Renting a house or appartment

Rental Swaps

Some vacationers find a rental swap to be an ideal situation when they are traveling. Homeowners, especially in desired locations, may find there is a great deal of interest from others who would like to rent their home for a short period of time. Typically this is about one to three weeks although it may be longer or shorter in some cases. A rental swap is essentially where a homeowner in one location offers the use of their home to another homeowner in exchange for use of the other homeowners home. Ideally these swaps will take place concurrently but in some situations swaps are organized at different times of the year.

A Rental Swap Saves You Money

For many a rental swap is worth considering because it can result in a tremendous financial savings. Lodging often accounts for a large portion of a vacationers travel expenses. By eliminating these costs the vacationer may find they are able to add additional aspects to their vacation. For example, by eliminating lodging costs, a vacationer may have money left over in the travel budget to see a few plays, eat dinner at extravagant restaurants or purchase tickets to sporting events.

A rental swap, however, does not always automatically translate to a financial savings. Consider the cost of staying in a hotel within walking distance to major attractions as opposed to participating in a rental swap 10-20 miles away from most major attractions. In the case of the rental swap, the vacationer will most likely have to rent a car during their stay but might not have to do so when staying in a hotel. The need for a car, whether or not the kitchen in a rental swap will be utilized to cook meals and other factors should be considered in determining whether a rental swap or hotel stay is more financially logical.

A Rental Swap is More Comfortable than a Hotel

In most cases a rental swap usually results in a more comfortable stay than a visit to a hotel. Of course there will always be situations in which the quality and even the size of the hotel may be superior to the conditions of the rental shop but for the most part, vacationers usually feel more comfortable in a rental swap situation. Staying in a home typically provides the vacationer with more privacy as well as the ability to spread out a little more. This can be very beneficial for keeping the peace especially for large families who may quickly feel overcrowded in a hotel situation.

There are Risks to a Rental Swap

While a rental swap may certainly seem appealing, there are some inherent risks to this type of lodging situation. First of all the possibility of the rental property not being exactly as described is a very real risk. Homeowners may exaggerate the appeal of their property either intentionally or unintentionally. Regardless of the intent of the homeowner, the vacationer may still find themselves in a situation where they are disappointed with the accommodations. This may be because the house is not as large or well appointed as described or because the house is older and less well maintained than depicted.

Another risk to a rental shop is the possibility of the other homeowner not noting the correct dates. Although this is also a possibility with a hotel, it can be more troubling when the vacationer was counting on the rental swap for their accommodations during the stay. While a hotel might make every effort to accommodate the hotel guests when there is a mistake, homeowners in a rental swap may not have the available resources to find an alternate place for the vacationers to stay.

One final risk which exists in a rental swap, is potential damage to your own property when you allow others to use the property. Homeowners can work to minimize the trouble in these situations by screening those who they are considering for a rental swap carefully. Additionally, homeowners can take security measures by alerting the police as well as neighbors that a stranger will be staying in the home. This will help everyone to be more vigilant and aware of the potential for problems.

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Rent to Own

Some potential homeowners who are not able to purchase a home right away consider rent to own options instead. A rent to own option, often referred to as a lease, is essentially a rental contract for the rental of a property which includes the stipulation that the renter will be given the option of purchasing the property at the conclusion of the lease. This type of rental agreement may not be worthwhile for all renters but there are some who will find this type of agreement to suit their needs quite well. In particular renters with bad credit who might be unable to buy a home otherwise and renters who aren’t quite sure they really want to buy a home. It can also be a worthwhile agreement for homeowners who are planning to sell their home buy may not want to sell it immediately.

When Your Credit is Bad

Potential homeowners with bad credit may find a rent to own situation may be just what they are looking for to help them purchase their dream home. There are a variety of financing options currently available and it is likely even homeowners with poor credit can find a financing option but it is not likely this option will be favorable. Homeowners with poor credit are often shackled with unfavorable loan terms such as higher interest rates, requirements to pay points and adjustable rate mortgages instead of fixed rate mortgages. In these situations, it might be worthwhile for the renter to repair his credit before attempting to purchase a home.

One of the best ways to repair credit is to maintain good credit in the present and into the future. Most blemishes on credit reports are erased after a certain period of time. Renters who have poor credit can work on repaying their current debts in a timely fashion and with time their credit score will improve. During this time participating in a rent to own program allows the renter additional time to repair his credit and may also allow the renter to accumulate financial resources which will enable him to purchase the home when the lease period is over.

When You Just Aren’t Ready to Buy a Home

Some renters opt for a rent to own program when they aren’t quite sure they really want to own a home. In these types of agreements, renters are given the option of purchasing the home at the end of the agreement period but they are not obligated to purchase this home. This allows the renter to see what it is like to own a home without having to commit to homeownership.

Renters who are renting a home may learn a great deal about homeownership during the rental period. This may include information about maintaining the landscaping of the property and dealing with conflicts with neighbors. It may also entail caring for and maintaining a significantly larger domicile than most apartment renters have to maintain. Some renters are not quite sure they are ready to handle all of these issues and may use a rent to own agreement as a trial period to determine whether or not homeownership suits them.

