Things To Consider When Renting
Things To Consider When Renting An Apartment
Apartments for rent seem to be a dime a dozen in many population centers throughout the country. How can you possibly find the apartment that is right for you when there are so many to choose from? Below are five things to consider when renting that should help with this process.
What Part Of Town Is Most Appealing To You?
This sounds like a no-brainer, but it is imperative to know the town or city that you are planning to live in. Be sure to research the area thoroughly and then select the part of town where you prefer to live. By doing the research on a particular place ahead of time, you familiarize yourself with the area and find the section that is just right for you.
Are some areas more prone to crime than others? You would obviously want to avoid these. Are some areas more pedestrian friendly? Where is public transportation offered? Where are shopping and entertainment options? Where are parks located? Are some areas of town cheaper to live in than others?
The list of things to consider can seem endless, but knowing the answers to these questions will help you distinguish where the exact part of town is that best fits your lifestyle.
Where Can You Afford To Live?
Much more goes into your cost of living than just what is needed for rent every month. Along with this fixed expense, things like electricity, water, heat, internet, and cable must be factored in as well. Most apartment complexes will also charge an additional monthly fee on top of your rent if you have a dog or a cat.
It is recommended that you spend no more than 20 to 25 percent of your net income on housing. If you discover beforehand that you cannot afford to live in a particular place, it makes it that much easier to cross it off of your list.
What Types Of Amenities Are You Interested In?
Apartments for rent are all over the place when it comes to the types of amenities they offer. Some complexes have pools. Some do not. Some have exercise facilities along with basketball and tennis courts. Some do not. Some even provide car washing bays, game rooms, clubhouses, saunas, and racquetball courts.
On the flip side, there are other apartments that may not even provide you with a free parking space. You have to decide what you want in terms of amenities and what you can live without.
What Type Of Building Do You Want To Call Home?
Apartments for rent come in all shapes and sizes. There are massive complexes that house hundreds of tenants, small houses that are home to a single family, and pretty much everything in between.
Larger complexes generally provide more amenities, but they also tend to cost more money. Smaller homes and duplexes tend to offer more private outdoor space. The question is, what do you want your living environment to be like on a day in, day out basis?
How Long Of A Time Commitment Do You Want To Make?
When you begin the process of renting your new home, you will most likely have to sign a lease with the landlord. Some landlords only use one year leases while some may offer three or six month obligations. Some others may even allow you to rent on a month to month basis, simply needing you to give a 30 day notice before you plan on moving out.
If you know that you want to stay in your apartment for a while, then the one year lease may be fine for you. If, on the other hand, you may need to move quickly, a month to month option is probably your best bet.
Five Ways Renters Can Get The Most Out Of Their Rent
Many tenants end up spending a chunk of their monthly salary on paying rents. However, it’s not wise to spend more than one-third of your monthly income on accommodation, even if you are trying to find one of the apartments for rent in an expensive city.
Here are five ways to live in a posh locality without creating a dent in your wallet:
1. Find a Roommate
Even if you choose to stay in a large apartment, you can save a lot in terms of rent. How? Get a roommate. You can easily share the total rent along with the other utility bills while living in a larger apartment.
2. Consider Lease Negotiation
There is no hard and fast rule that you have to accept whatever is written on the rental listing. You can always have a word with the property management office before signing the final agreement.
For example, you can request them to lower the rent a little. You can also ask if perks such as parking can be included without an exorbitant fee. You might be able to get a discounted rent if you sign a one-year lease instead of a six-month one.
3. Avoid Spending More Than 30 Percent of Your Income
It’s true that some cities are pretty expensive and renters are left with no choice but to spend heavily on apartment rents. Surveys suggest that 3 out of 4 tenants pay more than the recommended 30 percent of their paycheck on accommodation.
Out of these, 42 percent are financially burdened as they are required to pay more than 50 percent of their income on rent. This is not the right thing to do because there are several other expenses of living in a big city. Therefore, try to keep your accommodation costs as low as possible.
