6 Problems you can Face as a Tenant

At quite a few points in life, you’ll find yourself in situations where renting an apartment is the vastly more efficient choice for housing than owning your own house. It might be that owning your own house is just a little bit more than your income can afford. It might even be a case where you’re switching jobs, moving to a new area, and just haven’t had time to land a decent house that suits your needs. In either case it’s a good idea to go into renting well informed, and if you’re new to renting an apartment, here are 6 problems you can face as a tenant.

1. Finding a Good Location isn’t Easy

Even when you’re just renting an apartment, finding an ideal location won’t come easy. In some cases, finding even a decent location isn’t easy either. In many cases, apartments can be built in areas that are out of the way from local amenities, which doesn’t always lend itself to one’s convenience. Other areas are sometimes in bad neighborhoods with high crime rates. Planning ahead will help you avoid finding yourself in a crunch for time when hunting for an apartment.

2. The Rent is too High

In the modern market, the sad truth about apartments is that renting one isn’t always that cheap. With demand for real estate and housing continually on the rise in North America, apartment prices have also gone up as more and more renters capitalize on the opportunity. When hunting for an apartment, make sure it suits your needs but doesn’t feature any more than that. Save even more money by considering an older building, or making sacrifices on the location, as location can have one of the biggest effects on pricing.

3. Incomplete Security Deposit Refunds

It’s a common place practice to pay a security deposit to a landlord, sometimes in rather high sums. However, a huge problem many renters face upon leaving a property is that their security deposit won’t be returned in full. Landlords will use tricks in the lease and local laws to take security deposits for reasons like repairs, painting and other kinds of vague maintenance. There’s little guarantee you’ll have your security deposit returned to you upon leaving, so it’s best to keep this in mind when hunting for a place to rent.

4. Unfair Evictions

You’re a good tenant; you pay your bills on time, don’t cause trouble, and keep the property in good shape. Unfortunately as many have discovered, this sometimes won’t stop you from getting unfairly evicted. The process of an eviction sounds like something that should be very difficult to do, but some shady landlords have found loopholes in the law to get tenants out faster, with less reason or warning. They can simply claim that the property is needed immediately for family or acquaintances, and leave you out on the street. Check out the landlords on sites like Yelp before committing to a lease and see if they have a bad reputation for actions such as this.

5. Landlords Ignoring Repairs

Another unpleasant surprise is when you finally find the right place to live, only there’s a pesky leak in the roof and the landlord has no interest in doing anything about it. Always go through the proper process laid out in the terms of the lease to inform the landlord of the needed repairs and get a specific time frame for them to be done in written form. In many cases you can go to the housing department to force the landlord to conduct the repairs if need be, so make sure you keep track of any necessary paper work regarding this.

6. Nosey Landlords

From time to time you’ll get a landlord like this, so be prepared. For any reason, landlords have the ability to drop by and check on their property to make sure it’s being respected and kept in proper shape. Some will be more relaxed about this, but others will drop by on a frequent basis. Either case case can be distressing to renters concerned with their privacy, but there’s nothing that can be done about it.

Look out and get prepared for these six signs; looking for a place to rent won’t be half as scary for you as it is for others. The bottom line is that you have to be smart, and well informed when committing to rent a property, just as you would with any other major financial or life decision.

Should You Rent an Apartment or a House?

Should you rent an apartment or a house?  That’s a pretty common question and there are definite advantages to both.  Which you choose will depend on your needs for space and privacy.  Let’s look at the advantages of both and see which option works best for you.

Renting an Apartment

Let’s start with the advantages of renting an apartment.  It can be far cheaper than renting a house especially if you don’t need much space.  On top of that apartments can be rented with the utilities included whereas a house rarely is.  Apartment complexes may also have some recreational equipment such as gym facilities or a swimming pool.

There are disadvantages to living in an apartment as well.  Let’s start with the biggest one…your neighbors.  You could live in an apartment for years and have wonderful neighbors or you could live next door to students who want to party six days a week and the noise travels.  It can be hit or miss.  Neighbors can also mean you lack privacy, everyone can see who comes and goes into your apartment.

Renting a House

There are perks to renting a house chiefly that there is far more space and your neighbors aren’t living on top of you.  Houses typically come with some yard space that you can take advantage of, this is great particularly if you have children.  You won’t be bumping into neighbors in the hallway and you can do laundry whenever you choose to.

Now for the drawbacks to renting a house over an apartment, the biggest on is the cost.  The cost of rent on a house is probably the same or more than a mortgage payment.  It may make better financial sense to buy rather than continuing to rent.  Houses come with yard maintenance such as shoveling the driveway in the winter and mowing the grass in the summer.  It is more likely this responsibility will fall on you not the landlord.  The landlord may provide mowers and shovels but expect you to do the work.  You are also going to have to pay for utilities yourself and that can add up fairly quickly.

What to Choose

Do you start looking for a house or an apartment for your next rental?  That really depends on what you need and the budget.  If you want to rent long term you may be better off in an apartment.  Ultimately you will have to decide which works for your situation.

Renting Your First Apartment

Moving into your first apartment is a big deal, it’s a step into adulthood and you will create some incredible memories.  If you are renting your first apartment you may not know what it important aside from how much the rent is.  There is a lot of factors that go into making an apartment a great place to live.  Let’s look at what factors should go into choosing your first apartment.

The Neighborhood

Aside from cost, the location is most important factor that you need to consider. Ideally you want a safe and friendly neighborhood that is also affordable.  You want neighbors that respect your privacy while at the same time being friendly.  You want amenities close by like grocery stores, pharmacies and public transportation if you need it.  A great apartment is no good if it is in a neighborhood that terrifies you.

Monthly Rent

Rent is typically paid on a monthly basis due on the first.  Make sure that you have a lease or rental agreement outlining the amount of rent, the length of the lease along with what’s included.  Some apartments will include heat, water and/or electricity.  Find out what utilities that you have to pay yourself and roughly what they cost each month.  Utilities can add up fairly quickly eating away at your budget.

Check for Damages

You should have a walk-through with your landlord before taking possession of the apartment.  Spot and point out any damages in the apartment like holes in the walls or broken tiles.  Outlining them ahead of time saves you from being blamed for them when you are ready to move out.  Also by pointing out any damages before you move in gives the landlord time to get anything fixed before you bring in your stuff.  When it comes to painting or hanging pictures on the walls, check with the landlord before you take on the project.  They may not appreciate you painting the living room forest green or any color outside of what they approve.  You could end up paying hundreds in damages for them to restore the apartment to the original colors.

Regular Maintenance

The last thing you want to check is whether or not the apartment building itself is well maintained.  Is there litter in the hallways or is the property around the building a mess.  Well maintained properties are a pretty good indicator of a dedicated landlord that wants to keep their property in good shape.  That’s good for you as a tenant because if anything goes wrong they are likely to deal with it right away.

Renting your first apartment is a time to be excited… you have your own place that you can decorate as you wish or do what you like.  Enjoy it!