1. I found a place I want to rent. Now what?
The landlord will often ask this of every adult planning to reside on the property, and there may be a separate application fee per adult or per family.
Landlords generally set criteria for what they are willing to accept, and you can ask for this in advance. They will likely also make a call to confirm your employment.
Some landlords will gather multiple applications and application fees and run all of them, whereas others may accept multiple applications but only ask for the fee from the one they are running first.
Depending on the property you are looking at, the Fair Housing and Americans with Disabilities Acts may impact what the landlord can and cannot do.
Realtors must also abide by a code of ethics. The National Association of Realtors opposes housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, and authorizes sanctions in response to finding that a member has violated any fair housing law, including local and state laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
2. How much should I pay for rent? Will landlords want to know my income?
So, if you are looking for a $1,200-per-month rental, they will be looking for you to make at least $3,600 per month, or up to $48,000 per year. If you have other debts like car payments, private school tuition, or loans, they might look for more income.
The landlord needs to be convinced of your ability to pay the rent.
3. Can I change the paint colors or put up a fence?
Most leases will provide that tenants cannot change the paint color, put up fences, or make other changes without written authorization from the landlord or the owner.
Or a lease may say that you have to put the property back in its original condition prior to moving out.
A lease of a condominium unit will also be subject to the rules and regulations of the association, so make sure you are in compliance with those, as well. You’d do well to get permission before installing satellite dishes, too.
4. Can I break my lease?
For example, the lease might specify that tenant may vacate upon 60-day notice, along with the payment of a three-month penalty, plus the payment of the final two month’s rent.
5. How do I make sure I get my security deposit back?
Always make sure to fill in the holes you made in the walls, deep clean the appliances, and wash the carpets.
Check for non-refundable deposits, administrative fees, etc. Most leases require you to return all door keys, mailbox keys, pool keys, etc., in addition to leaving the property in the same condition as you found it, with the exception of normal wear and tear.
Some states require that the landlord fill in a move-in and a move-out form, cataloging damage, in order to withhold some funds of the security deposit. Make sure to remove all your items and take out the trash.
After graduating from Emory University School of Law and developing a thriving litigation practice, I returned to real estate, my first love, to serve the needs of homeowners. With four…View Elida's Expert Profile ›
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