Tips for renting an apartment
Call 45 days in advance and see what is available. Have your move-in date and amount you can afford to pay ready.
Know the area!
Find the average price of other apartments in the area. Don’t pay more than others do. Be ready to pay an additional deposit if the building allows pets and you want to bring yours in.
Ask yourself the right questions
Do have special parking requirements? Do you need a dishwasher and disposal? Make a list of what you need. It is easy to miss those items when you are at the property.
Find out what changes you can make
Like painting walls, installing shelves, and remodeling. Noisy neighbors? Check out the common walls. Are they thin? If so, you could be unpleasantly disturbed or you may disturb someone else with your noise.
Landlords and management companies will often negotiate the rental price and/or security deposit. Be ready to get hit with an additional fee for the application or a tenant screening fee. If you can’t afford it, barter! Ask if you can help with odd jobs, maintenance, lawn maintenance. Check out the extras. Ask about covered parking, a yard, storage, laundry facilities, pool, or gym services. Do your inspection! Make sure all repairs are performed before you move in so you won’t be charged for them when you move out.
Get everything in writing!
Ask about a lease with an option to purchase. Ask if your security deposit can be placed in an interest-bearing account. Some states have laws about how security deposits are treated, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Is it tech ready?
Make sure your cell phone works! Ask about Internet services and if there are charges for use. Find out about cable TV, what channels are available, and phone lines. Make sure your lease specifies how soon you will receive your security deposit when you move out.
Don’t be shut out.
You landlord by law cannot discriminate or not lease to you based on age, sexual preference, ethnicity, or physical handicap. If so, contact you local housing authority.
You must know the implications of the lease you are signing. Your landlord is bound by law to disclose information about the rental property you are leasing, as well as information about their policies. These include whether there are any ‘common area’ expenses, if there is a shared utility meter and if so, how the expenses are calculated, if there are any building code violations, lead paint issues, and extra fees, such as credit checks or tenant screening fees. It is important that you ask questions about the landlord’s rules and regulations, length of time in business, and that you get to know the person you will be dealing with hopefully for a long time. If you possibly can, visit with at lease two other current tenants and ask the following questions.
- What are the penalties for late rent?
- Why is the current tenant leaving?
- Are the rental property and grounds kept in good condition?
- >Does the landlord respond quickly to repairs on the rental home?
- Does the heating/cooling work properly?
- Are there bug problems?
- Are there any crime/theft problems in the area?
Be sure to check out other issues, such as whether you should have tenant insurance for your rental home, whether you should consider a roommate to help pay the rent on your house or apartment, and what is involved in a tenant rental home credit check before you sign the lease contract. Follow these guidelines to make your time in your rental home enjoyable and hassle free.