Six tips for first-time renters

By Rumi Samuel Published on September 10, 2023
Six tips for first-time renters

Finding one's first rental apartment can be a lengthy, scary and exhausting experience.

Looking for the perfect space can be a challenge, especially with the high cost of living and demand for living spaces. 

If you can, take your time when searching for an apartment - rushing for an apartment that isn't necessarily best for you can bring regrets in the long term. 

Here are six tips for first-time renters: 

  1. Aim for rental costs to be around 30 per cent of your monthly income

Granted, considering current rental prices, this may be impossible, but it’s important to consider other living costs such as utilities, food, transportation and any health-related costs.

Most landlords ask for the equivalent of two months’ rent, one payment as a safety deposit, and the first month’s rent, so ensure you have at least that amount.

Perhaps having a roommate might be more achievable, but consider a potential roommate to see if their values align with yours.

  1. Consider the variables

There are several elements to consider, such as proximity to public transportation and other amenities, noise, safety, parking, and whether pets are allowed.

Some places are rented unfurnished and might require kitchen appliances, and others, which might drive up your moving costs, so consider those elements as well.

Write a list of your concerns from the most to least important, and take your time when looking to ensure these places match your requirements.

  1. Ask about the lease agreement

It’s important to have a lease agreement so the landlord and tenant can understand what’s required.

When having a lease agreement, both parties can be clear on procedures related to the apartment, such as repairs, any monthly or annual assessments the landlord might need to make, upgrades or anything else.

If you make any arrangements with the landlord, ensure this is included in the lease agreement before signing. 

  1. Clarify utility costs

Some apartments are connected to one electricity meter and are split by the tenants when payment is due. Clarify the costs and possibly secure this in writing to ensure your utility costs aren’t more than what you can afford.

Of course, having one meter registered to your apartment is best, as you’ll know that any electricity usage being paid for is yours only.

Also, consider other utilities such as WiFi and determine whether this is shared or you’ll need your account.

  1. Have people you can depend on for references

Many landlords now ask for job letters and references as part of the rental process, so try to have a few people you can turn to who can write reference letters if needed.

Landlords also usually require a job or other letter describing the renter’s monthly income as proof they can meet the rental payments.

  1. Keep a record of the apartment’s condition

Landlords will want to ensure the apartment remains in good condition if you decide to move out; otherwise, they’ll keep your deposit.

For added security, it might be good to take photos and videos of the apartment before you move in to ensure that there’s a record of the apartment’s condition and that it looks the same when you leave it.

Also, take photos of any repairs or work done by the landlord on the apartment to record what’s been done.

What are some other tips you might have for first-time renters? Did you have a bad renting experience?

Comment below.

Rumi Samuel

Rumi Samuel

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