8 Tenant Tips
Renting a home comes with a lot of advantages. For one, it gives you the freedom to move more frequently than if you were to own a home. It also comes with the benefit of not being responsible for paying for regular repairs or necessary upgrades, or even property taxes for that matter! For those reasons and more, many actually choose to stick with renting in the long run. That being said, there are still things that tenants are responsible for and should really take to heart when it comes to renting the place they call home. So, what tenant tips can you follow to be a stellar resident and make the most of your renting experience in Gwinnett County?
Research the Area
Location really is an important aspect of real estate. What you may not have known is that it’s just as crucial for a tenant to research the area as any landlord or real estate investor. After all, you’ll be living there for at least a year. Avoid getting stuck in an area you hate by doing your homework. Drive through the potential neighborhood at different parts of the day to get a good feel for it. Look up local crime rates and check out what amenities are nearby. Is it close to work? Are convenient shopping and restaurants close by? How’s travel access? What about parks, schools, and local attractions? Knowledge is power, so take advantage of the resources available before signing a lease.
Read Your Lease (one of our most crucial tenant tips!)
Seems simple enough, right? Surprisingly, the number of people who don’t fully read their lease is rather alarming. This leads to problems down the road when certain issues come up that you didn’t know were a requirement or responsibility. Be thorough!! Read your lease carefully before signing it and don’t hesitate to ask questions. Clarify any confusion with your landlord to ensure there are no surprises down the road regarding responsibilities.
Complete A Move-in Inspection
Most landlords and property managers provide move-in checklists for tenants to fill out at the start of the lease. This provides a way for tenants to document the current condition of the home and note any preexisting damage, so they’re not held responsible for those at the end of the lease. No one wants to pay for someone else’s damage, so be sure to complete this as soon as you can and return it to your landlord! If necessary, don’t forget pictures! Pictures speak louder than words and help clarify exactly what you mean.
Here at Real Property Management of Greater Gwinnett, we meticulously tour the home and mark any materialistic damage throughout, using a property assessment guide. Upon moving in, our residents receive a copy of our property assessment, and one for themselves to fill out to ensure there are no discrepancies of the damage, and everyone is on the same page.
Purchase Renter’s Insurance
Did you know that your landlord’s homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t cover your belongings in the event damage occurs? Fire? Nope. Flood? Na-uh. Burglary? Not likely. House sprouts legs and runs away? Certainly not. For that reason, it’s important to consider purchasing a renter’s insurance policy in order to protect your assets. Many renters’ insurance policies can be added to existing ones you already have (i.e. car insurance, etc.) for a small additional cost, so be sure to talk to your insurance agent about your options. Better to be safe than sorry!
Set Up Automatic Payments
This is one of our favorite tenant tips! Never be late on rent again! Almost everything can be paid online these days. With online payments comes the ease of automation. Why run the risk of forgetting to pay when you can rely on technology to do it for you? Talk to your landlord about your options for automatic payments. That way you won’t ever have to worry about being late. If your landlord doesn’t offer automatic or online payments, you can still take advantage of technology. Set up monthly reminders on your phone or on your calendar to help stay on top of your bills.
Report Maintenance Issues Immediately
Be it a strange noise from the fridge or a leaking water heater, it’s important to report all maintenance issues as soon as they occur! Doing so prevents possible further damage to the home. While not every repair is an emergency, it’s still important for tenants to do their due diligence and report the problem to their landlord. Once reported, be sure to work with your landlord and their chosen vendors to schedule the repairs. As soon as things have been completed, let your landlord know the issue has been resolved.
Know the Rules
Are you allowed to paint the home you’re renting? How about parking spaces? Holiday decorations? Every home and lease comes with its own set of rules that you, as the tenant, have to follow. These include rules in the lease, like making changes to the property itself, and those outlined by the Homeowner’s Association (HOA) if applicable. Keep in mind that every HOA is different. Be sure to ask your landlord if your home falls within an HOA, and, if so, request a copy of the rules and regulations so you know what to expect. And if you do want to make modifications, like painting a room, be sure to get your landlord’s approval in writing before you proceed. If not, you could wind up with a lease violation.
Maintain a Good Relationship
Your landlord isn’t your adversary. They’re simply a provider of an important service that’s essential for all human beings. Just as landlords should treat their rental as a business, tenants should also treat the relationship with their housing provider as a professional one. Be civil and respectful, even when things go wrong. Doing so helps to keep the lines of communication open and can even help your landlord be more open and willing to work with you on future issues. It all comes down to the age-old saying of treating others the way you want to be treated and helps to make your rental experience a positive one!
Everyone needs a place to call home, whether they rent or own. So, if you choose to rent, remember to take these few things to heart: take care of the place you call home; treat it and your landlord with respect; and know what’s expected of you. Easy enough, right? Follow these simple tenant tips for your Gwinnett County rental and you’re well on your way to achieving that!
If you are looking to purchase a rental property in the Gwinnett area and need some professional management assistance, contact us today and we will be glad to guide you through the process!
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.