Renting certainly comes with its fair share of advantages. For one, tenants don’t have to worry about making necessary home improvements to the property. They also aren’t responsible for paying expensive property taxes on the rental. In addition, renters have the option to pick up and move at the end of their lease term, giving them ample flexibility when it comes to moving. However, renters do need to be mindful of quite a few obligations and responsibilities when renting a home.
That’s why we partnered with our friends at moving.com to break down the 5 must-dos when renting a home:
1. Research the Neighborhood Before the Move
Sure, rentals aren’t a permanent situation. But do you really want to get stuck in a bad part of town – even for a few months? Before committing to a rental, make sure to thoroughly research the neighborhood to ensure that it’s a safe and convenient place to live. Besides crime rates, we recommend looking into local amenities such as restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, public transportation options, vehicle parking rules, convenience stores, and gyms.
Do these options fit your needs? Are amenities located nearby? To learn more about an area, check out Moving.com’s City Profile Report feature. Our in-depth reports include city demographics, real estate information, quality of life factors, and more. Simply enter the zip code or the state and city of your potential move to get a free report at the click of a button.
2. Read the Lease’s Terms Carefully
Before signing a lease, make sure you actually read it first. It’s not a bad idea to also have a Realtor and/or an attorney look over it to make sure everything is fairly standard. Certain rules and clauses to examine include pet policies (if applicable), maintenance and upkeep expectations, when and how to pay your rent, and guidelines for breaking a lease. You should also read all rules regarding getting a security deposit back and subletting the home (if you plan to leave for part of the year).
The last thing you want is unexpected surprises from a landlord, so make sure to do your homework before signing an official lease.
3. Inspect the Property Carefully
Putting down a security deposit? If you want it back, we recommend documenting any and all pre-existing damage to the home. For proof, take photos and submit them to the landlord. You may also want to ask your landlord for a move-in/move-out checklist. This list includes specific features that the landlord will examine before and after you leave in order to assess the damage done to the property.
It’s important because it informs the landlord what (if anything) was damaged while the tenant lived in the home. It also protects the tenant from having to pay for damage that was already present.
4. Obtain Renters Insurance
You never know what’s going to happen when you move into a new home. Even a property in the safest part of town can experience unexpected mishaps. From natural disasters, such as a fire, to break-ins and theft, these unfortunate events happen all too often. The best thing you can do is be prepared by investing in renters insurance.
While a landlord’s insurance may cover the building in general, it likely won’t cover your specific belongings. Instead, you will need renters insurance to help replace your items in the case of water damage, fire, or theft. You may also need it to help with medical bills in case of injuries occur while inside the home.
5. Maintain a Good Relationship with your Landlord
While you certainly don’t need to be best friends with your landlord, you should, at the very least, aim to have a civil and respectful relationship. Not only will this encourage communication about issues with the property (read: maintenance requests, etc), but it will also make the landlord more willing to work with you in the future (i.e. if you need to break a lease early or need to find a subletter for a short period of time). Having a good relationship with your landlord can go a long way in making your rental experience a positive one
6. Let Alex Abad Find Your Next South Bay Rental
Yes, this step merits an exclamation point — it’s time to take scrolling through online real estate listings to the next level and actually see some rentals in person. Make the most of your walk-through since you might only see a place once in person before you decide you want to rent it — especially in a hot market.