7 Mistakes Renters Need to Avoid

By chrisrath • November 15th, 2011

Even property owners can help new renters avoid common mistakes to make the entire leasing experience better for all parties involved.

As a renter, spent hours searching for the perfect rental home or apartment. You’ve spoken with every rental property manager in your area and you’ve finally settled on what you hope will be your new home. Unfortunately, many people get caught up in the moving process and make some detrimental, yet avoidable mistakes. Here are some things you’ll want to avoid as you prepare to move into your new rental.

Forgetting to Buy Insurance

The landlord you are renting from will be responsible for placing insurance on the dwelling – the house or apartment building in which you’ll live. That insurance coverage will not, however, cover you for damages to your clothing and other personal belongings if there is an incident such as a robbery or a fire. You’ll need to purchase renters insurance to protect yourself against damage to your property.

Clarifying Property Management Responsibilities

Let’s say you’re preparing to rent a house. Are the terms for maintenance and upkeep clearly stated in your lease? If not, have the lease amended. It’s one thing to be responsible for mowing the lawn but it is unreasonable for you to be expected to make major home repairs on a rental – especially if they’re due to wear and tear and not your negligence.

Ditching the Lease

We have no idea why it happens, but some people prefer to rent their properties without a properly signed lease. Talk to your landlord or rental property manager about the lease and make sure it is signed before you move in. The lease isn’t designed to protect the landlord alone. It protects the tenant as well – from illegal eviction, unfair charges, and more.

Ignoring the Move-In Report

When you move into a property, you will likely be asked to fill in a report outlining any problems you encountered. Don’t ignore this process. Take the time to walk-through the property and make notes of any damages you find. Take pictures, if you can. Documenting existing problems will keep you from being held responsible for them later on.

Asking about the Security Deposit

Some fly by night property owners will take your security deposit and spend it. Legally, it needs to be deposited into an escrow account and the interest belongs to you. Ask your landlord for the information about the bank in which he’ll be depositing your security deposit and make a record of the account number. The escrow account should hold your money alone.

Not Taking Notes

Make sure you take notes every time you talk to your rental property manager. If there is a problem, you may need to refer back to these notes – especially if you end up in court. You may even want to go as far as sending your landlord an email to confirm the details of every conversation you have so that you are both on the same page.

Understanding Fair Housing Laws

Every state has laws governing fair housing. Make sure you read up on those laws and have a general understanding. Doing so will ensure your landlord isn’t able to discriminate against you in any way.

Brush up on each of the above points and make sure you’re prepared before you move into your new rental property. You’ll be well-prepared for a year – or more – of stress free living.

About the author

chrisrath I enjoy helping people find that right home whenever faced with a relocation situation due to their job or even a major life event. Since I have access to a large inventory of homes for sale and also manage many properties in the northern Delaware region, it is easy for us to help anyone make a smooth transition into this area. I am a licensed Real Estate Agent and also manage my own company Rath Management where we locate, screen, secure, counsel, and communicate with the tenant and the investor throughout the entire leasing process to keep homes filled. Our company also manages maintenance issues, collects and forwards rent monies, and even helps with the dreaded eviction process in the event a tenant does not keep up with the terms. Chris Rath

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