Tips for New Tenants
Bring your paperwork.
The best way to win over a prospective landlord is to be prepared. To get a competitive edge over other applicants, bring the following when you meet the landlord: a completed rental application; written references from landlords, employers, and colleagues; and a current copy of your credit report.
You can order your credit report by mail, phone, or online atwww.annualcreditreport.com or directly from the websites of the three major national credit bureaus:
Review the lease.
Carefully review all of the conditions of the tenancy before you sign on the dotted line. Your lease or rental agreement may contain a provision that you find unacceptable — for example, restrictions on guests, pets, design alterations, or running a home business.
Get everything in writing.
To avoid disputes or misunderstandings with your landlord, get everything in writing. Keep copies of any correspondence and follow up an oral agreement with a letter, setting out your understandings. For example, if you ask your landlord to make repairs, put your request in writing and keep a copy for yourself. If the landlord agrees orally, send a letter confirming this.
Talk to your landlord.
Keep communication open with your landlord. If you are having any issues with paying rent, it’s best to contact management as soon as possible. Many times these issues can be resolved.
Purchase renters’ insurance.
Renter’s insurance may be mandatory. Speak with the management company if you need a reference to an insurance company. Renter’s insurance policy will not cover your losses due to theft or damage. Renters’ insurance also covers you if you’re sued by someone who claims to have been injured in your rental due to your carelessness.
Protect your security deposit.
To protect yourself and avoid any misunderstandings, make sure your lease or rental agreement is clear on the use and refund of security deposits, including allowable deductions. When you move in, do a walk-through with the landlord to record existing damage to the premises on a move-in statement or checklist.