As important as finding a place to rent and live is to you, finding a quality tenant is just as important to landlords. This is particularly true in less-competitive markets. As a tenant, however, you want to make sure you protect yourself and get a good deal. Here are three tips that are perfect for first-time renters who don't know the ins and outs of the property leasing world:
1. Don't Hesitate to Try to Negotiate the Rent.
Rent is always negotiable, even though that may not be clear at first. Ultimately, whether you are able to negotiate to a lower price will depend on the current market. If listings are being turned around in short periods of time, then you are less likely going to be able to get a discount on your rent. This is because they'll be able to get their asking price from someone else if you won't pay it – probably within the week. However, if you are looking at a piece of property that has been on the market for a few weeks, there is probably some room to maneuver in terms of negotiations.
Just remember that the landlord has the final say and does not have to negotiate with you. Also, try to make sure that you are ready to sign the lease as soon as they agree to a lower price (if they do), as this shows your trustworthiness and that you're serious about leasing.
2. Have a Pet? Don't Pay Extra Rent AND a Deposit.
Under most circumstances, you should never have to pay both a pet deposit and additional pet rent each month. Instead, it should be one or the other. Like with the actual rent, there is nothing wrong with trying to negotiate the pet deposit or rent. This is particularly true if you have a letter from a previous landlord that testifies to the fact that your pet is potty trained and/or that the pet did no damage.
3. Take Photos and Videos of the Property Before Moving In.
When you pay a security deposit for a property, you are able to get it back at the end of your lease. This is, of course, assuming that the property is in the same condition as when you leased it. For that reason, it is a good idea to take plenty of photographs and videos of the property before you move your stuff in. Conduct a very thorough walk-through and date all photographs. The same should also be done when you move out. You may even want to consider having a witness present in the event that there is any type of dispute brought up later on.
Whether you are planning on property leasing from a company or an individual, it is important that you take matters into your own hands as a tenant to ensure that you get what you want and need without being unnecessarily stomped on by a landlord.