5 Mistakes Renters Make
You’ve graduated college and you’re ready to move out on your own. Being at home with your parents was nice until they started wondering where you’re going, who you’re with, and when you’ll be back. It’s time to find a place of your own! Before you do, make sure you avoid these common mistakes that many renters, but especially first-timers, tend to make.
Not Paying Attention to the Lease
Your lease agreement is one of the most important documents that you’ll have to sign. It spells out the rules you have to follow, how you can lose your security deposit, and what the landlord will and won’t do. Leases are written with the landlord in mind, not you. Read it before you sign it, remember it, and keep a copy handy to reference when you need to. If you’re found in violation of the lease, it won’t matter that you didn’t know you weren’t allowed to sublet the place. You’ll be evicted anyway because you should have known.
Not Taking Care of the Rental
In most leases, repairs and maintenance are taken care of by the landlord but that doesn’t mean you don’t have responsibilities, too. Remember that lease agreement you should have read? It will tell you how to contact the landlord if something breaks, what you’re supposed to do about the lawn (if you have one), and that you need to keep the place clean. Letting the place become a dump will guarantee that you don’t see your security deposit back. Considering it was probably several hundred dollars, that’s a lot of money to lose because you didn’t vacuum or report a problem for an entire year.
Paying Rent Late
If you don’t pay any other bills on time, make sure you pay your rent on time. You can be forgiven for one late payment, but don’t make it a habit. Most landlords tack on late fees when the rent is overdue which makes it even more expensive. Keep paying your rent late, and your landlord might not renew your lease. They definitely won’t be a positive reference when you want to rent somewhere else. Late rent payments can lead to higher security deposits at your next place, too.
Not Giving Notice
When it’s time to move out, make sure you give written notice to your landlord. Even more important, make sure you follow the rules laid out in your lease. (We told you it was important to read.) Why does it matter? Without written notice, you probably won’t get your security deposit back. And your landlord won’t say nice things about you when you try to rent somewhere else later. Instead, they’ll say you didn’t give proper notice prior to moving out, which makes you look bad to the next landlord who might not approve your application. Follow the lease to the letter, and you’ll be fine - even when you leave.
Not Getting Renters Insurance
Renters insurance is as important as paying your utilities or your internet bill. If you think your landlord’s property insurance will cover your laptop, clothes, or your furniture, think again. Even when a fire or burst pipe is covered by their insurance, replacing all your personal possessions is your responsibility. Do you have enough money to buy all new clothes, all new furniture, a new smartphone, new gaming console, new television, new computer, and new shoes? Most people don’t. Renters insurance is inexpensive and will give you the money replace your stuff if it gets destroyed in your rental.
Be excited about renting your first place, but be smart about it, too. Don’t rush into the first rental you see, and don’t ignore the lease. And no matter what you do, make sure you get a renters insurance policy as soon as possible. Contact us here at Ross Insurance. We can give you a free quote and show you just how affordable renters insurance can be.