PDF Renters Guide to Home Rental - Doing Your Homework Before You Rent Or Lease A New Home.

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The way you conduct yourself during a property visit, in emails and in phone conversations is a reflection of you as a potential tenant. Just as the landlord needs to trust you with their rental property, you also want to know that you can trust them to address your most important concerns and maintain a safe and comfortable home environment for you.

Before signing a lease, make sure you really put it to the test. The goal of the inspection is to identify all potential issues before signing the lease so that you can address these with the landlord.

10 Must-Dos When Renting a Home

Best case scenario, you point out a few issues and the landlord is amenable to addressing your concerns and you are able to get modifications and improvements written into your lease agreement. Worst case scenario, you discover that the landlord will not or cannot resolve your primary concerns, giving you the option to walk away from an apartment that may not be a great fit for you.


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Once the landlord has given you the option to rent the apartment, make sure to document any pre-existing damage before signing a lease. If there is anything that the landlord did not agree to fix from your initial visit inspection such as stained carpeting, broken blinds or missing tiles in the shower, make sure this damage is documented in your lease as pre-existing.

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By documenting such damage, you are protecting yourself from potential charges to your security deposit for which you are not responsible. Some rental properties include utilities like, cable and parking within the monthly rental cost, while other properties do not. This can impact your monthly budget and make an otherwise affordable apartment, not so affordable.

Some properties might offer public transportation, on-site health club memberships, or discounts to local gyms, all of which could save you money depending on your overall budget.

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Before signing a lease, ask your landlord exactly what is included in the monthly rent rate, and what fees are extra or add-ons, so that you are clear about how this new apartment will impact your monthly budget and lifestyle. Painting the walls, hammering big nails in the walls, or installing your own lighting without permission could result in lease termination or loss of your security deposit. If apartment customization is important to you, be sure to discuss it with your potential landlord before signing a lease.


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Not only that, but your landlord could report you to the credit bureaus. Once that negative information hits your report, it can stay there for up to seven years and your credit score will spiral downward in the meantime.

Key terms you can expect to see in a lease or rental agreement.

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