4. Look for a Place with Extra Amenities
Your monthly electricity, gas and water bills add a lot to your expenses. Look for apartment listings that have these utilities incorporated in the rent. There are other things to consider such as a community fitness center, on-site laundry, swimming pool and social room which might be included in your monthly rent.
5. Invest in Energy-efficient Items
Investing in some energy-efficient goods will help you reduce your monthly energy costs to a considerable extent. Place low-flow shower equipment on shower heads or faucets and install power-saving LED bulbs instead of ordinary bulbs.
You can also reduce seasonal utility consumption by shielding windows with plastic films, using insulated curtains and covering electrical outlets.
When looking for apartments for rent, a little planning will help you stay comfortable without burning a hole in your pocket. Choosing the right options will help you stay on budget without compromising comfort.
5 More Ways to Save on Rent
A renter can expect to pay about 30% of their income on the median apartment nationwide. In some areas, like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, renting is dangerous to your health. Talk about the stress brought on by seeing so much of your money being swallowed-up on the rent.
So how do you go about saving on rent in a seemingly unfavorable rental market? The following tips are a compilation of tricks of the trade, so to speak, and should help you save on rent.
1. If you’re an All-Star renter, meaning, you got great credit, awesome references from past landlords, bank statements showing fiscal responsibility in your checking account, and emergency savings in a savings account, you should negotiate on the rent.
Reliable renters are a landlord’s best friend, and many would be willing to lower the fortnightly or monthly rent amount for the peace of mind of renting to a person like you.
Throw in a longer lease commitment or several months’ worth of rent upfront, and the deal becomes juicy for a landlord. How much can you save? If I were an All-Star renter, I’d ask for $100 off the top, per month, and wait for a counter offer from the landlord.
2. Move in the winter or early spring. There may be fewer places available to rent during these seasons because people hunker down when it’s cold.
However, the slowdown works in your favor as landlords with vacancies are desperate to get someone else to pay their bills. Don’t waste the opportunity to negotiate if you are looking for a place during the winter and early spring!
3. Also you can lower the rent amount by agreeing to take care of the grounds for the landlord. For example, mowing the lawn, prune the fruit trees, rake leaves, and do what any homeowner would do to keep the lot looking tidy.
4. If you’re renting a room, you have many options for saving on your monthly rent. Think, what are some tangibles (use of your Xbox game system, gym equipment, bicycle, etc.) you can offer your landlord in return for less rent?
5. Again, if you rent a room, you may be able to reduce your rent by giving your landlord options. Say you have television streaming services. You can explain to your landlord that he/she can save money by cutting the cord, and use your subscription for the whole house instead.
It is not illegal for you to share your password. Many companies have a simultaneous viewing limit though, for example between two and four users at a time for Netflix. Who knows, your landlord may be willing to reduce your rent if he/she can stop paying so much to provide you with cable.
Unfortunately, apartment dwellers are often dealing with a management company that won’t budge, and that knows nothing else but raising the rent each year. Don’t be a number on the front door! Try to find a rental situation where you can deal with the owner and personalize the rental relationship.
The Benefits of Leasing Over Purchasing
When you are looking to move into a new home, one of the first decisions that you need to make is whether you want to purchase or lease a property. Each has a number of distinct advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to consider everything before making your decision.
Here we will take a look at a few of the reasons why you should consider leasing over purchasing in some cases.
To purchase a property you will need to raise a fairly large amount of capital to handle issues like the deposit, legal fees and any money charged by your real estate agent.
Saving for these fees is often a long term process, with many people taking a number of years to build up the money required to actually make a purchase.
By contrast, when you lease a property you will usually only be required to pay a deposit alongside a month’s rent in advance.
This sum is invariably smaller than the amount that you need to save to make a purchase, which means that leasing is an excellent option for people who are looking to move as quickly as possible, for whatever reason.
