With the high price of rental properties in many areas these days, it is vital for those looking to rent a new home to do their research on both the property and the property management firm before they put down any kind of deposit, the rent for the first and last month, or sign a long-term contract.
In 2013 the Better Business Bureau (BBB) received over 7,500 complaints against landlords and apartment complexes, a rise of 17% over the year before. Many of the issue that were the subject of those complaints related to incorrect billing or difficulty in getting repairs performed in a timely fashion or having security deposits returned. Prospective tenants are generally subjected to a rigorous screening process before they are given approval to rent a new place; therefore, it is only appropriate for the tenant to likewise screen their prospective new landlord or property management firm with equal diligence.
There are a number of tips that can be very helpful for those looking to move to a new rental property. It is very important to do your homework, and one way to focus on your search is to have some idea of how much rent you are going to be able to afford to pay, the number of bedrooms you are going to need in your rental property, and the location you would prefer to relocate to. Check out BBB Business Reviews to investigate the reputations of the property managers and apartment complexes that you are considering. This site shows a firm’s overall track record and its history of complaints.
You should get everything in writing, including agreements about improvements that need to be made and when they will be performed. Before you sign the lease you need to make sure that you have read and fully comprehend your tenant responsibilities and the terms of the rental. You should never sign any contract that contains blank spaces, and make sure that you keep your own personal copy. You should never be afraid to ask relevant questions, such as when the rent will be due, who is responsible for the payment of utilities, whether pets are allowed, and where and how easy it is to get in touch with the landlord.
Before you move into a new rental home you should do a walk through and check out the condition of the new place, documenting any and all defects and flaws both in photographs and in writing. You also need to know who is responsible for the upkeep of the property and what your own responsibilities are when it comes to small repairs. It is also vitally important that you are aware of your rights as a tenant. You have a number of rights, including electricity, heat, water and surroundings that are clean and safe. Visit the website of the US Department of Housing to learn more about your rights as a tenant and watch out for bogus rental ads wanting money upfront for a rental property you have not yet seen.