Tips for new renters
As a renter, it can be hard to know what to expect from the experience before move-in. You may pick a home based on location, unit condition, size and other tangibles, but the day-to-day routine of life in your new home won’t be full established until you’ve been on the premises for at least a month. Neighbors, a landlord living on site, diligent property management, even next door pets or birds outside can have an impact on your new life. Make your rental experience a great one by planning it with care.
1. Research the neighborhood you’re about to move into, even before you look at the property. Find out how safe it is to live in the area or in the apartment complex and go as far as to research the laws of the area to find out what safety measures the landlords must provide. At the meeting with the landlord bring up the safety subject and assure that the measures and obligations are included in the lease.
2. Read the lease carefully before you sign it. Regardless of how much in a hurry you are or how incredibly good the offer sounds verbally, read the fine print details – how much you have to pay and when, how repairs are being handled, the terms of the security deposit, what may be deducted from it and when it will be returned to you post your tenancy.
3. Get it in writing. Every promise, every approval, has value only when you have it under the form or a written agreement – if your landlord allows your pet in the building and later denies it, having a written agreement will come in handy.
4. Mind your privacy. Check to see how and when your landlord and the maintenance staff may enter your rental. If they show up unannounced, you’ll know what your rights are.
5. Understand which repairs are your responsibility and which are your landlord’s. The landlord typically has to provide a habitable environment – adequate heat, water and electricity, safe structure, as well as replacement or repairs the items that are damaged through normal wear and tear.
6. Get renter’s insurance. Not only it is the smart thing to do, but it might also be required by your lease. Remember, if your apartment is broken into or if someone is injured while on your property, your landlord’s insurance won’t cover the damages.