Safety Comes First
You need and want to feel safe in your home, so take time before you move in to check out the safety details. Make sure the locks have been changed since the last tenant moved out, and get keys for all the doors, including the deadbolt. If the doors look flimsy, don’t have deadbolts or do not have peepholes, ask for new doors. Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, and hang fire extinguishers, too, as you prioritize safety in your new home.
Pay Your Rent
Check your lease to see when your rent payment is due and which payment method your landlord prefers. Whether you pay by check, cash or credit card, always pay on time. Save a little money each week if you have to because late payments could cost you fees as outlined in your lease. Being late also hurts your relationship with your landlord, which could affect your ability to extend the lease or get a good referral if you find a different place.
Buy Renters Insurance
Your landlord has purchased a homeowner’s insurance policy for the house or apartment building. That policy covers structural repairs and can pay for storm damages to the house itself. It does not cover your personal belongings. Purchase your own renter’s insurance policy to protect your possessions if they’re stolen or damaged.
Mind the Neighbors
You’ve probably heard horror stories of neighbors who partied all night or let their trash accumulate on their front lawn. Don’t be that neighbor! Read your lease and be aware of any restrictions you need to follow. Check on details such as how many visitors you can have at a time, where you can park and when to take out the trash, too, as you become a respectful neighbor.
A small roof leak or a broken stair railing can turn into a big issue down the road, so report problems as soon as possible. Post your landlord’s contact information on your fridge or in your phone so you can contact him or her right away. When you see yourself as a caretaker of the property and try to leave it in better condition than you found it, you protect your home, increase your chances of getting a good referral from your landlord and do the right thing.
If you’ve decided to rent a house or apartment, do these five things. They help you be a responsible caretaker of your home.