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First Time Renters: What to Know About Living in Rentals

Renting your very first apartment is a natural stepping stone of moving out of mom and dad’s house. The freedom of moving out on your own is very exciting, but it does come with a lot more responsibilities as well.

Being a first-time renter is a really big deal. You’re on your own and can do what you want when you want. It also means paying for services (like utilities) that you’re not used to paying.

Moving out and into your own rental property for the first time is exciting, but it can quickly become overwhelming. However, proper planning and knowledge of rental housing can help you avoid hiccups along the way. In today’s article, we’ll discuss the basics of renting for the first time, common tenant responsibilities, and mistakes for tenants to avoid. Read along to learn more about what it’s like to move into your first rental.

What to Know About Renting for the First Time

Renting a property is a significant commitment, so it’s crucial to take the time to plan and ensure you find a suitable rental that meets your needs. That said, finding a property can be a new and unfamiliar experience if you’re renting for the first time. Ultimately, knowing your obligations and responsibilities during your tenancy is important. Here are some key things to know when renting for the first time.

  1. Rental Costs

  2. Rights and Responsibilities

  3. Security Deposits

  4. Renter’s Insurance

  5. Maintenance and Repairs

Rental Costs

When you’re moving for the first time, it’s crucial to understand the total cost of renting beyond just the monthly rent. For instance, you’ll want to consider additional expenses like security deposits, application fees, utilities, renter’s insurance, and potential maintenance costs. As such, you’ll want to create a budget accounting for more than just the monthly rent amount.

Rights and Responsibilities

If you’re moving into your first rental home, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the rights and responsibilities outlined in local tenancy laws. For instance, learn what’s expected of you as a tenant and what you can expect from your landlord in terms of property maintenance, privacy, and resolving disputes.

Security Deposits

When you move into a rental, you’ll pay a security deposit and usually the first month’s rent altogether. That said, it’s important to understand the terms and conditions regarding the security deposit. For instance, know how much you have to pay, how it’ll be used, and what deductions may be made when you move out. Take photos or videos of the property’s condition at the beginning of your tenancy to support your claim for a full deposit refund.

Renter’s Insurance

Consider getting renter’s insurance to protect your personal belongings against theft, damage, or natural disasters. After all, landlord’s insurance typically doesn’t cover your personal belongings during your tenancy.

Maintenance and Repairs

It’s important to understand the process for requesting repairs or maintenance. Tenants must know their responsibilities for minor repairs and be aware of the landlord’s responsibilities for major repairs or structural issues. If something’s going wrong in your rental property, it’s crucial to immediately communicate with your landlord or property manager to fix major issues.

Mistakes to Avoid While Renting for the First Time

Renting for the first time can be a learning experience. Even with enough preparation, getting wrapped up in the excitement of moving into your first rental is easy. Unfortunately, mistakes can happen. So, here are some common mistakes to avoid to ensure a smooth renting process.

Not Understanding the Lease

One of the biggest mistakes renters can make is signing a lease agreement without fully understanding the terms and conditions. Therefore, it’s crucial to read the lease thoroughly, ask questions, and seek clarification on any unclear or confusing points before signing it.

Skipping a Property Tour or Inspection

Before signing a lease for a rental property, it’s crucial to tour it. For instance, some landlords want to find tenants quickly and may pressure first-time renters to move in fast.

But it’s important not to fall victim to these tactics, and you should never move into an unseen rental site.

Additionally, failing to thoroughly inspect the rental property before moving in can lead to issues later on. So, take the time to inspect the premises, document any existing damages, and let your landlord or property manager know the extent.

Ignoring Your Responsibilities

A lack of knowledge about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant can put you at a significant disadvantage. As such, educating yourself on local tenancy laws and understanding your rights regarding repairs, privacy, lease termination, and more is crucial.

Additionally, ensure you fulfill your responsibilities as a tenant to maintain a positive renting experience. Failing to adhere to the terms and conditions specified in your lease agreement can lead to consequences like eviction or loss of your security deposit. So, familiarize yourself with the rules regarding pets, guests, noise, and other important provisions.

Failing to Report Maintenance Issues

Some tenants hesitate to report maintenance issues immediately or assume they can handle minor repairs independently. However, delaying repairs can lead to further damage and potential disputes with your landlord. As such, it’s important to promptly notify your landlord or property manager when repairs are necessary.

Overlooking Move-Out Requirements

When it comes time to move out of your first rental home, it’s important to understand the proper move-out procedures. Failing to follow your requirements for moving out can result in disputes and potential financial losses. As such, you’ll want to give the required notice as per your lease agreement, clean the unit thoroughly, and address damages beyond normal wear and tear.

Learn to Communicate With Property Managers

When renting for the first time, you may not understand the importance of communication between you and your property manager. However, communication is key throughout the entire rental process. For instance, you’ll want to promptly report issues, keep them informed of changes in your circumstances, and maintain a respectful and professional relationship.

If you want an excellent renting experience with professional property managers, look at Overland Management's current listings. Or, if you’re a landlord looking to simplify your day-to-day tasks, contact us to manage your properties. We understand that managing a rental property can be a time-consuming and complex task. That's why we offer a range of services designed to make your life as a property owner as stress-free as possible.

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