Renting / What should I be aware of?
You have decided to rent instead of own, for various reasons. There are several different viewpoints regarding the decision to rent, or to own, and in many cases, the decision will be based upon age, location, occupation, school systems as well as your stage in life.
If you decide to rent, what are some of the concerns and considerations that you should be aware of?
- What are the terms of the lease in regard to longevity?
- Academic lease: This type of lease is intended to cover the period of time that a local school is in session. In most cases this is a period of time that extends from September to June of the following year.
- Vacation rental: A vacation rental can be as short as a week, and as long as a season, such as a summer season that spans a period of June to September.
- Corporate lease: This type of lease is normally tied into your position within the company, and tailored to accommodate your work requirements.
- Yearly lease: Speaks for itself, the lease is for a year, and is normally the common residential lease agreement.
- Open ended lease: I some cases, a lease, can be written to allow an open ended time of occupancy. However, this type of lease will normally have a minimum amount of time that either party is required to notify the other party of a change in occupancy. In many cases, this is a 90 day period of time, which should provide the landlord enough time to secure another tenant.
- What is the amount of deposit required?
In most cases the deposit required will be twice the lease agreement. If the lease is $1,500.00 per month, then the normal deposit required will be $3,000.00, however, this arrangement can be negotiated, especially if this is a private lease agreement. The popularity of larger multi rental unit complexes with professional management firms is less accommodating and normally the lease agreements are not easily modified or customized.
- How much money is required to sign a residential lease?
Although the amounts can vary, the normal requirements are first and last month’s rent, plus the security deposit. So if you are considering a rental, then you will need to have the ability to fund this amount of money, prior to signing the lease.
- Are pets normally allowed in a residential rental?
The ability to have animals is totally the choice of the landlord. There are some lease agreements that will NOT allow animals. Others may allow a small dog or a single cat. The size of the animal, is in many cases identified by weight allowance.
- Can a residential lease accommodate a sub-lease?
This is totally dependent upon the landlord and your agreement at the time of signing the lease. In most instances the ability to sub-lease the residential rental unit is not allowed. However special accommodations should not be ruled out, if the conversation and negotiation occurs prior to the signing of the agreement.
- Can the renter decide to supply their own appliances or swap out different appliances?
This type of negotiation and communication must occur, prior to the signing of the lease and the final agreement. Normally the appliances are included in the rent. If there are appliances to be supplied by the tenant, the washer and the dryer are the common ones.
- Are there restrictions regarding the number of cars allowed in a rental unit?
Yes, in most cases, there is a limit to the number of cars, and in some cases, the types of vehicles that can be parked at the rental unit. In some leases, there can be no trucks parked at the residential rental unit. In some situations, there could be restrictions to the parking of vehicles on the road or even in the driveway. Some rental units will require that the cars be garaged every night.
- What other types of restrictions could be incorporated within a residential lease?
- Age restrictions could be included if the rental unit is incorporated within a complex that has age restrictions, such as 55 and over.
- Business restrictions. The rental unit’s landlord may not allow the use of the residential unit as a home business or a home office.
- Noise restrictions. There could be noise restrictions incorporated within the lease agreement. Either in the evening or morning, or both.
- Motorcycle restrictions. Motorcycles may not be allowed at some rental units.
- Special exterior restrictions. Many rental units will restrict the ability to have gas grills, lawn furniture, playsets, etc. set up around the exterior of your rental unit.
- Decoration restrictions. The rental landlord may not allow certain types of decorations to be displayed around the rental unit, such as Christmas lights.
- Political signs or demonstrations of a religious or political nat Such items such as the American Flag, religious objects or political signage could be restricted or not allowed.
- Interior or exterior renovations. In most situations, there are restrictions regarding the allowance for any renovations or improvements to the rental unit. In some cases, there could be accommodations within the lease that would allow improvements, upon acceptance and approval by the landlord.
- Interior fireplaces or wood stoves. In most situations the installation of any types of heating appliance such as a wood stove, gas fired heaters, etc. is not allowed, without specific acceptance and approval by the landlord.
- What maintenance requirements are normally expected by the tenant of the residential rental unit?
- Replacement of light bulbs.
- Replacement of batteries in smoke detectors and electronic thermostats or other battery powered devices.
- In some instances, the replacement of HVAC filters.
- Normal cleaning, such as carpet shampooing and floor cleaning of the unit.
- What maintenance requirements are normally the responsibility of the landlord?
- Yearly maintenance of all of the mechanical systems.
- Broken or problematic operation of heating and cooling systems.
- Broken appliances, such as cooktops, refrigerators, washers and dryers, etc.
- Plumbing problems, such as dripping faucets, broken flush valves in the toilet units, etc.
- Failure of the hot water heater, the boiler, or any other systems that are a part of the electrical and mechanical systems of the rental unit.
- What are the items that are either negotiated or can basically be either tenant or landlord responsibility dependent upon the lease agreements ?
- Snowplowing and snow removal.
- Lawn care and exterior maintenance.
- Cleaning the gutters or the flues for the fireplaces or mechanical units.
- Cleaning of the internal ductwork within the home.
- Maintenance of any soft or hard water mechanical devices.
- Maintenance of the grout, mortar, etc. around tubs, showers, sinks, toilets, etc.
- Are there any additional financial requirements for the tenant?
- In most cases, renters insurance is required to be maintained by the renter of the residential unit.
- In most cases, all of the utility costs will be the responsibility of the tenant, unless the agreement includes all, or some of the utilities. However, the more popular the rental unit, the more likely that the utilities will be the responsibility of the tenant.
- Any special costs such as security, cable, data, etc. that the tenant may want or require.
Renting a residential unit can be a very accommodating situation for both the tenants and the landlord. For the renter, the ability to simply pay the landlord a monthly rent, without the need to worry about the property taxes or the maintenance of the unit, is a very positive characteristic of renting. However, the renter must understand that the accommodations are not theirs, and the overall condition and daily maintenance and cleanliness of the unit is the responsibility of the renter.
There is a separate webpage as part of this website, which specifically discusses the rental deposit that will need to be paid by the renter at the time of lease signing. This deposit money will be lost if the renter is not careful with their usage of the rental unit.