Renting an Apartment April 4, 2011
Terms • Tenant • Somebody who rents a house or apartment for a fixed period of time. • Landlord • A person who owns the property and rents it to tenants.
Terms • Lease • An agreement that requires a tenant to stay for a particular amount of time and restricts the landlord’s ability to change terms. • Eviction • The removal of a tenant from rental properties by the landlord.
A landlord has a legal right to enter your apartment when: • Making repairs • Showing property with reasonable notice • Emergency (Fire, Serious water leak etc.) • Abandonment
Terms • Credit Check • A process where a person has his or her credit history checked before credit is extended (in the form of a loan). • Security Deposit • Money given to a landlord to provide some protection for damage to the rented premises or for some other failure of the tenant.
Terms • Utilities • Services such as water, natural gas, or electricity • Ask about Internet access! • Fixed expenses • A cost that occurs regularly, same amount of $ • Variable expenses • A cost that occurs regularly, but may vary in amount of $
A landlord can judge potential renters by: • Poor credit history • Insufficient income • Bad references • Past behavior (i.e. destruction of property) • Tenants would exceed valid occupancy policy
A landlord CAN’T judge potential renters by: • Race • Religion • Ethnic background or national origin • Sex • Age • Tenant has children (except in senior housing) • Mental or physical disability
Step 1: Where to look • Craigslist • Rent.com • Apartments.com • Classified section in local newspaper
Step 2: Consider your needs Is the apartment complex pet-friendly? Is parking included? Is it on-site? Is there a covered parking lot? Is there a security system in place? Are there washers & dryers in the building unit? Is the apartment centrally located? Do you have any deal-breakers?
Step 3: Money Matters • Think about your budget • Get a free credit report • Think about the down payment & security deposit
Step 4: Get to know the neighborhood Look at the other renters; are they your age, young families, or retired? Check out the proximity of restaurants, public transportation, entertainment, etc. Ask the natives Ask yourself what neighborhood best suits you
Step 5: Come prepared Checkbook Camera Tape measure Financial documents Roommates References Questions Things to bring with you:
Step 6: Know your landlord • The first and easiest step you can take to finding out whether a landlord is legit is to check with The Better Business Bureau. • Search for the rental company’s name with the BBB, but remember that negative feedback is only recorded when complaints are filed • You may also want to check out an online rating community like: ApartmentRatings.com for additional information.
Step 7: Know your lease Terms of the lease: When is rent due? Is there a late fee? How much is the security deposit? Special policies: Are pets allowed? Can things be hung on the wall? Can the walls be painted? Read the fine print! Remember: A lease is a contract!
Normally, apartments provide basic kitchen appliances like cooking burners, oven, and refrigerator; some come with dishwashers. • Mostly all the apartments are equipped with AC/heat. • You can rent furnished / unfurnished apartment. If you rented an unfurnished apartment you can buy furniture from yard sales or Goodwill stores. Do You Know?