In the wake of getting into your new rental apartment, you probably think nothing could possibly go wrong. Sadly, many things can go wrong and your landlord may not be very forgiving. This is why it’s necessary to go through the lease agreement. This agreement contains rules, responsibilities and rights of tenants living in a particular house, condo or apartment. Mistakes can cost you money as a first time renter or lead to eviction. Due to lack of enough information or plain negligence, new renters often make mistakes. So, don’t get too excited over your new found freedom, be wary of the following mistakes when renting a house for the first time:
1. Paying rent late. Sure you’re not used to paying rents. But keep in mind that the due date is set in stone and you might be faced with the harsh realities of late fees or possibly eviction when you accumulate late rents..
2. Confusing security deposit with last month’s rent. The security deposit, which is usually charged with the first month’s rent when renting a house for the first time is a fee set aside to meet damages or cleaning that’s needed due to your use of the apartment. It is necessary to make sure every damage in your home is reported to your landlord beforehand and not wait until the end of the lease.
3. Loud stereo. Yes, you’re excited about moving into your new place. But loud stereo noises will cause your neighbors to complain to your landlord who would then have to list you as a problem tenant.
4. Parking anywhere. Being a tenant doesn’t give you the license to park anywhere in the parking lot. Make sure you know where you’re allowed to park and keep to it.
5. Opening security doors. New tenants often prop security doors open when moving in or hauling laundry in or out. It’s a big security risk for everyone in the house and hence, may be grounds for your eviction.
6. Settling with a verbal agreement. Don’t assume that your landlord’s word is binding. Although oral agreements are legally binding, they can’t be proved. Hence a written tenancy agreement should always be present when creating a tenancy.
7. Biting more than you can chew. Polished steel appliances and granite countertops are great when you can afford them. As a first time renter, you should stick with a unit that’s well within your affordability range. You shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your monthly income on rent. There’s a chance that you’ll find yourself with expenses you didn’t anticipate such as added-up utility bills.
8. Choosing the wrong roommate. One way to set yourself up for early trouble is bunking up with a roommate who isn’t on the same page with you on lifestyle. You might need to set rules and responsibilities. Check out Trulia’s tips for setting rules and responsibilities with your roommate.
9. Keeping too much stuff. If you’re working with a budget, you might be tempted to move down your brother’s hand me down sofa or retain your college furniture. Moving into a new apartment offers a chance for a fresh start. Even if you’ll be moving again in a few years, starter pieces from Target, Craigslist or higher end thrift stores may be a better option.
10. Not putting the utilities to your name. If utilities are not included in your rent (you should carefully read the lease agreement), your landlord will not pay your utility bills (your electricity may be shut off out of the blue). If you owe outstanding utility bills, your landlord will take any unpaid share from your security deposit.