When you purchase a property, you will be required to carry out any repairs and maintenance yourself. This can be an enormous drain on resources, particularly if your budget is such that you will struggle to make mortgage payments if something goes wrong with the house.
However, with leasing the general maintenance of the building and its facilities is less of an issue. Though you will often have to wait a little while to get an issue resolved, your responsibility lies in letting the owner of the building know about any issues that you are experiencing.
It is then an issue that they will have to deal with in order to ensure they are offering the living conditions that were promised to you.
Once you have agreed to purchase a home you will be tied into paying for that property for as long as it takes to pay off the loan you have taken out for it. You have the option to sell, of course, but this is a long-winded process that can often take months, if not years.
When you lease a property you have much more flexibility, particularly if you are on a rolling monthly contract. This means that you are free to move on whenever you want, as long as you give the required notice as specified in the lease agreement.
The Property Market
When you lease a property you will not need to worry about fluctuations in the property market having an effect on the overall value of your home, as you do not own it. Instead, all you need to be concerned with is making the rent payments when they are due.
This can be excellent for those who want to dip their toes into the property market and experience living on their own for the first time, without worrying about the burden of responsibility that owning a property carries.
What To Do If Your Landlord Won’t Make Repairs
What can you do if your rental property needs repair and the landlord is ignoring your requests? Before we go any further understand that in virtually every state, the landlord is not required to repair damages done by the tenant or their guests.
If you broke it you will need to fix it. Small cosmetic repairs are usually not covered. So don’t stop paying rent because you have a chip in your kitchen cabinet or the rugs are dirty.
The first step is to call the landlord and report the repairs needed. You must also send a detailed letter. In the letter be clear and precise regarding the repairs. Stick to the facts and don’t go off on a long rant. If the repairs are not completed, this letter may become evidence in court.
We strongly suggest sending the letter by certified mail and keep a copy of the letter for your records. Many states have deadlines by which the repairs must be completed, the letter will start the clock. A phone call is not enough, because a landlord can simply claim he never received any phone calls.
Not all state laws allow the following. We cannot stress enough the importance of contacting an attorney prior to initiating any self-help remedies. There are usually free legal services in most areas that can give you guidance. If the repairs are life threatening, you should move out and contact your local residential tenancies authority or health department.
If escrowing rent is allowed on your part of the world, it is one of the best ways to get your landlord’s attention. When you escrow the rent it means you will be holding the rent instead of paying it to the landlord. Don’t spend the rent money!
You must place your monthly rent into a bank account. In some states you can simply keep it in your own bank account, others require a separate account to be opened expressly for this purpose and some require you to escrow the funds with an attorney.
Send a copy of the bank statement to the landlord showing the rent was placed in escrow. If the landlord makes the repairs you will need to release the funds held in escrow.
Unfortunately many times you are caught in a stalemate. The landlord won’t make the repairs because you aren’t paying the rent, and you won’t pay the rent because the landlord isn’t making the repairs. In most cases, the landlord will start an eviction, but this is to your benefit.
You must attend the eviction hearing. At the eviction hearing, you will have an opportunity to tell the judge or mediator about the repair issues. Bring photos of the problems and if the repairs are not visible, such as a broken heater, try to bring a witness.
It is vitally important that you bring bank statements showing the monthly rent was placed in escrow. If you don’t the judge will find in favor of the landlord and you will be evicted. Also, bring a copy of the letter you sent to the landlord.
If the judge finds it in your favor, they will usually order the landlord to make the repairs and you must agree to release the escrowed rent upon completion. In some jurisdictions, an agreement is drafted that you and the landlord, or their representative, will need to sign.
Even if you reach an agreement they will sometimes schedule another hearing. If the issues are still not resolved by the next hearing date, you will need to go back to court.
Sometimes the judge may give you the option of moving out. You may need to release the escrowed rent if you agree to move out. The judge will usually order the landlord to release the security deposit after you pay the rent and move out.
The court may also decide the repairs are not the landlords’ responsibility. In this case, you will also need to release the escrowed rent or face eviction.
Repair and Deduct
In some states, you are allowed to make repairs and deduct the costs from your rent. Many states limit the amount you can deduct for repairs. Prior to doing the repairs yourself, you need to inform the landlord in writing of the repairs needed and allow sufficient time for the landlord to make the repairs.
If the repairs remain unresolved then send another letter informing the landlord you intend to have the repairs made and deduct them from the rent.
You should get three estimates in writing from licensed professionals, and get a copy of the contractor’s license and any permits if required. If the landlord takes you to court you will need to bring all of this information.
Once the repairs are completed send a copy of the receipt for the repairs and copies of the estimates to your landlord along with a letter informing them of the amount that will be deducted from the rent. Retain copies of everything you send to the landlord.
Essential services such as heat, hot water and utilities (if the landlord is responsible for them) must be maintained by the landlord under virtually every state law. Contact your local health department or residential tenancies authority if the landlord fails to maintain essential services.
The agencies will usually inspect the property and notify the landlord of the violations. If they still fail to make the repairs or restore services, the remedies stated above may be used if allowed in your jurisdiction.
We are not suggesting breaking your lease. However, if you are having repair issues and your lease is about to expire or you are month to month, you should consider moving. Failure to maintain a property is an indication the landlord is having financial difficulties.
More problems will arise. You don’t want your quality of life impacted because of your landlord’s financial problems.
Who Is Responsible For Repairs In The State Of Queensland?
The property manager/owner is responsible for ensuring the property is fit to live in and in a good state of repair. The tenant must notify them of any repairs needed.
If a tenant, or their guest, damages the property, they may have to pay for repairs.
Example 1. If a tenant breaks a window by throwing a ball through it, they are responsible and have to pay for repairs.
Example 2. If a window falls out of the frame, and breaks, due to ageing putty that may be fair wear and tear and the property manager/owner may have to pay.
The property manager/owner generally carries out any repairs or organises someone to do so.
There are 2 kinds of repairs:
emergency (general tenancies only).
The property manager/owner must carry out repairs within a reasonable time and comply with the entry rules.
There are no rules about emergency repairs in rooming accommodation (apart from entry rules) and the tenant must not arrange emergency repairs.
it is best to inform the property manager/owner of required repairs in writing
timeframes for repairs vary depending on the circumstances (e.g. availability of tradespeople) and the type of repairs needed
the tenant should not carry out repairs without written permission
The property manager/owner does not carry out routine repairs
If the problem has not been fixed, the tenant should try to resolve the issue by talking to the property manager/owner.
If routine repairs are not organised within a reasonable time, the tenant can issue the property manager/owner with a Notice to remedy breach (Form 11) giving them 7 days to fix the problem.
If the problem cannot be resolved the RTA’s dispute resolution service may be able to help.
The tenant should never stop paying rent to ensure repairs are made. Non-payment of rent is a breach of the agreement.
The tenant should contact the property manager/owner or the nominated repairer (listed on the tenancy agreement) about the problem. It is a good idea to put the request in writing as evidence of notification.
If they cannot be contacted, the tenant can arrange for a qualified person to carry out emergency repairs to a maximum value of 2 weeks rent.
Emergency repairs are:
- a burst water service or a serious water service leak
a blocked or broken toilet
a serious roof leak
a gas leak
a dangerous electrical fault
flooding or serious flood damage
serious storm, fire or impact damage
a failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply
a failure or breakdown of an essential service or appliance on the property for hot water, cooking or heating
a fault or damage that makes the property unsafe or insecure
a fault or damage likely to injure a person, damage property or unduly inconvenience a tenant
a serious fault in a staircase, lift or other common area of the property that unduly inconveniences a tenant in gaining access to, or using, the property.
All other repairs are considered routine repairs.
Paying for Emergency Repairs
If the tenant pays the repairer they need to give all receipts to the property manager/owner who must pay them back within 7 days.
Alternatively, the tenant may ask the property manager/owner to pay the repairer directly.
Disagreement About Emergency Repairs
If the tenant and property manager/owner do not agree about the emergency repair, or if the tenant has not been reimbursed for repairs within 7 days, they can apply to QCAT for a decision
When a Property Becomes Unliveable?
A property becomes unliveable when it:
is fully, or partially, destroyed (e.g. due to a natural disaster)
can no longer be used lawfully as a residence (e.g. building is condemned) – contact the relevant authority (e.g. local council) for more information.
The unliveability of a property must be considered on a case-by-case basis.
The Hidden Costs of Choosing to Rent Over Rent to Own
Are you a renter who has decided that it might be time to start putting your hard earned money into a place of your own? Tired of paying off your landlord’s mortgage?
Have you recently tried to qualify for a mortgage to take advantage of the low interest rates but found that you did not qualify due to credit issues or you didn’t have the 5%, 10% or more down that the banks/lenders wanted?
You are not alone. There are more people in limbo who are tired of renting but unable to buy than you may believe but what options are available to you if you cannot qualify for a mortgage today?
Rent to own or lease to own is a great stop gap for you because it allows you to enjoy the benefits of home ownership today, while you take the time needed to repair your credit and build up your down payment so you can qualify for your own mortgage at the end of the agreed upon term.
A good rent to own/lease to own program will support you in your credit repair efforts and help you save up a bigger down payment through your monthly payments.
Sounds great, right? Well, it is but like anything, there is work involved on your part to make it all come together. Credit repair is not a hands off process and there is a commitment required in order to fulfill the terms of the agreement.
For those that rent long term or have the “home buyer” mindset, this commitment should not be an issue at all. For those that frequently move from one rental to another, this will be their biggest hurdle.
Other Things To Consider When Renting
Now is as good a time as any to look into your options and see if a rent to own/lease to own would fit your current home ownership plans, so why not take advantage of an opportunity to build equity in your own property before houses become even more expensive to purchase.
Rent or own or rent to own… that is the question…
But what happens if you choose to do nothing and continue to rent? There are those that believe they can save 10% or more on their own and while this is true for a few, life is life and expenses pop up, which causes many to struggle with the saving process.
If your plan is to continue to rent while you save a bigger down payment and repair your own credit, consider the “costs” that could come with that plan. For example, if you were renting a house for an average rent of $1500 a month, it would cost you $54,000 over the next three years in rent ($1500 X 36 months).
How much of that is equity? Well, possibly all of it if we are talking about your landlord but zero for you, the renter. Beyond the cost of rent, homes will continue to increase in price (based on all the market information we have today).
Consider 3%, 4% or higher depending on the area which means that the $300,000 house you are interested in today is likely going to cost $330,000 or more in three years. Fair enough we say but that will also impact how much you have to save for your down payment.
On a $300,000 house, a 5% down payment is $15,000, in three years, on a purchase price of $330,000, the new 5% down payment that would be required would be $16,500. These numbers are even larger if the price appreciates more than the example of 3% and if you are required to put more down than the example of 5%.
It doesn’t cost you anything to set up a one on one call to have your questions answered and you may just find a new path to home ownership open for you when you thought there were none But the costs can be high if you choose to do nothing but continue down the same rental path.
Enough with the numbers, what does it all mean? It means that if you are serious about getting into home ownership, now is the best time to start looking into your options. If you can qualify for a mortgage, we would always recommend that avenue.
Also if you have your own home, don’t waste the opportunity to take advantage of the low interest rates. You could sell your home and use your equity as a deposit on a block of units, then live on one and rent the others to pay the mortgage for you. the investment in Mount Isa will give you a future not to mention an easy life down the track.