Don’t Settle for Subpar Apartment Rentals

Apartment living is a great choice for people just starting out on their own, not wanting the responsibility of owning a home or not financially able to own a home. Renting an apartment can also give people the opportunity to live someplace for awhile in order to decide if that's the right area for them. It's important for people to find an apartment complex that meets their needs and in an area convenient for them. It's also important that they find an apartment community with a fair rental agreement which spells out the tenant's and landlord's responsibilities. There are many apartment communities for people to choose from in most cities, so people shouldn't settle for a subpar apartment. People should take time to search and compare communities to find the best one.

Finding a Great Apartment

When beginning to search for an apartment, people should make a list of what a great apartment means to them. Everyone has their own criteria for what makes a great apartment. Consider the following factors: 

  • The price range they can afford
  • How many bedrooms they need
  • How many bathrooms are needed
  • The length of a lease
  • The kind of parking available: parking lot, covered parking, garage parking
  • Whether they need a pet-friendly apartment or not
  • If utilities are included
  • The floor preferred: first floor, middle floors or a top floor
  • The amenities included: pool, clubhouse, workout room, laundry in-unit, fireplace, work room with a computer, printer, fax machine

Once the list is made, people can start their search. Sometimes they won't get everything they want for the price they want. They'll have to decide what they really need and what they can do without. The most important item on the list is price. Many apartment communities want to see that people have at least three times their monthly rent in income. The next most important item is probably the number of bedrooms. Then they should go down their list from there, in order of importance to them. 

What's Included in a Rental Agreement?

A rental agreement, or lease, is a legal document between the landlord(s) and the tenant(s). It should include the address of the apartment. It should include the date the agreement is written. It must include the names of the landlords and tenants. The lease should include the date it commences and the date it ends. It may state that it is a month-to-month lease and either party can give a 30-day or 60-day notice to terminate. It must include the amount of rent and how often it's due. It will also state the amount of the security deposit given and whether or not it's refundable. The lease must state the day the rent is due and spell out the late fee penalties. The lease should state the utilities that are included, if any. If there is a pet involved, the lease should state whether there is a pet deposit or pet rent. If there's parking, the lease will describe that agreement. The lease may have paragraphs about what amenities are included, as well.

Landlord's Responsibilities

When looking for an apartment, tenants should be sure to know what the landlord is responsible for. It's also advised to get some of these items in writing either on the lease itself or on an addendum. Of course, the landlord is responsible for adhering to national, state and local laws and building codes. The landlord will hold your security deposit in an escrow account and they will collect the rent. Tenants should make sure they know what utilities they are responsible for, if any. If there are any utilities that the landlord doesn't provide and pay for, it's the tenant's responsibility to get accounts set up with the utility companies. Landlords are usually responsible for maintaining common areas such as landscaping, snow removal, the pool or clubhouse. If there is a problem in the apartment, such as no heat, no hot water or an appliance not working, landlord's are responsible for providing prompt service to get the problem remedied. Landlords must make sure that there are working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in the apartment.

Finding a good apartment rental shouldn't be difficult. There are quite a few apartment communities in most cities. There are also private apartment rentals available, as well. Real estate professionals and apartment finder companies may be able to help find tenants find an apartment that meets their needs. People shouldn't settle for something that doesn't meet their needs, isn't safe, isn't clean or doesn't have a responsible landlord.

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