Renting a space to live in is a popular option for many people who don’t wish to deal with some of the hassles of owning or maintaining a home. Although the dwelling belongs to your landlord, you are a tenant with certain rights and privileges that come with your monthly payments. It is important to know some of these rights and what you can do to make sure you are protected in the event of a problem or legal issue.
Know Tenant Law
Legal agreements between landlords and their tenants were crafted to keep both parties in balance with one another. The specific regulations can vary from one region to the next, and you should familiarize yourself with the laws in your area. Providing access on the date you agreed to, making sure you have privacy unless it is a true emergency, and keeping the property safe are just some of the important privileges you enjoy as a renter.
Get Personal Insurance
Your landlord will have a policy to cover any damages to the building, and there may be some general maintenance costs for your apartment that fold into this. However, many renters assume incorrectly that the landlord’s policy will cover them in the event of damage to their personal belongings. You should consider purchasing renters’ insurance to provide yourself and your stuff with some protections in case accidents happen. These policies carry some of the same benefits of standard insurance contracts that homeowners use. If your things are lost or damaged, the policy can help you replace them. The insurance can also help if someone is injured inside your apartment.
Part of being a smarter renter is knowing a deal that looks too good to be true when you see it. You may meet one or two landlords who try to take advantage of your situation by providing you a deal that isn’t fair on your side. No landlord should request any money from you before you sign an agreement or get to tour the property. A good landlord will also vet you thoroughly and require credit checks or references. Conversely, the owner should not be asking for unnecessary, invasive details about your life or background.
Inspect the Property Yourself
If you need a place to live quickly and browse listings online, you may be tempted to make an offer before you get to walk through the property on your own. While time may be a factor, taking a look at the place you’ll be living in is a proactive step to protect yourself. This step allows you to document what condition the apartment or house is in before you take up residence there.
Renting a room or an apartment can be the first step in a journey toward greater independence or new opportunities in life. It comes with certain restrictions and responsibilities as a tenant, but it also takes some of the things you’d have to deal with as an owner off of your plate. Whatever path you choose, remember to document every point along your timeline as a renter. A solid paper trail can help you clear up any confusion.