Pre­par­ing for a New Rental

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY READY TO RENT -

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.

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