It’s that time of the year in any college town across the country when students are scrambling to get last-minute things sorted out before they move out of the family domicile and into an apartment, hopefully near campus.
And those who haven’t yet found a place to live in the North Country for the semester, they’re behind the 8-ball because most decent college housing has been gobbled up by the early birds.
However, take heed. Whether you’re a college student looking for housing, or your job has moved you to a new locale or you just want to find another, more affordable place to live, there are some helpful hints in completing what sometimes can be a daunting task.
Most rental units require a lease. Before signing one, make sure you read through the terms carefully and understand your responsibilities as an apartment tenant. And, according to the Better Business Bureau, ensure the following information is included in the document:
Specifics on how all maintenance and repair concerns are handled and within what time frame. For example, some rentals include light-bulb replacement as the landlord’s responsibility.
Information about what your security deposit covers and the conditions for deduction.
The conditions under which your rent or other fees can be increased during your lease term.
Information about whether you’re allowed to sublet your unit.
When monthly payments are due and where your rent can be paid.
What insurance coverage, if any is included.
Also, upon moving into your apartment, don’t forget to document the condition of the apartment. Make sure to include each and every flaw or defect so that you’re not held responsible for those damages later. It’s also advisable to take photos of your apartment prior to move-in day so that you have proof available in case a dispute arises after you move out.
Further, know your rights as a renter. And consider renter’s insurance. When a tenant’s belongings are damaged or stolen, the apartment owner is very rarely held liable.
How many times have you read in this newspaper of a renter’s apartment or home going up in flames, losing everything except the shirt on his or her back? Renter’s insurance will cover your losses in the event of fire.
Of the hundreds of complaints the Better Business Bureau received last year, most allege consumers were billed incorrectly, had difficulty getting their security deposits returned or getting repairs handled in a timely manner.
Know your rights. And be a smart tenant.