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Renting an Apartment
Renting an Apartment
After you have chosen an area to live in and found an apartment you want, being careful
when negotiating and signing your lease can help you reduce the cost of renting and
potentially eliminate some of the issues you are likely to face as a tenant. Here are some
guidelines that can help:
Try to get a reduction on the monthly rent. In most cases, not only are you eager
to move in, but the landlord is also anxious to start collecting rent. Ask the landlord if
there is some way to get a slight reduction - 2% to 5% is not unreasonable. If you are a
good prospect for leasing, the landlord may be willing to make a slight concession just to
get the apartment rented. If the landlord says no, you have not lost anything.
Examine the terms of the lease carefully. Look for items that you may find hard to
live with. Are there restrictions on pets, types of furniture allowed (water beds, etc.) or
any other items? Can you have roommates? What are the payment terms? Is the penalty for late
payment severe? Does the landlord have the right to enter your apartment without your
permission? If the landlord's expenses rise (property taxes, maintenance, etc.), can your
rent be raised? Even though the lease document may be a couple of pages long, you should
read it carefully.
List all your roommates and have them sign the lease. While some landlords will
not accept multiple names on the lease, it makes sense to ask. If all your roommates sign
the lease, all share any liabilities. It will also protect you if one roommate moves out
before the end of the lease.
Review how the security deposit works. Try to get as low a security deposit as
possible and get a receipt for it. There may be laws in your state about how large a
security deposit can be demanded. Landlords protect themselves against damages with the
security deposit. Be sure to make a thorough inspection of the apartment before you move in
to find any existing damaged items. When you move out, the costs of repairing any damages
will be deducted from your deposit. If you are leaving the apartment in great shape when
moving out, try to get the landlord to inspect it with you before you leave.
Talk to your landlord well before your lease ends. If you plan to renew your
lease, be sure to let the landlord know. You may even be able to get some discount if you
work with the landlord. Even if you plan to stay, check out the market. If there are a lot
of apartments available, your negotiation stance can be stronger. Be a good renter.
Being a landlord is a business just like any other. Renters and customers that are
pleasant to work with usually get better service. A good relationship with your landlord can
be important if things go wrong. Remember, your landlord is whom you are going to call if
there is a leak in your roof at 3 AM or there is no hot water. A good relationship may get
the problem resolved easier and sooner.