Renting a property has it’s advantages: you don’t pay property taxes, you’re not financially responsible for damage outside of your control, and you can move out at the end of your lease with no attachments. While these things are beneficial, there are some things you need to look out for as a potential renter, as well as things you need to complete and follow up on as a tenant. Here are 11 tips for tenants to prepare for moving into a rental home.
Moving Into a Rental Home: 11 Tips for Tenants
Research the Neighborhood
Before you commit to moving into a rental home—or even scheduling a tour of one—research the neighborhood. Besides crime rates, look at the surroundings of the home. Where is the nearest grocery store? If you enjoy takeout, are there any restaurants nearby? If you have kids, what is the school district like? Your lifestyle requires public transportation, so where is the nearest bus stop or train station? Even though renting is temporary, you don’t want to be stuck in an uncomfortable or unbearable situation until the end of your lease.
Inspect the Property Before Signing the Lease
Always, always, always visit the property you intend to rent before signing the lease. Pictures can be edited. Ask when appliances were last updated and about any recent repairs. If you’re looking for a place with natural light, you also can’t tell what that’s like from pictures alone.
Inspect the Lease
Upon first glance, it might seem like a hefty document to read through. But do not give in to the temptation to skim. Thoroughly reading through your lease is very important and could save you money in the end. Your lease will include certain clauses regarding pets, maintenance, any customization you can do to the home, what happens if you’re late with rent or need to break your lease. Make sure it’s clear how you’ll get your security deposit back and what it would or will be used for.
Acquire Renters Insurance
Most landlords will (and should) require proof of renters insurance in order to rent the property. Even if they don’t, you should get renters insurance. Between natural disasters, fire or water damage, or a break-in, you cannot anticipate what could happen in the future. It’s always best to be prepared as the insurance the landlord has on the building will not cover your personal belongings.
Conduct a Move-In Inspection and Take Photos
Even though you already inspected the rental before you signed the lease, conduct another inspection. This time, make notes of any preexisting damage: any scuffs or marks on the wall, floors, or appliances, the status of the appliances, etc. Take photos of the entire property, as well as close ups of preexisting damage. Save those photos somewhere you won’t lose them. They’ll be invaluable if there are any discrepancies on move out day and prevent you from paying for damage you didn’t do.
Set Up Automatic Rent Payments
If possible, always take the option to set up automatic rent payments. Life gets hectic, and sometimes you forget to pay bills. If automatic payments aren’t an option, pay rent through a debit/credit card. They’ll leave a paper trail of your payments, either in digital or physical statements. If there’s ever an issue where your landlord says you missed a payment, you’ll be able to back yourself up with proof.
Clean Thoroughly Before Moving In
You don’t know who was living in the rental property before you, and you don’t know their cleaning habits. There’s no way to know the last time it was cleaned. Even if things look clean, clean it yourself. The first day of your lease, arrive at your new home armed with your vacuum and cleaning supplies. Take the morning or afternoon to scrub from top to bottom. It’s better safe than sorry.
Have a Good Relationship with Your Landlord
You don’t need to be best buds with your landlord, but you should try to have a civil and respectful relationship with them. They are in charge of the property you’re living in. They have the power and authority to kick you out or end your lease (make sure you’ve read up on this section in your lease before signing). Having a good relationship with your landlord will go a long way in making your life easier, even after you move out. Not only will a good relationship encourage your landlord to make repairs faster, but it will also help when you need to move out and list them as a reference for your next rental home.
Notify Your Landlord of Damage Immediately
Speaking of repairs, let your landlord know what needs repairing as soon as the situation arises. This will give them ample time to inspect any damage and order replacement parts or appliances. Letting the damage sit for a while increases the chance of it spreading or worsening. Depending on your lease agreement, you might even be held responsible for damages not made aware to the landlord.
Photograph the Property Before You Leave
Once everything is moved out, photograph the property before you leave. It’s important to document the state you left the apartment in. While not all landlords are vindictive enough to do this, they might create damage after you move out and accuse you of that damage. This shouldn’t happen, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Leave on a Good Note
Whatever your situation with your landlord, whether they were amenable and made repairs quickly or didn’t believe when things were broken and were slow to repairs, always try to leave on a good note. You never know if you’re going to need a recommendation from them for your next landlord.
Now that you know what to look for and complete before moving into a rental home, it’s time to find a place, sign a lease, and get packing and moved in. And Moving U & Junk U can help with that. We’re here to eliminate stress from packing and moving. Whether you’re looking for some help just with packing, the move, or a little of both, we’ll customize our services to meet your needs. And if you find along the way you need junk removal, we can take care of that as well. Our professionally trained, friendly movers are here to make your life easier on moving day.
To get your free estimate for packing and/or moving, give us a call or text at 484-301-2442 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.