we’ve had thus far. We have some topics for June that I’m sure you either can probably relate too or know someone whom has been through it.

So hold on June! Self-Help topics are back again. Without further ado, here are the topics and tips we’ll be providing for you this month.

Success in Mind, Not Wealth.


Do you really know what Success Is? I mean the first thing I used to think of when I approached the word was fancy clothes, cars, money and overall wealth of everything good. But Success is none of those things, as it starts in the mind and is exemplified in how you use that mind of yours. I’ll break down what success truly is and how you need to shape your mind concerning success by sharing my own story and provide tips of how you can obtain success now, not later.


A Renter’s Nightmare: Slumlords..


Most people rent because they either don’t have the money to purchase the home of their dreams at the time or if they owned a home; they wouldn’t have the money to fix something should it go wrong. Renters have a responsibility but landlords do as well; so, what do you do if you have a landlord that doesn’t do what he’s supposed to do, should you still pay the rent? What are your rights as a tenant? In this post I’ll be sharing my very recent experience with this issue, talk about what I learned and give you tips if you or someone you know is having issues with their landlord.


Did you say Divorce?


If you’ve ever been married and suffered through a divorce or have been separated and in the process of a divorce, then you know it’s not an easy road. No one ever thinks of the “D” word when they get engaged and eventually get married. The hope is to stay married for ever and ever and ever, unfortunately this dream doesn’t happen for everyone. In this post I’ll talk about my divorce and offer tips on how I got through it. Let’s face it, Divorce does happen and it can leave you in a rut (mentally, spiritually and physically) but you don’t have to let Divorce rule you, when you have the power to overcome it.


$20.00 or Less Lunch Week.

Lunch Budget

It may not seem like it to some people that actually know me, but I love a good bargain and I love to eat. So, when it comes to having lunch at work – I don’t have money to go out and grab something at the local fast food chain. Sometimes, all I have is 10.00 for the whole week for lunch and you know (depending on where you go), you can spend that and then some in one sitting. In this post I’ll show you how I get lunch for the whole week off of less than 20.00 and what I look for when I go to the grocery store to keep the cost low.

So stay tuned and be on the lookout every Thursday this month for a new topic. Feel free to comment, share, like or send us a message here at justsuminspiration@gmail.com. Justsuminspiration is geared toward helping you to live better and wiser, laugh louder and love harder. We don’t want you to just be Inspired but to Live an Inspired Life!


Sincerely Yours,

Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

C’Mon, You Just Gotta ASK!

Thursday afternoon, after work I went into the local market Wal-Mart to pick up a couple of items and as I always do – thinking I’m just going to go in for one thing and run out…(Intermission Break #ThatNeverHappens 😞😣, Okay…so back to the story) I began to see everything under the sun that I needed and/or wanted.

As my arms were filling up with items, I realized that I should have gotten a basket, so here I was running from aisle to aisle looking for an abandoned basket to place my items in but there was no basket in sight. Suddenly as I approached a self-check out line, I noticed a big basket (empty) just sitting there. I wanted to grab it but then I noticed there was a man there whom was just completing his transaction, he was about to go. I immediately backed away to continue my search to find a basket. It suddenly hit me, Why are you searching for a basket; when you seen one, all you had to do was ask? I was like, Yes…why didn’t I ask him, why did I just walk away?

I said all of that to say, in life we don’t monopolize on situations that are right in front of us. We procrastinate, take our time, beat around the bush and talk ourselves out of our blessings. Then we wonder why, things happen for other people and seem to pass us by. It’s not that things pass us by….it’s just that those other people know how to ASK & THEY RECOGNIZE OPPORTUNITY! I went back, hand full of groceries and asked the man “Are you done with this basket? He said yes, you can take it. As I said Thank you to him, he in turn said “No, Thank You, you helped me out.”

So, I have to ask you a question. “What is Today your Day to Do” Is it your day to say Yes! Is it your day to Take a Leap of Faith in moving towards your dream? Because when you don’t use the time or take advantage of the resources that’s in your path in that moment, you’re not only hurting yourself, but you very well could be hurting someone else in the process.

Today is That Day! So Make It Happen 😉😉

You Got This!

Roshonda N. Blackmon

Creator of Justsuminspiration, Author, Speaker, Motivator & Encourager