Important Things Your Landlord Might Forget to Tell You

AS_ChecklistThere are plenty of perks to renting an apartment: community pools, workout centers, free maintenance, etc. Although your landlord will be quick to highlight many of the positive perks and requirements for renters, there may be a few things he or she might leave out. To get the most out of your rental, make sure you pay special attention to the following tips.

You’ll need to get renters insurance

Some apartment complexes require tenants to have a certain amount of renters insurance prior to moving in. However, when picking out a policy, be sure to make sure it has the best coverage for you, and not merely the minimum amount required by law. Even if your landlord doesn’t obligate you to have renter’s insurance prior to moving in, it’s an important step not to skip. Renters insurance can help cover your possessions in case of flooding, theft, fire, and other accidents that the apartment complex may not reimburse. Research several policies to find the best fit for you.

Make a list of issues upon move-in

When you first move into your new apartment, make sure you do a thorough walk through of every room. Keep a checklist of everything that’s wrong, and even snap a few photos to keep for your records. Make sure to report this list to your landlord ASAP, and keep a copy of it yourself. Documenting issues prior to move-in can help ensure that you won’t be billed for damages prior to your stay.

Read up on pet policies

Thinking about getting a furry friend? Make sure you consult your renter’s agreement before you take the plunge into pet parenthood. Many apartment complexes have rules about owning pets. Some are even as specific as to limit the weight, size, or breed of a pet. In order to avoid any unpleasant surprises after you’ve left the pound, make sure you know your landlord’s rules and follow them.

Ask about utilities and maintenance coverage

Are you responsible for changing out air filters? What about replacing burned out ceiling lights? Talk to your landlord or apartment staff to find out what is covered as “regular maintenance items” and what you’re responsible for as a renter. Additionally, find out what utility bills you may be liable for. Some complexes take care of the water bill, while you’re responsible for electricity. When it comes to utilities and maintenance, knowing what you’re responsible for up front will help prevent surprise expenses.

Know your rights

Being a responsible renter is more than just paying your rent on time and keeping your noise level in check. It’s always in your best interest to know your rights. Almost every state in the US has a published “tenant’s rights handbook,” which is usually available online. Make sure you know what your state says about the rights you have as a renter.

Read your lease agreement

Staring down a long legal document can seem a bit daunting, but at the end of the day, reading your lease agreement is important. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you’ve read and comprehend everything in your agreement. If there’s something you don’t understand, or don’t agree with, be sure to talk to your landlord.