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Rental Advice

Renter’s Checklist

  1. Rent and Utilities
    1. How much is rent?
    2. How much are the average utilities?
    3. Does the rent include any utilities?
    4. Which cable/dish providers are available in the area?
    5. Is there recycling on premises? If not, where is the nearest center?

 

The leasing office will sometimes shy away from giving you an “average utilities” estimate for fear that they will under or over-quote you. You can ask any of your future neighbors or any friends that you may have renting in that complex.

 

  1. Roommates
    1. Does a roommate have to co-sign the lease?
    2. What happens if you want to add a roommate later?
    3. Is there a parking rule (how many cars can legally park per apartment)?

 

These are important questions to ask because if you add a roommate without notifying the landlord, it is possible that you could be in breach of leasing agreement. Double check with the landlord about its policy on visitors and permanent tenants.

 

  1. Pets
    1. What is the pet fee?
    2. How many pets are allowed?
    3. Are there any breed restrictions?
    4. What areas are pets allowed off-leash (if any)?
  2. Fees
    1. How much is the security deposit?
    2. What are the requirements for getting a deposit back once you move?
    3. What is the penalty for late rent?
    4. What is the penalty for breach of lease agreement?
  3. Miscellaneous
    1. Are you allowed to paint?
    2. What is the number for maintenance and when are they available?
    3. What are leasing office hours (apartment complexes)?
    4. Where do packages get delivered (apartment complexes)?
    5. What time does mail arrive (apartment complexes)?

 

All of these questions will help ensure that you are prepared for anything that comes your way. It is always best to be informed of landlord’s policies so that you do not break them.

Tenant’s Responsibilities

Landlords and tenants are opposite sides of the same coin. Each accepts certain obligations either stipulated by law or specified by lease. Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, you should know your responsibilities and those of your lessor or lessee.

Tenant Obligations

  • Maintain the premises in a safe and sanitary condition.
  • Dispose of trash in the proper manner.
  • Keep plumbing fixtures as clean as possible.
  • Use electrical and plumbing fixtures properly.
  • Comply with housing, health, and safety codes that apply to tenants.
  • Do not damage the premises or permit guests to damage the premises.
  • Keep all landlord-supplied appliances in good working order.
  • Conduct yourself so that you and your guests do not disturb your neighbors.
  • Permit the landlord to enter your apartment if the request is reasonable and proper notice is given.
  • Comply with state or municipal drug laws in connection with the apartment and require other household members and guests to do likewise.

Landlord Obligations

  • Maintain the premises in a fit and habitable condition.
  • Keep all common areas in a safe and sanitary condition.
  • Comply with building, housing, health, and safety codes.
  • Keep electrical, plumbing, heating, and ventilation systems and fixtures in good working condition.
  • Provide running water and reasonably hot water and heat, unless the hot water and/or heat are supplied by a direct public utility hook-up under contract or agreement with the tenant.
  • Give 24 hours notice, unless in an emergency, before entering a tenant’s unit, and enter only at reasonable times and in a reasonable manner.
  • Evict the tenant if informed by law-enforcement officers of drug activity by the tenant or a guest of the tenant in or otherwise connected with the tenant’s premises.
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