If you are just starting out in life or do not have a lifestyle to support buying a home, renting a space is perfect. The hunt for a new apartment is full of excitement as you scope potential places and begin to design your space.
Some important pitfalls exist, and first-time renters tend to fall into specific mistakes. By becoming aware of what these potential mistakes are, you prepare yourself and avoid them. Examples of first-time renter mistakes are skimming your rental contract, underestimating all costs, and forgetting a list of items to view in the apartment. It is important to know your rights as a tenant.
The landlord is legally responsible for the maintenance of the apartment complex including completing all maintenance requests. If the landlord or an employee enters your apartment, you must be given a notice ahead of time. In the event you make a mistake with your apartment and must break your lease, it may present problems with renting in the future.
Learn About Security Deposit Savings
Security deposits are sums of money you pay upfront after signing your lease. The security deposit is put towards repairing any damages accrued over your stay in the apartment that is not normal wear and tear. Be aware, the maximum amount for a security deposit is twice the amount of your monthly rental payment.
Try and negotiate a lower security deposit with your landlord. If your credit and rental history is good enough, you may be able to put down a lower security deposit. When you move out of your apartment at the end of your lease, you get the security deposit back.
Your apartment must be undamaged and clean throughout the residency for this to occur. Always clean the unit as best as possible before vacating the premise. When you move in, obsessively document any previous marks, scuffs, and damage. Be sure to take pictures and keep them on hand in the event your apartment complex attempts to instigate false claim and keep your deposit.
Mistakes for First-Time Renters to Avoid
Renting for the first time is quite exciting but you must pay attention to a few things to avoid falling prey to certain mistakes. Always view an apartment before you move into it. By visiting the property, you determine rental scams and find any damages or flaws before moving into the property.
Test other amenities in the apartment like how quickly the water heats up or if the lighting situation is ideal. Ask to see your exact unit whenever possible as sometimes the example apartment is nicer.
When you go in to sign the lease, look over all of it. Under no circumstances should you skim your lease and sign it. In some cases, a lease has important rules and regulations you may not be aware of if you are simply skimming the document. Once you sign the lease, you are legally agreeing to follow all rules. In the event you break any one of them, you are subject to eviction.
Always ask for all costs before you sign a lease. Determine the costs for prorated rent, application fees, deposits, and any specialty fees. For example, a specialty fee is a pet fee. If you would like to have your pet in your apartment, you may have to pay a one-time fee and then have increases placed on your rent each month.
Try and find an estimate for utilities and determine how much you are going to spend on essential household items from groceries to cleaning products and bedding. Try not to sign for an apartment where the rent is over a third of your income.
If you want a nicer place but cannot afford it on your own, find roommates. Be sure to thoroughly investigate your roommates. Just because you are friends with someone does not always mean you can live with them. Go over ground rules like chore agreements, permitted guests, the temperatures of the unit, and how noise levels are navigated.
Learn About Your Landlord’s Responsibilities
The landlord is expected to oversee a variety of things to ensure the safety and maintenance of the apartment complex. A landlord oversees maintenance with your apartment, and it is at no cost to you if it is normal wear and tear.
Your landlord must notify you for 24 hours written notice before entering into your apartment after your maintenance request. Additionally, maintenance requests are typically completed within normal business hours and occur quickly after your initial request.
Landlords must provide fully functional smoke detectors and sufficient ventilation to cut down on mold development. Any mold in an apartment should be notified and the landlord must immediately address the problem. Landlords must return your security deposit to you after moving out of the apartment, as long as you are current on rent, did not break the lease, or damage your apartment heavily.
Finally, you legally are allowed to live in non-discriminatory housing. Landlords must follow the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and provide safe and cleanly housing to anyone regardless of nationality, race, color, religion, disability, or familial status.
How to Get Out of Your Lease
Breaking a lease is a serious action. Before you decide to break your lease, understand the process and consequences of doing so. Always be prepared before you break your lease. If you are not prepared, you incite civil lawsuits, diminished credit scores, a mark on your rental history, and large fines.
The first step in this process is to review the lease agreement. You must determine if at least one of two specific circumstances apply to your current situation. The first circumstance is if the landlord has not kept up with his or her responsibilities.
If you have lodged multiple complaints, health hazards, or ignored maintenance requests, the landlord may be the one at fault. If the landlord is at fault, you can break your lease penalty-free. If your landlord is not at fault, review your rental agreement for the termination clause.
Not all rental agreements have one, which is why reading your lease before you sign it is crucial. If you do have an early termination clause, it states you can end your lease early if you prove financial hardship in some instances.
The recommended course of action is to speak to your landlord. Try and provide as much detail as possible to determine if a course of action can be worked out to avoid breaking your lease. If you are on good terms with your landlord, the landlord may agree to end your lease early without penalty.
Another option is to sublet your apartment to a new tenant. Subletting means you transfer your lease to a new tenant. You are still legally responsible for the state of the apartment even though someone else is living there. Ultimately, if the subletting tenant does not pay rent, you are expected to pay it.