Tips to avoid renting nightmares
There are a number of benefits to renting, including protection against fluctuations in the housing market, not having to worry about maintenance, and the freedom and ease to move when you want. However, renting also comes with its own set of challenges – some of which can turn into nightmares. The following tips can help you avoid the most common rental woes.
1. Roommate quarrels
There are pros and cons to living with another person [https://www.thespruce.com/should-i-live-with-roommates-or-live-alone-156440]; while having a roommate can help lower monthly costs or help you afford a larger rental or one in a nicer area, it also means you have to share your space with another person – who may have vastly different habits or preferences than you do.
If you are moving in with another person, make sure that the names of all the tenants appear on the lease and utilities; likewise, decide in advance how you’ll share the cost of bills and who will pay them. Creating a contract with your roommates can help prevent them from skipping out and leaving you with the financial responsibility for the rental and utilities.
2. Neighborhood nightmares
If you’re new to an area, it can be difficult to know what good and bad neighborhoods are. When looking for a new rental, be wary of areas with high crime rates, heavy commercial traffic, or an unusually high number of rentals; these can all indicate a less-than-favorable neighborhood. Likewise, make sure any new rental has windows and doors that can be securely locked. For added peace of mind, many security systems now offer wireless options that can be installed without permanently damaging walls, doors, or windows.
3. Test everything
When seriously looking at a rental unit, make sure to test everything from light switches and locks to plumbing and appliances. If something doesn’t work, make sure to have it included in writing in the lease that it will be repaired before you move in. Likewise, check with the landlord for their policy on how quickly repairs will be completed once the maintenance request has been made. Be on the lookout for “out of order” signs or other maintenance issues; broken light bulbs, overgrown landscaping, or stained carpet are all signs that maintenance on the property may not be regularly performed.
4. Deposit battles
Deposits can put a serious dent into your bank account, with properties often requiring a full month’s rent – or more. While the deposit is meant to cover any damage that needs to be repaired in the rental, many renters find it nearly impossible to get their full deposit back.
To have the best chance of getting your deposit back, make sure to detail the condition of the rental when you move in, either by taking photos or writing down details on a move-in document. Hiring someone to help clean the rental before you move out can maximize your chances of getting your deposit back. In cases where the landlord is truly at fault, a lawyer can advise you on how to move forward with finding grounds for a lawsuit.