Is this your first time renting a house or apartment? It’s easy for newbies to get taken advantage of, or at least feel like they have been. If you’ve never rented before, it’s easy to let some details like fully understanding the lease fall by the wayside. Keep reading to find out what all first-time renters need to know before moving in.
Learn the Lingo
A great way to be a savvy renter is to know the language. You don’t want to get wrapped into something without knowing what your landlord or contract is referring to. These are the most common terms first-time renters should be familiar with.
- Landlord: The owner of your rental. This is the person you pay your monthly rent to and report any problems.
- Tenant: The person renting from a landlord. If you are renting an apartment or house, you are a tenant.
- Lease: This is the legal contract you sign with the landlord outlining the terms and conditions of the rental, including the amount of rent you pay, when and for how long, and any rules associated with the property.
- Security deposit: A fee you pay before moving in to secure the rental. It’s typically equal to a month’s rent, but it can vary. When you move out, you receive this amount back, minus the costs of any damages you caused while living there.
- Utilities: Your basic apartment bills. This typically includes gas, electricity, water and sewerage, and trash pickup. Sometimes this includes utilities, but sometimes not. This varies by property.
Tips for First-Time Renters
Once you understand the commonly used rental vocabulary, you’re ready to go. Here are the most important things for you to know about renting for the first time.
1. Don’t under-budget.
Renting can be expensive, and you need to plan your budget around more than just your monthly rent. In addition to rent, you also need to anticipate utilities and other bills like cable and internet. You need to budget for the security deposit, an application fee, and a pet deposit if you have one. Don’t forget about moving expenses, either.
2. Pay rent and bills on time.
This affects your credit score. And, if you’re a first-time renter, you may not have pre-established credit. Be responsible, and set monthly calendar reminders to send your checks.
3. Read the lease.
We can’t stress this enough! Don’t sign it without reading. If there’s anything you’re unclear on, ask the landlord. Leases aren’t fun to read — they’re full of legal jargon. Take the time to really understand the agreement.
4. Consider getting renters insurance.
This protects your belongings inside the rental from events like burglaries. These policies typically are not costly. Click here for more information.
5. Set up your utilities.
This is something many first-time renters forget to do. If your rental doesn't include utilities, don’t expect to move in with lights and internet. You’ll need to call the companies ahead of time to create your account and turn on the utilities.
If this is your first apartment, read this checklist to make sure you buy all of the essentials you’ll need.
Need Help Moving?
Hiring professional movers is a huge stress-relief for first-time renters. Movers can help you pack, safely transport your household goods, and set up your new place. Ameritex is an affordable and friendly Houston moving company ready to handle your move. Fill out the form above for a free moving quote.