5 Common Mistakes Every Renter MUST Avoid

Renting a house or an apartment can be a great option for people in many situations throughout life. It is typically a more affordable option, and comes with far fewer responsibilities than buying a house. Whether you’re planning to rent for just a few months, or you want to stay in one place for years, make sure you don’t make the following common renter mistakes.

Skimming Over the Lease Agreement

When signing the lease, many people just skim over what it says (if they read it at all) and then sign. This can be a huge mistake that can cause financial problems that can last for years. No matter what verbal agreements you have with the owner of the property, it is what is in the written agreement that truly matters. This is why you should take the time to read through it completely, and it is never a bad idea to have an attorney review it before signing.

Failing to Photograph and Document when Moving In

When moving into any rental property, the very first thing you should do is go through and take digital pictures of every room. If there is any type of existing damage, make sure to take a closer picture and document the damage. These pictures can serve as proof of the condition in case the landlord attempts to blame you for problems down the road that already existed in the residence before you moved in.

Skipping on Renter’s Insurance

Renters insurance is inexpensive, and provides you with a great amount of coverage. While the home or apartment complex might be insured by the landlord, none of your belongings will be covered at all without renter’s insurance. This means if your belongings are stolen, burned in a fire, damaged in a flood, or anything else, you won’t get a dime.

Renting Sight Unseen

Some rental communities have a ‘show unit’ that the landlord will use to attract potential renters. These units are typically laid out identically to the actual units that you will be renting, so the landlord may try to get you to sign a lease without actually seeing your specific unit. This is a huge mistake. If something in the apartment you are getting is damaged, for example, you can’t require them to fix it since you signed the lease ‘as is.’ Always do a full walkthrough of the actual unit you will be renting before you sign anything.

Failing to Document Interactions with the Landlord

Once you’ve moved into your apartment, there may be times when you need to discuss something with the landlord. It could be reporting damage, complaining about something, or even just paying your rent. Any time you have any interaction with the landlord, you should write it down with as much detail as you can. While it may never be needed, should you have to go to court, it could be extremely valuable.

Whether you’re already living in a rental unit, or you’re thinking about renting in the near future, make sure you take the time to do everything right. If you’re ever unsure about anything, or if you are faced with some sort of dispute with your landlord, contact the attorneys at the Law Office of Ray Garcia to discuss your concerns and learn how we can help.