Renting your first apartment is exciting. You’re on your own and you can’t wait to decorate! Slow down for just a minute. Before you sign the lease and pack up your stuff, make sure you don’t make these mistakes as a renter.
ONLY GLANCING AT THE LEASE
A lease agreement is a legal document. What’s written in a lease can determine whether you’re evicted for something or not. It will tell you that what you pay for (above and beyond the rent), what your responsibilities are, and what your landlord is responsible for. Always read the lease completely before you sign it. If you don’t understand something, talk to someone who does and get an explanation first.
SIGNING A BAD (FOR YOU) LEASE
When it comes to leases, landlords want to make them as favorable to themselves as possible. Make sure the lease you sign and the place you rent will actually work for you after the excitement wears off. Some things that might be included in a lease agreement that won’t work for you in a few months include:
- No pets
- No roommates
- No guests for longer than a day or two
- You have to pay for all repairs / lawn care / etc
NOT TAKING PICTURES WHEN YOU MOVE IN
When you move out, you’ll be responsible for any damage in your rental. If you can’t show something was already damaged prior to your move in date, you’ll lose your security deposit. Shoot some video or take pictures of every single room, pointing out any noticeable damage, wear and tear, or problems. Keep it on your phone or in the cloud but make sure you have it if you need it.
FAILING TO REPORT PROBLEMS IMMEDIATELY
Assuming your lease agreement says the landlord is responsible for repairs (and it should), always call right away if something goes wrong or breaks. You have to replace light bulbs yourself but you need to call when a light switch doesn’t work. If a pipe bursts, the air conditioner doesn’t blow cold air, the refrigerator stops working, or anything happens, call your landlord right away. Not calling them means the damage will only get worse and you might lose your security deposit later because they didn’t know about a problem.
PAYING YOUR RENT LATE
Paying your rent a day or two late one time isn’t the end of the world. It happens to everyone. Consistently paying your rent late can get you into trouble. Your lease might not be renewed. You’ll pay extra fees on top of your rent. You won’t get a good rental reference when you want to move out. And if you stop paying your rent completely, you’ll definitely get evicted.
SKIPPING RENTERS INSURANCE
Your landlord has insurance on your rental, that’s true. But their insurance only covers the building. None of your stuff will be replaced after a fire or other damage unless you’ve got renters insurance. Without it, you’ll have to pay to replace everything you own – and still pay the rent and bills that month. Sounds impossible, right? If you think your belongings aren’t worth that much, add up what it would cost to replace your TV, computer, cell phone, and clothing – not to mention your furniture. It’s more than you thought, isn’t it? That’s why renters insurance is so important.
Renting your first place is exciting and sometimes a little scary. Being prepared will keep you safe. Making sure you have renters insurance will make sure you can get back to normal even after a big disaster.
Contact us at Charlotte Insurance. We can help you find an affordable renters insurance policy.