Tips for Renting an Apartment - NYCM Insurance Blog

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May 20, 2020

Tips for Renting an Apartment

Renting an apartment can give a sense of accomplishment and excitement. It also comes with a lot of things to know and be prepared for, which can seem stressful. We’ve put together a list of tips for renting an apartment, whether you're a seasoned renter or it’s your first time on your own. Read on to learn more!

Do you own any tools? If not, it’s time to invest:

Depending on your lease agreement, you may or may not be allowed to put  holes in the walls of your new place; however, with that being said, you may be getting furniture that requires a screwdriver to assemble, or have a leaky faucet that could benefit from a quick turn of the wrench. We recommend you keep the following in your tool box just in case:

       A few packs of nails and screws
       Tape measure
       Phillips and flathead screwdrivers
       Wrench set
       Peel and stick hooks and hangers for damage-free wall decor

Do a thorough walk-through before moving your items in:

A thorough sweep of your new place can potentially save you hundreds of dollars in loss of security fees down the road by reporting pre-existing damages. Check for these things immediately upon moving into your new apartment:

  1. Imperfections in walls and floors: Look for holes in walls or carpets, stains, rips, marks, scratches, anything you can find that looks out of place and take a photo of it. Communicate these findings to your landlord, preferably in a text or e-mail that you can reference later if need be.
  2. Water Pressure and Leaks: Look under the sinks, turn all faucets on including the tub and shower, flush the toilet, and look for water leaks. If you find any leaks or lag in water pressure let your landlord know immediately.
  3. Test out the electricity: Plug things into your outlets to make sure all are in working order and, if not, record it in your message to your landlord. There could be an underlying issue if an outlet is not working, so it’s important to let them know immediately. Also, test out your heating and cooling systems to ensure they’re in working order as well.
  4. Look for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: State laws vary when it comes to smoke detectors, but effective April, 2019, New York State law says apartments should be equipped with a non-removable battery-operated smoke detector or wired smoke detector. If your apartment doesn’t appear to have one, bring this up to your landlord. When you locate your smoke detector, give it a quick test to make sure it’s in working order. New York State law also requires apartments come with a carbon monoxide detector, so find that and test it out, too. You hopefully will never have to use them but will be thankful you tested them out if you do.

Build A Good Rapport with your Landlord:

Being in the good graces of your landlord can go a long way. Be sure to discuss when your rent is due, how they expect payment, and where to send it. Things like paying your rent on time, not being noisy, and being friendly can go a long way in building your relationship with your landlord.

Terms to know when renting an apartment:

Being a renter comes with a dictionary of terms to know. We pulled a few key terms you’ll want to familiarize yourself with:

  1. Lease Agreement: A legally binding contract in which one party agrees to pay another party for rental of their property. This is something you will likely sign, and will be composed of certain conditions, like your rental term (month-to-month, six months, one year, etc.) 
  2. Pre-Existing Damages: We talked all about this above, but just be sure to document any areas that are damaged in your apartment and discuss with your landlord upfront so you aren't charged for them to be fixed when you move out.
  3. Application Fee: This fee covers the cost for a landlord to do a background check. Sometimes this fee can be applied to your security deposit, so be sure to ask!
  4. Prorate: An example of prorated rent is if you move into an apartment halfway through the month, then you will only owe half of the month’s rent. Be sure to discuss the specifics of your lease agreement if you move in halfway through the month.
  5. Utilities: Ahh, hot water and electricity. Everyone loves them, but someone has to pay for them! Some apartments might come with utilities included, but many won’t. Be sure to know what you will be responsible for paying for from the start. These bills can add up, so be sure to budget accordingly and take them into consideration when determining what rent you can afford.

It’s also important to educate yourself on renters laws and your rights as a renter. Click here to learn about things like rent control, eviction rights, and late fees.

Cover yourself and your belongings with renters insurance:

We can all imagine the horror of losing something to a home disaster, like a fire or theft. Having the correct coverage for your things can help to ease the monetary pain of losses. Renters insurance can also help in a variety of other ways, such as covering costs if someone hurts themselves while visiting your apartment or protecting your belongings should they be stolen out of your vehicle. To learn more about the different ways renters insurance can help you, click here. To find a local agent to discuss your renters insurance options, click the link below.