When you're renting a unit—whether it's a house, apartment, room, or portion of a dwelling—there's a lot to know. Even experienced renters can find themselves forgetting key things when looking for a unit, especially if they've been settled into a previous rental for a long time. So whether you're a first time renter, a seasoned pro, or somewhere in between, check out our top 5 rental tips that every renter should know!
Inspect Before Committing
When you go to check out a potential rental, it's easy to feel flustered and hurried. If the person showing you the unit is the one making you feel that way, you may even want to reconsider whether that property manager or landlord is the right fit for you. You should have a physical list in mind of key elements to inspect, and that list should include electrical outlets, all water sources in the unit, underneath the sinks, windows, major appliances, and cabinets.
What you're inspecting for will vary, but you'll mainly want to ensure that all of the above are fully functional, in decent condition, and meet your personal needs as a potential inhabitant of the space!
Read your lease carefully
In today's digital world, almost everything we interact with or purchase comes with a long, laborious set of Terms & Conditions - and let's be honest, most of us are satisfied with a quick scroll and "Accept". When it comes to your lease, however, it's so important to read the fine print. Every property has a different set of rules, and though they all have to adhere to the laws of the land, there may be some clauses that you don't want to commit to. This is especially important for current or potential pet owners!
Know Your Rights
Speaking of the laws of the land, it's imperative that you're familiar with your rights as a tenant and the responsibilities your landlord has to you. Each province in Canada has different rules for tenants, so be sure to know your rights for the province you're renting in. While we all hope to have understanding landlords—and many of us do!— it's always best to be informed.
Create a budget range and stick to it
Most of us are familiar with the advice that no more than 25-30% of your income should go toward your rent. Unfortunately, in some cities this is simply not a realistic budget for the average renter. It's important to create a budget that works best for you within the limitations of the city you live in, and you'll want to factor in things like commute time, nearby amenities, and any "perks" of the property when deciding what budget range is doable for you. For example, some renters may find an extra hundred dollars per month viable and worth it to shave their commute time down, while others may not mind the extra minutes spent in traffic. Your budget range should reflect that, which brings us to our final piece of advice...
Create a list of wants, really-wants, and non-negotiables
We love a good tiered list, and this is one that every single renter should have in physical or digital form somewhere. As you become a more experienced renter, your list will shift and grow, so think of it as your dynamic renting buddy. A few examples for new renters to think about are: in suite laundry, window placement/number of windows, counter space, flooring type, storage space, and number of outlets.
Your budget range should be taken into consideration when creating your tiered list. If you're a plant owner, you may be willing to pay a little extra for that unit with southeast windows. On the other hand, if there's no laundry in suite, that should mean lower rent. After all, hauling your clothes and linens to the local laundromat on a weekly basis takes time, energy, and cash.
Looking for moving pros to help you move into your new rental? Reach out to us for a quote today and we'll take care of pivoting through those narrow apartment complex corridors so you don't have to!