So you’ve found the right apartment, in the right Philadelphia neighborhood, at the right price and ready to rent a new home. Good for you! But the challenges of renting don’t end there. Here are a few more things to keep in mind:
#1. Get renter’s insurance
While it might not seem like you own enough stuff to justify insurance, items like clothes, books, electronics, furniture, and appliances do add up. Renters insurance is cheap: could be $10-20 a month, depending on coverage and location. Some landlords even require it.
#2. Know your landlord’s responsibilities
One of the benefits of renting is that the landlord or property manager is responsible for maintenance and certain utilities–but it will likely be up to you to see that they follow through. Be sure to review your lease agreement carefully to find out what your landlord is on the hook for, and what you’ll have to do yourself (e.g., replacing light bulbs).
#3. Know your rights
If you end up in a situation with a nightmare landlord, a difficult roommate, or a health and safety issue with a property, you’ll need to know what your options are. For instance, in almost all cases, a landlord must give 24 hours notice before entering your apartment, and can’t seize a tenant’s property for nonpayment of rent. Knowing these rights can save you a lot of hassle and help you avoid unlawful charges.
#4. Meet the neighbors
If possible, do this before you’ve signed a lease. Otherwise, you may discover that the guy in 5B likes to sing karaoke at 3AM while chain smoking cigars. You can also learn a lot about the building, the neighborhood, and the landlord that your agent might not volunteer. Plus, after you’ve moved in, knowing your neighbors can help you out of a jam. For instance, you could trade keys in case someone gets locked out.
Following these tips can save you a lot of headaches in both the short term and long term, and ensure that your rental experience is as pleasurable as possible.
About Agent Lady: Cherise Wynne is a leading real estate agent in Philadelphia, helping home buyers and sellers navigate the City of Brotherly Love, with a special focus on first time home buyers. To chat about getting started with your first time home buying experience, click here.