As any experienced renter can attest, not all rental home experiences are equally gratifying. While certain rental arrangements may entail very little stress or annoyance, others can be absolute nightmares. So, if you’ve recently found yourself in the market for a home to rent, it’s in your best interest to take active measures against the latter. For the sake of creating minimal stress for yourself and finding apartments for rent that’s perfectly suited to your needs, steer clear of the following missteps.
Not Reading Up on the Landlord
While many renters enjoy perfectly friendly relationships with their respective landlords, it can’t be denied that there are a lot of bad property owners out there. As a renter, the last thing you want is to be stuck in a lease agreement with a landlord who habitually ignores maintenance, handwaves your concerns or is generally unpleasant. One way to avoid such an uncomfortable situation is reading up on property owners in advance of signing a lease. Needless to say, if you discover that a certain landlord has a less-than-stellar reputation, you may want to start looking for other prospective rentals. So, anyone in the Lone Star State seeking out single family homes for rent in Houston, TX would be wise to take this important precaution.
Not Getting Things in Writing
Whenever you make a request of your landlord, it’s a good idea to get it in writing. For example, if you’re having issues with your plumbing, heating or any other utilities, make sure that any requests to have the problem(s) repaired are made via text, email or traditional letter. This way, if the landlord opts to ignore an issue you’re having, you’ll have proof that said issue was brought to their attention. Furthermore, if your landlord provides you oral confirmation that a problem will be fixed, request that they put this information in writing.
With any luck, you’ll never have any real need for these documents. However, even landlords with decent reputations have been known to make the occasional blunder, so regardless of how trustworthy the property owner seems, you shouldn’t neglect to put things – and get things – in writing.
Neglecting to Do a Walkthrough
Neglecting to do a walkthrough of the property with your landlord before moving in can result in you being charged for damage you had no part in causing. No matter how good a rental home looks online, you should never move in without doing a thorough walkthrough with the property owner. When inspecting the property, take care to photograph any damage you stumble upon, as this will provide you with valuable evidence.
When you move out, any damage your landlord comes across is liable to be taken out of your security deposit. By documenting pre-existing damage in advance of moving in, you can ensure that you’re not held responsible for problems that predate your tenancy.
Willfully Defying the Terms of Your Lease
Willfully defying the terms of your lease can result in massive fines, eviction or even legal action. For example, if you keep pets in defiance of a “no pets” policy, don’t be surprised if your landlord hits the roof. Similarly, making changes to the property that your lease prohibits – i.e., repainting, drilling holes in walls, etc. – also stands to land you in hot water.
For these reasons, it’s important that you fully understand the terms of your lease and abstain from signing a lease whose terms you don’t intend to comply with. At the very least, you should ask your landlord for permission before proceeding to do something – i.e., getting a pet – that violates the terms of your lease. Additionally, if your landlord agrees to give you special permission, take care to get it in writing.
When it comes to rental properties, it seems like everyone has a horror story to tell. Regardless of how many good rental experiences you’ve had, odds are you’ve also suffered through at least one awful one. Unsurprisingly, being stuck in a bad rental agreement can be stressful on a number of levels. Furthermore, extricating yourself from such an agreement is often a long and costly undertaking. In the interest of saving yourself a ton of hassle with your next rental home, take care to avoid the missteps discussed above.