Mistakes to Avoid When Renting an Apartment
Renting an apartment is often one of the first major things young adults do when they move out. Like many things in life, there is a learning curve involved. You’re not going to instantly know what to do from day one. As a result, there are some common mistakes that first time renters make. Here are few of those common mistakes, as well as some advice on how to avoid making them.
Read the Lease Carefully
The key thing to remember is that your lease is a legally binding document. Don’t rush into a rental agreement no matter how busy the market is. Everything is laid out in the lease and it is your responsibility as the tenant to read it before signing. You’re allowed to take the lease home before signing and you can have an attorney or friend help you go over it. Be sure to know your rights as a tenant by visiting the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website, which has a state-by-state list of your tenant’s rights.
Take Pictures When You Move in
This step is important to make sure you get your deposit back when you leave. Your landlord should provide a move-in checklist that will allow you to note any damage you see upon moving in. If the landlord needs to make major repairs make sure you get that agreement in writing before signing the lease. You can also sign and date your own list and send it to the landlord before signing the lease.
If there is an accident or natural disaster that results in damage to your property it is not covered by the landlord’s insurance property. This is where renter’s insurance comes in handy. They are usually fairly inexpensive between $100 and $300 per year, but they can save you money in the long run if your property is damaged.
Take Advantage of Tax Credits
Some states have certain tax credits available to renters since they help pay the property taxes on the property the landlord owns. California, Missouri, and Maryland are just three states that have these benefits. To find out if your state offers similar benefits be sure to contact the state tax department.
Hold Your Landlord Accountable
This is related to your rights as a tenant. If your landlord is not making repairs or allowing unsafe conditions you have the right to report them. Your local government can help you with your options if you believe your rights are being infringed.
It only takes a small amount of knowledge to make sure you avoid a major mistake. By following the above steps your rental experience can be everything you need it to be and more.