With many freshmen soon moving away from home for the first time and returning classman having to move off-campus for the new school year, first time renters will soon be flooding the rental market.
As first-time tenants, what should freshman and other upperclassmen be prepared for when entering the rental market? I have outlined a few of the most critical factors that every renter, especially those first-timers, should consider before signing the lease.
Budget, budget and budget. Did I say budget?
One of the most important factors a new renter will need to consider is their budget and this included more than just the monthly rent payment. Most landlord will require a deposit to be paid on taking procession of the property and a smart renter will make sure to include this in their rental budget. This deposit can range anywhere from a hundred dollars to an entire month’s rent. This may be a one-time expense, however, as this can be a large sum it is important to properly budget for this amount.
A general rule of thumb when considering a rental budget is that the month’s rent should be no more than 30% of a person monthly income. However, in rental markets with low vacancies such as San Francisco or Vancouver, staying below 30% may prove too be difficult.
Also, there may be additional cost such as utilities and renter’s insurance that a tenant may need to cover as well. What utilities are included, which are not and what the average cost of the tenant covered utilities are important questions to clarify with the landlord before signing the lease and to include in the monthly budget. Also, if utilities are not included, the tenant should be prepared to reach out to utility companies to set up their own accounts.
What to bring and what to leave.
Unless a renter is one of the lucky few that finds a fully furnished apartment within their budget, most tenants will need to bring items into the property. If renting a partially furnished space, it is always wise to get a list of items included with the property prior to packing and moving, as this will eliminate any accidental doubles. The most basic essentials that a tenant will want are: a bed, a couch, a table, some chairs, towels, shower curtain, cookware and utensils.
Also, moving is an excellent opportunity to purge belonging. Many first-time renters think they will want everything from their old room in their new place, but in reality, most will feel like the majority of these items are now useless junk in their new fresh space. Plus, packing junk from place to place is just harder on ones back than necessary, especially if living in a 3 story walk up. Just saying.
Sharing Accommodations, Roommates or Fur-Babies.
Whenever a rental property is being shared with either a roommate or a four-legged friend, there are special consideration that should be taken into consideration.
All roommates should be included in the lease agreement, with each party signing for themselves. As leases are legal documents, if a roommate is not included in the lease they can decide to not pay the rent or move out without notice and they won’t have to face the consequences as they are not legal bound too and those on the lease would be left to cover. If ever a Roommate doesn’t want to be on the lease, it’s best to walk away and find someone else willing to accept the responsibility.
Now four-legged friend might be a touch more difficult to convince to sign the lease. However, if you are wanting to live with a furry friend, be prepared to pay for it. Not only are pet deposits commonly asked for when renting property to a pet owner, but landlords can even charge an additional pet free on top of the monthly rent.
Now these three are just the start of what new renters will need to know. For more on this topic, check out the links out below.