Did you know that 77% of Americans prefer to rent rather than purchase a home? With the housing prices rising, this is not surprising.
Renting your first home can be daunting when you enter property renting. You need to be aware of many things to look out for and things to ask for. Coupled with the fact that you are competing with many other potential tenants looking for homes for rent, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed at where to begin.
We have some great renting tips for you if you’re looking to rent your first place, so keep reading.
1. Bring Paperwork
Surveys have said that there are 2654 new renters every day – that’s an insane amount! So how do you stand out and put yourself ahead of the rest? What can you do that will catch the landlord’s eye?
The best way to catch the landlord’s eye is to be prepared. Bring the following when you meet your landlord, and you will have a competitive edge over the other potential applicants:
- A completed rental application
- A recent copy of your credit report
- Written references from previous landlords or employers.
These papers are standard to provide when renting an apartment or a house so having them ready saves a lot of time and hassle.
2. Review the Lease
Always read everything carefully before signing. You should review the lease conditions before you sign and address any provision you disagree with. For example, there might be restrictions on parking areas, pets, guests, and design alterations that you find unacceptable.
Address this with your landlord before signing to avoid any headaches or issues down the line.
3. Get Everything in Writing
You’ve heard of the term, “he said, she said,” and it applies well here. If you get everything in writing, you can avoid misunderstandings with your landlord. Nobody likes disputes, so keep copies of all correspondence and follow up any verbal discussions with a letter detailing what was discussed.
For example, if you need your landlord to repair something on the property, like a broken oven, put your request in an email or a letter, and keep a copy for yourself. If the landlord verbally agrees to carry out the repairs, shoot off a letter confirming this to have it in writing.
4. Get Repairs Done
It’s your right as a tenant to live in a habitable rental home. Landlords are required to offer adequate protection against the weather, access to electricity, water, and heat, and clean and structurally sound rental properties.
If your rental home is not kept in a decent state of repair, you have a few options available to you:
- Paying for the repairs and deducting the cost from your rent
- Withholding a portion of the rent
- Calling a building inspector
- Moving out without liability for your future rent
Don’t be afraid to be straight with your landlord about any issues you are having on the property. If you can show you have asked for repairs and the landlord hasn’t followed through, you can take it further with an attorney.
If you need more information, you can read this FAQ on Tenant’s Rights to Privacy.
5. Purchase Renters’ Insurance
Knowing what you’re protected for is essential when signing a rental agreement. In addition, your landlord’s insurance policy won’t cover any losses to you if anything gets damaged or stolen, so it’s imperative to protect yourself by getting renters’ insurance.
Renters’ insurance also covers you for third-party claims, for example, if someone is injured on your property. Cost-wise, you’re looking at around $350 a year for a $50,000 cover; however, there are less expensive policies if you don’t need that much coverage.
6. Protect Your Security Deposit
Another vital factor to consider before signing your lease is how your security deposit is handled. When you read through your rental agreement, make sure it clearly states how your security deposit is used, as well as what account your landlord will hold it in.
You are due any interest accrued on your security deposit while it’s being held in the landlord’s account.
Don’t forget to do a walk-through with the landlord to note any existing damage and make a checklist that you keep safe until it’s time for you to move out.
7. Talk to Your Landlord
While your landlord essentially controls the home you live in, they’re still human. So if you keep a friendly rapport with your landlord, you can potentially avoid any issues down the line.
If the landlord is slow to follow through on repairs you have requested, see if you can talk it over with them before going through a heavy legal battle.
8. Landlord Inspections
As a renter, your landlord does have the right to inspect the property; however, the landlord needs to notify you with enough notice properly. Your landlord can’t just appear at your door and demand to look around inside, so know your rights.
It’s essential to note that these inspections should occur at reasonable times and at a suitable frequency over the duration of the lease. In addition, it can be considered harassment if you get a visit from your landlord every week.
Getting a Copy of Your Credit Report
You can get a copy of your credit report by phone, mail, or online. You can also get your report from any one of the three major national credit bureaus via their websites:
With These Renting Tips It’s Time to Rent Your Own Space
Well done! With these renting tips, you’re well on your way to becoming more independent by renting a house.
Renting your first home should be a great, rewarding experience, so if you make sure you’re well prepared, then you can get the best out of the experience and not be left floundering in the dark.
If you enjoyed this article, take a look at more posts regarding homes and renting in our Real Estate category.