Did you know that there are some significant ways that you can protect yourself financially as a apartment, condo, or home renter? With some simple steps, you can guard against significant financial loses due to renting. Check out these 5 Smart Things To Do When You Are a Renter.
**Please note that I am not an attorney or registered financial adviser. The following is simply advice based my own and friends’ experiences.
1. Purchase Renter’s Insurance-In most cases your landlord’s insurance coverage does not include coverage for your belongings in the rental? If a fire or other event damages or destroys your stuff, without renter’s insurance , you are up a creek without a paddle. Not only will you probably be displaced from your home, but also left with substantial financial losses.
Having renter’s insurance helps mitigate those losses. And you can get special insurance riders for more expensive or unique items to provide coverage.
Another thing that renter’s insurance does in many cases is provide liability coverage should someone become injured on your property and sue. In our litigious society, this can be a great benefit.
2. Always Have a Written Rental Agreement Signed By All Parties and Notarized If Possible-True confession. I love watching “The People’s Court”. Many of the cases brought before the court involve disputes that have arisen because of the lack of a written contract. When you do not have an agreement in writing and signed by all involved, the dispute becomes a your word against mine situation. And each side always seem to disagree with the other about what were the terms in the first place.
With a written rental agreement in place, you and the world (if need be) can easily see proof of length and amount of lease, required security deposit, and lessee and the lessor responsibility. When something breaks you know whether you or the landlord is responsible for fixing it.
3. Make Sure That You Inspect The Property Carefully Before You Move In-If there is a hole in the wall or other issues, have the landlord repair before occupancy. You want the landlord to know that the damage was done by the prior tenant.
In my experience, before you move in is when you have the most leverage to get significant cleaning or property repairs made. Do not accept a trashed place, because once you are moved in it is a whole different ball game.
Take “date-stamped” pictures of any damage that still remains after cleaning or repair. For example, small stains on the carpet, a missing piece of molding, or a chip in the flooring. That way you have clear visual proof of the state of the property before your occupancy.
4. Check Your Lease Agreement and With Your Landlord Before Doing Any Painting or Physical Changes to Your Rental-In other words, don’t go hog wild at the paint store and start slapping that purple paint on the walls of your rental. Think of the expense of having to repaint. Also, don’t undertake any other renovation projects without the landlords express written permission.
5. Leave Your Rental Clean and In Good Order When You Leave-Give your place a good scrub before you go. Pick up and discard all of the trash and do not leave any furniture or personal belongings. Take “date-stamped” pictures of property so its state upon your departure is clear. This may help in getting your security deposit back.
Follow the tips above and you can save yourself thousands of dollars and tons of headaches when renting. Simply making the extra effort that many renters don’t, can be among the smartest financial moves that you make.
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