Renting an Apartment
Renting An Apartment
Moving out on your own is something that almost
everyone wants to do, but if you want to do it right
you have to plan ahead and make sure you have
Generally apartments in multi-unit complexes are more expensive than private rentals. This is because many complexes have amenities. Amenities are things that make your life a little nicer and easier like laundry facilities, off-street parking, gyms, pools, and dog parks.
Some landlords will do a background and/or credit check on you and you might have to pay for it. Others may ask for Personal References (similar to the personal references you give on a job application.)
You will be asked to sign a lease which is an agreement between you - the tenant - and the landlord. Read your lease carefully so you do not violate any terms of the agreement – if your lease says no pets or no smoking, you can be evicted if you break the lease or don't follow what you agreed to.
You need money to move out on your own: most landlords will ask for 2 times to 3 times the rent just to move in! This includes first month’s rent, a security deposit equal to one month’s rent, and possibly “last month’s rent”. If you do not do any damage to the apartment you will receive your security deposit back when you move out.
Walk through the apartment with your landlord before moving in and/or take photographs or a video to make sure you don’t get stuck paying for damage that previous tenants caused.
You will need money for startup fees for utilities. Some landlords do not charge their tenants for utilities such as water, trash or sewer, but most tenants will pay their own phone, cable, internet, and usually electric. Renter's insurance is a great investment.
Your apartment will need furniture and that will also cost money. Shopping at a thrift store is a good option for wood furniture - be very careful buying anything with fabric on account of bed bugs. You will need to keep your place clean and may need to buy a vacuum, mop, and other cleaning supplies. The Dollar Store is a great place to buy these things as well as kitchen tools and utensils. Check out these helpful lists:
You can save money by having a roommate which will cut some of your bills in half. Select roommates carefully – this apartment will be your home. Your best friend may be a great person and a lot of fun, but if they are irresponsible or bad with money, you won’t be friends for long. Here is a great article on How to Get Along with Your Roommate.
Not all apartments allow pets; some don't allow any, some only allow cats, some only allow certain sizes or breeds of dogs. Owning a pet in an apartment (especially a dog) is a challenge and can be a cost you may not be ready for. If your landlord allows pets, they often charge a monthly fee for each animal and it usually averages around $25 per pet per month.
Check out this PDF that
has a list of 30 questions
you should ask before
Tenant: You, the person renting the apartment.
Landlord: The person or company you are renting the apartment from.
Amenities: Extra services offered like a pool, weight room, parking, laundry facilities, security, or other services.
EIK: Stands for Eat In Kitchen – basically, you can fit a kitchen table in the kitchen. The alternative is a galley kitchen which is just a kitchen with appliances, no room for seating.
W/D: Washer and Dryer
W/W: Wall to wall carpeting.
Half Bath: A bathroom that has just a toilet and sink. A Full Bath has a shower/tub in addition to the toilet and sink.
Off Street Parking: Parking space is provided and you do not have to park on the street.
Section 8 Housing: This is a government program that provides money to private landlords to assist in low income housing. Landlords, although required to meet fair housing laws, are not required to participate in the Section 8 program. As a result, some landlords will not accept a Section 8 tenant. If you feel you may be eligible for Section 8 housing, you can find resources on the internet.
Other Apartment Rental Resources: