Preparing for a New Rental
In order to make sure you’re budgeting properly and that you’ll not only be able to afford the rent for the apartment but the utilities as well, call the utility companies that provide service to the apartment. Most companies will be able to provide you a record of the cost of the utilities paid in the past for that specific unit. Ask the landlord for some references from either current or previous tenants of the building. Although the apartment seems like the perfect place, you’re also going to want to make sure that the other tenants in the building as well as former tenants have had good experiences with both the property and the property management. When you call these references ask: • Why did you move out? (If former
tenant.) How much are/were your utility bills? (Just to confirm what the companies tell you directly, or if you don’t get the information you need from the utility companies.) Is the apartment/building cold in the winter or too warm in the summer? How are the other tenants in the building? (You’ll probably find that people are very willing to give you their opinion on this question. Just take the stories with a grain of salt and know that there are two sides to every situation. But, asking this question will give you an idea of the politics going on in the community. Things you’ll want to know in order to stay OUT of the way of arguing neighbors.) What do you think of the landlord? (See the comments in the question preceding this one. Same thing applies.) Is there anything else that you think I’ll need to know if I choose to live here? Once you have determined that you do want this apartment, you’ll need to do the following: Get a copy of your credit report and make sure that it is accurate. Before you are accepted as a tenant, most likely, the landlord will run a credit check on you. Make sure that you’ve cleaned up some of your smaller bills and that there are no mistakes on your report. You will need to fill out a tenant application at most apartment buildings. If this is your first apartment or if your credit score isn’t perfect, you might need to arrange for a guarantor. A guarantor is someone who will agree to be responsible for your debts or obligations if for some reason you’re not able to fulfill your contractual obligations. At most properties you are either accepted or denied within 48 hours. When you fill out all your paperwork, make sure to get the exact timeframe from building management.