Apartment Renting Advice

By Doherty • April 19th, 2011
Inner Sunset, San Francisco

Image by peanutian via Flickr

Renting an apartment is something that most people have to do at some point, especially now that the price of a home is out of the reach of most young people who are just starting their career. You can get some really great rental deals, but you have you to know what you are doing else you could end up being out of pocket. To make sure that you get a good deal, and do not overspend or get ripped off, bear in mind the following…

Private landlord vs. property management company – There are pros and cons to renting from either a private landlord or a property management company but, for the most part, you are better off dealing with the latter. The reason being that you are more likely to get a better quality of service, as property management companies have a reputation to build and maintain, whereas as private landlords do not.

The lease agreement – When renting an apartment, you will need to sign a lease agreement, which is a legal document that states the terms and conditions that you and the landlord must adhere to. Your lease will probably be at least a few pages long, but you must read all of it. If any problems arise later on, you will be bound by whatever is stated in the lease, and saying that you did not read / understand parts of it is no defense.

Electricity, water, etc. – Check which, if any, utilities are included as part of your monthly rent. Sometimes landlords will pay the water and heating bills for you, and sometimes they will not. This is something that you should find out before signing a contract, so that you can accurately estimate your monthly budget. It is better to pay for utilities yourself if you have the option, as then the landlord cannot mark-up the price to boost their own profits.

Check for damages – You need to check your new apartment for damage on the day that you move in and let your landlord know immediately if anything is not as it should be. If you do not let them know about existing problems, then you may find yourself being held accountable for them when you leave. If you want to totally cover yourself, then take some photos to use as evidence should a dispute arise.

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