So you think you’re ready to take the plunge and rent your first apartment? Congratulations! Renting an apartment is a big step and can be a great experience.
But before you leap on that Craigslist ad or sign a lease, you should know a few things about renting an apartment.
From getting mietkautionsversicherung rental deposit insurance to understanding how a lease works, here are nine things everyone should know before renting an apartment:
1. Know the difference between a lease and a rental agreement.
Regrettably, many renters don’t know the difference between a lease and a rental agreement. A lease is a legally binding contract for a set period, usually one year. This means that you’re stuck paying rent for that entire year, even if you want to move out early.
A rental agreement, on the other hand, is more flexible. It’s a month-to-month contract that either party can break with 30 days’ notice.
So if you’re not ready to commit to a year-long lease, be sure to sign a rental agreement instead.
2. You can’t get out of a lease early (without being penalized).
As we said, a lease is a legally binding contract. This means that if you signed a one-year lease, you’re on the hook for paying rent for that entire year – even if you want to move out early. Some exceptions to this rule are:
The apartment is uninhabitable:
If your apartment becomes uninhabitable – for example, if the roof starts leaking or there’s a gas leak – you may be able to get out of your lease early. Of course, you’ll need to provide evidence to your landlord to support your claim.
You’re a victim of domestic violence:
If you’re a victim of domestic violence, you may be able to get out of your lease early. Once again, you’ll need to provide evidence (such as a restraining order) to your landlord.
Your landlord breaks the law:
Sometimes, landlords do things that break the law – like entering your apartment without giving you notice or shutting off your utilities. If this happens, you may be able to get out of your lease early.
You’re in the military:
If you get deployed or have to move for military reasons, you may be able to get out of your lease early. Depending on your state, you may be able to end your lease with as little as 30 days’ notice.
3. There’s no such thing as a “standard” lease.
Leases can vary widely from one landlord to the next – and even from one apartment complex to the next. So don’t assume that the lease you’re about to sign is the same as the lease your friend signed last year.
Be sure to read over your lease carefully before you sign it. If there’s anything in the lease that you don’t understand, ask your landlord to explain it to you. And if there’s anything in the lease that you’re not comfortable with, don’t be afraid to negotiate. Some things that you may want to negotiate are:
The length of the lease:
If you’re not ready to commit to a year-long lease, see if your landlord is open to negotiating a shorter lease term.
The rent amount:
See if your landlord is willing to lower the rent price, especially if you’re planning on staying in the apartment for a long time.
The due date of rent:
If you get paid at the end of the month, see if your landlord is willing to change the due date of rent so that it’s not due on the first of the month.
4. You’ll probably have to pay a security deposit.
In most cases, landlords will require you to pay a security deposit before you move in. This deposit is usually equal to one month’s rent, and it’s used to cover things like damage to the apartment or missed rent payments.
In some states, landlords are required to place security deposits in a special escrow account. And in some cases, landlords may be required to give interest on security deposits. Here’s what you need to know about security deposits:
Talk about rental deposit insurance.
Instead of paying a security deposit upfront, which is usually the same amount as one month’s rent, you can choose to pay a small monthly fee for mietkaution rental deposit insurance.
This insurance will cover any damages that you may cause to the apartment, and it will usually cost you less than the security deposit itself. You can then use your extra money for other things like furniture or groceries.
5. You’re responsible for paying utilities.
In most cases, you’ll be responsible for paying for utilities like electricity, gas, water, and trash. This means that you may have to set up accounts with the local utility companies.
You may also be responsible for paying for things like cable TV and Internet service. So be sure to ask your landlord about all of the utilities that you’ll be responsible for paying before you move in. Consider adding up all of the estimated monthly costs of utilities so that you can budget accordingly.
6. You’re responsible for maintaining the apartment.
As a tenant, you’re responsible for keeping the apartment clean and in good condition. This means you’ll need to vacuum the floors, dust the furnitur,e and clean the bathroom regularly.
You’re also responsible for things like changing the light bulbs and unclogging the drains. And if there’s something wrong with the apartment that needs to be fixed, it’s up to you to notify the landlord so that they can take care of it.
7. You may be required to get renter’s insurance
While this isn’t always the case, some landlords may require you to get renter’s insurance before you move in. Renter’s insurance is a type of insurance that covers your personal belongings if they’re damaged or stolen.
It also provides liability coverage in case someone gets injured while they’re in your apartment. Renter’s insurance is relatively cheap, and it can give you peace of mind knowing that your belongings are covered.
8. You may need to get a parking permit.
Did you know that in some cities, you need a permit to park your car on the street? If you’re planning on parking your car on the street, check with your local city hall to see if you need a permit.
In some cases, you may also be required to pay for a parking space in a nearby parking garage. So if you’re planning on bringing your car with you when you move, be sure to factor in the cost of parking.
9. There may be restrictions on who can live with you (including pets)
In most cases, landlords only allow tenants to have one or two roommates. And in some cases, landlords may require that all roommates be related to each other.
So if you’re planning on moving in with a friend or two, check with your landlord first to see if it’s allowed.
Pets may be restricted.
Depending on the apartment complex, there may be restrictions on the types of pets that you can have. For example, some apartments only allow cats or small dogs.
Other apartments may not allow any pets at all. So if you’re planning on moving in with a pet, check with your landlord first to see if it’s allowed and if you have to pay any pet fees. Check out the best pets for small spaces for more on this topic.
Before you sign a lease and move into your new apartment, be sure to do your research. These are just a few things you should know before renting an apartment. By knowing what to expect, you can avoid surprises and make the transition into your new home as smooth as possible. Thanks for reading!