When you’re renting your first apartment, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. However, it’s important to educate yourself about the basics so that you are well prepared for living on your own. Let’s examine a few things you should spend some time learning about:
Know What is Included in Your Lease
Take the time to read your lease completely so that you thoroughly understand it. If it has an odd clause buried on page thirteen, you’ll want to be aware of it well before you sign, so that you can ask the potential landlord just what’s going on. Before you sign the lease, sit down and spend some time reading through it in its entirety. Then, after you and your landlord have signed it and dated it, make a photocopy for yourself. You may also want to back a digital copy up to the cloud so that you can pull it up on an electronic device if it ever becomes necessary.
Know if the Lease Can Be Broken
No one ever signs a lease intending to break it, but occasionally it does become necessary to do so. Whether you’ve become trapped living with the roommates from hell or need to move across the country to make your next career move, it’s important to know precisely what it will take to break your lease. Are you locked in for the duration of the lease, can you pay a small fee, break it, and move on, or will you need to pay for the entirety of the lease in order to be free of it? If there’s any chance that you may need to break the lease, you may want to negotiate these arrangements from the beginning of the contract.
Choose Responsible Roommates
If you won’t be living alone or in a single family unit, but will be renting with roommates, things become exponentially more complicated. As you add on to your household, you increase the number of personalities that you’re dealing with, as well as preferences for how living spaces are managed. If you must share a rental with roommates, be sure that you select responsible ones that can be trusted to uphold their share of the bargain. Choose roommates who will keep the property maintained and who will pay rent on time, as well as who will take care of their share of groceries and utilities.
Be Aware of Your Rights
Each state has specific legal rights spelled out for tenants that landlords are required to follow. Before you sign a lease, take the time to educate yourself about the specific tenant laws in your state, so that you know what landlords can and cannot do. This will help keep you from signing a lease that is legally unenforceable or from trying to keep a landlord happy when what they are asking for is technically illegal.
After you’ve learned about these items, you’ll be better prepared to rent an apartment on your own. Then you can begin working on the details, like choosing a shower curtain and moving in the bookshelves.