8 Common Mistakes by First-Time Renters

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8 Common Mistakes by First-Time Renters

Daphne Mallory · Sep 17, 2009

First-time renters are understandably excited when they move into their new apartment. It’s often a big step toward independence from their parents and a rite of passage. In the midst of that excitement and new-found freedom, they can quickly get themselves into trouble. Here are 8 common mistakes made by first-time renters.

Mistake #1: Paying Rent Late

In the hustle and bustle of their new apartment life, new renters will often make a late rent payment. Not realizing that the due date is set in stone, they figure they’ll get around to it. Once they get around to it, they’re hit with the harsh realities of late fees that have added up, or worse, an eviction notice.

Mistake #2: Confusion About the Security Deposit

Your security deposit is not your last month’s rent. Some rental agreements will only include the first month’s rent and the security deposit. Others require first and last month’s rent, plus a deposit. The security deposit is to pay for any damages or cleaning that’s needed when you move out. If you haven’t paid the last month’s rent to move in, you’ll still owe that on your last month.

Mistake #3: Not Reporting Normal Damages

If something breaks down in an apartment, or if you break it, you need to report it to your landlord as soon as possible. Landlords don’t like surprises when it’s time for you to move out. Also, remember that they have your security deposit. Get problems taken care of sooner rather than later. If you wait to take care of problems later, it tends to cost you more money.

Mistake #4: The Loud Stereo

First time renters often decide that their new stereo in their new apartment needs to be tested at a very loud volume. They soon find out that their neighbors don’t like that. Neighbors will complain to your landlord which may put you on his list as a problem tenant.

Mistake #5: Parking Problems

Don’t make the assumption that just because you’re renting an apartment, it means you can park anywhere in the parking lot. Ask for specifics or read your rental agreement to make sure you understand where you’re allowed to park. Failure to do so can get your vehicle towed.

Mistake #6: Getting Towed

Sometimes the apartment building’s parking lot will need maintenance, whether it’s snow removal in the winter or resurfacing in the summer. The property owner will post a notice explaining the date and time when this will happen, and that your vehicle needs to be moved during that time. First time renters who ignore this warning will find their vehicle has been towed away the next morning.

Mistake #7: Propping Security Doors Open

Another common mistake that first time renters make is propping open a security door. Those doors are there for a reason, mainly for the safety and security of everyone in the building. People who are new to this process sometimes prop doors open, whether they’re moving in, hauling laundry in and out or just popping out for a few minutes. It’s a big security risk, a big liability and often grounds for eviction.

Mistake #8: Not Reading the Lease Agreement

The lease agreement often contains information that the landlord didn’t explain to you. Read it carefully to know your responsibilities and any additional rules for living in your new apartment.

All of these mistakes can end up costing a first-time renter money. Familiarize yourself with your lease agreement to know your tenant obligations, and you should do fine.

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