7 Things to Keep in Mind Before
Renting Your First House
If this is your first time renting a house and you don't know where to start, worry not! We created a list of the top seven things to keep in mind before renting your first house.
The whole process of renting a house for the first time can seem intimidating, but if you keep reading, you will quickly learn that the process doesn't have to be so intimidating after all.
1. Research the Area
If this is your first time renting a house, make sure you do some research on the area before you move in. Is it under a flight path? If so, can you hear airplanes all the time? Is it near a hospital where you're forced to listen to ambulance sirens at almost every hour of the day? Scout all the surroundings first before you sign.
You may think the idea of living close to a school is a win, especially if you have children, but you may change your mind when you realize you can hear the school bell from your home ringing every hour.
2. Thoroughly Inspect the Property
Now is the time to do an extensive inspection before you make any negotiations or sign any papers. A common mistake tenants make when it's their first time renting a house is not thoroughly inspecting the property before entering into the agreement.
If you don't take the time to do a thorough inspection before signing your rental agreement, you may have a hard time trying to resolve these problems later when you bring them up to your landlord.
Here are some things to look out for:
- Check for low water pressure or leaks underneath and around the taps
- Check the water pressure in the shower
- Damage on the carpets or floorboards
- Flush every toilet in the house
- Locks that don't work
- A mailbox in a safe and secure location
- Gaps where air can escape (this means higher utility bills)
- Cracks, chips, or stains on the walls or ceilings
- Mold and water damage
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
It is also essential to make sure the house or apartment you are looking at has enough storage space. If you need extra space, you can look into self storage units. Self storage units are an excellent solution, especially if you're a first-time apartment renter. Do some research to avoid making any self storage mistakes.
3. Be Prepared to Negotiate
If there is anything about the house or terms and conditions you're not happy with, now is the time to challenge them and work something out with your landlord. Keep in mind that it is crucial to do all of the negotiating before you sign the rental agreement.
Many repair obligations are legal requirements, but if you're lucky, your landlord might agree to additional repairs that are not under his or her legal obligation.
Here is a guide to the responsibilities of your landlord.
If the landlord of the property will not change the disputed term or condition, you may be better off looking elsewhere.
4. Conduct a Thorough Inventory
The inventory should include appliances such as the fridge and freezer, washing machine and dryer, dishwasher, microwave, etc. Anything that is included in the house should be included in the inventory.
When going through the inventory of the property, make sure you take note of any defects or signs of damage on the items. For example, take photos of stains on the carpet or scratches done to the stair railings.
It is crucial to take note of the state and condition of everything in the house as well as the condition of the property. You might lose some of your deposit when you move out if you didn't note these issues from the start.
Be sure to have photo documentation and ask your landlord to sign the inventory you prepared on your own or with an independent witness.
5. Have Everything Done Before You Move In
It's a good idea to have tasks you want the landlord to do before you move in completed before you sign anything. For example, painting the walls or steam-cleaning the carpets.
If the rental agreement is already signed, your landlord may not feel compelled to keep his or her promise and complete the tasks or repairs you asked for before you move in.
In short, if you want something done, ask your landlord, agree upon it, and make sure it's completed before you transfer any money.
6. Read the Meters
One of the first things you must do when moving into your new rental home is to read the meters. You should also update your suppliers to let them know of the current reading and date you moved in.
Not reading the meters as soon as you move in is a common first-time renter mistake that could risk you being liable for any usage prior to you moving in.
7. Ask for Everything in Writing
Did you know that there is no legal requirement for a written rental agreement or an inventory? If your landlord doesn't provide one, it is crucial you request them anyway.
The rental agreement should include these terms:
- Names of all tenants and occupants
- Description of rental property
- Term of the tenancy
- Rental price
- Security deposits and fees
- Repair and maintenance policies
- Landlord's right to enter the rental property
- Rules and important policies
- Contact information
- Required landlord disclosures
You can also make the inventory yourself and have your landlord sign it, but be sure to include photo documentation.
First Time Renting a House? We've Got You Covered
If this is your first time renting a house and you don't know where to start, we hope our list of the top seven things to keep in mind before renting your first house answered some of your questions.
The whole process of renting a house for the first time can seem intimidating at first, but with the help of our guide, we hope you learned that the process doesn't have to be so intimidating after all!
For more articles like this one, check out our Home and Garden category for more!