Renting out a property is a big commitment. After all, this isn’t like running down to the corner market to buy a jar of vegemite; once you sign your name to the lease agreement, you’re legally locked into whatever terms and conditions might be outlined within that wordy document.
As such, the last thing that you want to do is rush blindly into a rental-situation. But don’t worry; we’re here to help you.
What follows is our list of five things you should know before you sign any contracts.
Renting Truth #1 – Inspections Are A Must
You wouldn’t want to purchase a used car without giving it a test drive, so why should an apartment be any different?
A thorough inspection of the property is an absolute must, and will give you a chance to make note of any advantages and disadvantages that it may offer, without having to weed through the biases of the official advertisements.
If you can afford it, consider hiring a professional inspector to check out the plumbing, electrical systems, ventilation, etc.
If you can afford it, consider hiring a professional inspector to check out the plumbing, electrical systems, ventilation, etc. Otherwise, self-inspecting the property is certainly an option.
To do this, move slowly from room to room, focusing on and testing every electrical outlet, plumbing fixture, door and window lock, etc. Look for cracks/holes in the ceiling and walls, and make note of any evidence of leaks.
If you can document the existence of these problems before you move in, then you won’t have to worry about getting blamed for the damage and having to pay to have it repaired.
Renting Truth #2 – You Can Be Held Accountable For Not Understanding The Contract
Most renters are aware that they have certain rights protected by law. What they may not be as ready to accept is that the property owner has rights as well.
Once a contract is signed, the renter is legally obligated to adhere to the agreement. Failure to do so could result in fines, eviction, or even more stringent punishments. As such, it’s in your best interest to read through the contract carefully.
It’s always a better idea to avoid a bad contract than it is to try to get out of one that you’ve already signed.
Instead of allowing the landlord to rush you through with cursory explanations, pausing only to tell you where to sign, ask if it would be possible to review a copy of the contract for a day or so before you come to any final decisions.
Remember: It’s always a better idea to avoid a bad contract than it is to try to get out of one that you’ve already signed.
Renting Truth #3 – Insurance Is A Must (Even If It Isn’t Required)
In all likelihood, the rental property itself is insured by the owner.
However, that insurance policy is probably only going to cover the apartment itself; any of your own personal possessions, should they get damaged or stolen, won’t be covered by that policy. Likewise, if negligence on your part results in damage to the property, you may be held financially responsible. A bit of added protection in the form of renters insurance and content insurance should always be a priority. It can save you a lot of trouble should problems arise.
Renting Truth #4 – There Are Resources Available To Help You
For new renters, the entire process—with all of its hidden dangers and potential to impact your future—can feel overwhelming.
Well, don’t give up hope, because the help that you need can be found online.
By visiting sites such as Australia.gov 1, you can find information regarding local state/territory laws, government assistance programs, and even helpful tips on how to get the most out of your rental experience.
Renting Truth #5. Attitude Matters
OK, so you’ve done all of the legwork, and you think you’re finally well-informed enough to make the commitment to rent.
Your attitude when dealing with others will play a large part in how pleasant your overall rental experience ends up being.
Well, wait a moment, because there’s still one thing that you need to understand. Whenever you rent, you become part of a community.
Often, this means that you’ll be living in close proximity to other renters (such as is the case in an apartment block), but even if you’re the only renter in the building, you’ll still have to interact with the landlord. The point is that your attitude when dealing with others will play a large part in how pleasant your overall rental experience ends up being.
Forging a good relationship with property management could lead to more leeway in issues regarding the contract, and a landlord who is more willing to provide you with a positive tenancy reference letter for future rental situations.
Likewise, being friendly with neighbours can lead to a stronger community, and reduce the likelihood of tenant disputes.