With housing prices still high, many people are deciding to rent property instead of purchasing it. Renting often comes with a set of advantages, like not having to worry about lawn care or snow removal. It also comes with risks. Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect yourself as a renter.
Read Your Lease
When you sign a lease, you are signing a contract. The first rule of signing a contract is to read it. All of it. Failing to do so will not prevent you from being required to hold up your end of it. Leases include a variety of terms and conditions and it’s important that you understand them before you sign. This forms the foundation of the landlord-tenant relationship. As long as both parties adhere to the contract, the relationship should be a positive one. If you don’t, you may find yourself being fined or possibly even evicted.
No one thinks emergency situations will happen to them. They’re always something that happens to someone else. However, at some point you may find that the “someone else” is you. To protect yourself and your property from disaster, you’ll need renter’s insurance. It’s a lot like homeowners insurance and can help you replace your belongings in the event of a disaster. Many landlords actually require their tenants to have their own renter’s insurance. Renter’s insurance varies in price by location, but it is generally very affordable. It’s far better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
Compete a Walkthrough Inspection
Landlords usually require renters to pay a deposit that may be paid back at the end of the lease, minus the cost of any cleaning or repairs that are needed. With the length of time leases are often good for, it can be hard to remember if you’re the one that necessitated cleaning or repairs, or if it was already an issue when you moved in. And proving to the landlord that you weren’t the cause of the damage or mess can be even more tricky. To protect yourself, complete a walkthrough inspection right away when you move in. If you can manage it, do it with the landlord before you move in so you can be sure you’re both on the same page. Be sure to document everything. This way you’re less likely to be faced with a situation where it becomes your word against the landlord’s.
Renting a place to live can come with risks, and often those risks can pack a serious financial punch. There are things you can do to protect yourself as a renter though. Doing a walkthrough inspection upon moving in, purchasing renter’s insurance, and carefully reading and understanding your lease will help you set yourself up right the first time around.
Read this next for more great tips: Why Getting Insurance Is More Important Than You Think
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