1) Â Get your paperwork ducks in a row in advance. Completing a rental application, having a current copy of your credit report, employment history and past rental history (along with references) prior to finding your perfect home is crucial if you want to be competitive. With these tools in hand, your Realtor can negotiate the best deal for you on price and terms.
You can order your credit report by mail, phone, or online at www.annualcreditreport.com or directly from the websites of the three major national credit bureaus:
Â· Â Â Â Equifax: www.equifax.com
Â· Â Â Â Experian: www.experian.com
Â· Â Â Â TransUnion: www.transunion.com
2) Â Review the lease with your Realtor to make sure all terms and conditions of the tenancy meet your needs. These may include deposits, late fees, pet, parking and visitor restrictions, running a business from your home, subletting, repairs garbage, pest control and utilities etc. Make sure everything your landlord has agreed to do prior to your moving in, is in writing.
3) Â Know your privacy rights and demand any repairs be done. Landlords are required to offer tenants inhabitable including water, electricity, clean, sanitary and structurally safe environment. Your rights to demand repairs may include withholding rent, paying for repairs and deducting rent, calling the building inspector who can force the landlord to make repairs or moving out without being held responsible for the duration of your lease. Know your rights to privacy when it comes to the landlord entering your unit to make these repairs.
4) Â Protect your deposit. When you move in be sure to do a walk-through with your landlord or Realtor to record any current damage to unit on a checklist sheet. Make sure your lease is clear on the use and refund of security deposit, including allowable deductions. Keep communication open with your landlord regarding needed repairs, to avoid future legal battles. Usually, talking it over rationally, and early, can resolve any issues.
5) Â Protect your safety and security. Know the crime statistics in your neighborhood. Make sure you have proper door and window locks prior to moving in and that they are in working condition. Report any suspicious behavior to the authorities. Acquire renterâ€™s insurance. The average renters' insurance policy covers tenants against losses to their belongings occurring as a result of fire and theft, up to the amount stated on the face of the policy, (such as $25,000 or $50,000) after a small deductible. Most renterâ€™s policies include also include personal liability coverage ($100,000 is a typical amount) for injuries or damage caused by the tenant, for example, if a tenant's guest is injured on the rental property due to the tenant's negligence.