When the Homeowner Just Isn’t Ready to Sell

Some homeowners offer a rent to own option when they plan to sell their home but do not want to do so immediately. Some homeowners may be hoping for property values to rise before they sell their home so they can either regain the amount they have invested in the house or profit from the purchase price of the home. These homeowners might choose to rent out their home during this time and offer the renter the option of purchasing the house after a set time period. This enables the seller to earn an income from rent while they are no longer living in the home. The rent they charge to the renter is often enough to cover the mortgage and yield a profit making it a financially wise decision for the seller.

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Read Your Contract Carefully

Many renters barely even skim their rental agreement before signing their name at the bottom. Most renters are primarily concerned with the monthly charges, one time only fees, required deposits and other financial matters. Once they verify this information is accurate according to their conversations with the leasing agent, they often sign the agreement with no questions asked. This is a mistake because a rental agreement is a legal contract which may have a host of important information which the renter should be aware of before signing the document.

Considering a Roommate?

Those who are considering the possibility of a roommate may mistakenly believe this is possible because they are living alone and have two bedrooms and two bedrooms. These uninformed renters may see an opportunity to share their rent with another. However, some rental agreements strictly prohibit renters from soliciting their own roommates and allowing an additional person to move into the apartment after the lease is already signed. Renters who violate this agreement may face harsh penalties. These penalties may even include eviction.

Renters who want to have the option of a roommate should ideally make this decision before the contract is signed. This will enable the homeowner to put provisions into the contract to allow for the renter to add an additional resident at any time. The leasing agent may still require final approval of your roommate but this approval process will likely be dependent on the results of a background check as well as a check of the potential roommate’s finances.

Want to Adopt a Pet?

Renters who wish to adopt a pet in the near future should also familiarize themselves with the rental agreement. This is important because restrictions on the types, size and specific breed of pets apply not only when the renter moves in but throughout the terms of his rental agreement. This means a renter who has signed contractual documents stating they do not own any of the prohibited pets such as dogs or cats are not free to purchase or adopt additional pets during the course of the rental agreement. Therefore, renters who do not have pets but plan to adopt or purchase pets in the near future should read the contract documents as if they are already a pet owner and decide whether or not to sign based on the statements within the policy.

Plan on Having Visitors Regularly?

Even renters who have regular overnight guests should familiarize themselves with their rental agreement before signing the document. This is important because frequent guests may actually be considered residents in some situations. This will likely depend on the specific rental agreement but it is not entirely uncommon for leasing agents to specify that visitors who spend a specific number of nights on the property per month are considered to be residents of the apartment. This is important because the rental agreement may clearly identify how many people may reside in the apartment at any one time.

Visitors who are staying at the apartment too often may put the resident at risk of being accused of having additional persons living in the apartment. In some situations this might be considered cause for eviction. For this reason, the renter should be sure he is familiar with the terms of the agreement before allowing others to spend the night in the apartment on a regular basis.

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Maintenance on a Rental Property

Maintenance on a rental property can be a confusing issue. Renters may mistakenly assume all maintenance is the responsibility of the leasing agent and maintenance staff but this is usually not true. In many cases the leasing agent and maintenance staff are responsible for maintaining the common areas and performing major repairs on the apartments but the renters do typically have some responsibilities. These responsibilities are often defined in the rental agreement and the renter should familiarize himself with this document to verify his rights if a dispute arises.

Renter Responsibilities

Typically renters have the responsibility of maintaining their apartment and the surrounding area. This may include the interior of the apartment as well as deck or patio space. However, maintenance of these areas applies to generally cleanliness only and not issues such as painting or repairs to the exterior or the interior of the apartment structure or the appliances within the apartment.

Additionally, renters are responsible for small repairs in their home. This may include plunging a clogged toilet or changing a light bulb. However, if there are any duties a renter feels uncomfortable performing such as changing a light bulb in a high location, the renter should contact the maintenance staff for assistance.

Renters also have a responsibility to show common courtesy to other renters by not intentionally damaging or otherwise marring public areas. This includes vandalism, littering and even failure to pick up after dogs. Renters who fail to follow these rules of common courtesy may be subject to fines or other penalties according to the rental agreement.

Leasing Agent Responsibilities

The leasing agent and maintenance staff are generally held responsible for major items such as repairs to the exterior of the building, fixing appliances which are malfunctioning and dealing with plumbing issues such as leaky pipes. Additionally, the maintenance staff is responsible for intervening if the renter is having trouble with public utilities. Problem such as no hot water or heat to the apartment should be addressed by the maintenance staff in conjunction with the public utilities entity.

The leasing agent and maintenance staff is also responsible for maintaining the common areas. This may include keeping grassy areas manicured and other common areas looking clean and attractive.

When the Leasing Agent is Not Taking Responsibility

As previously discussed, the leasing agent has certain responsibilities to perform tasks and address concerns and complaints by the renters. However, when the leasing agent is not fulfilling these responsibilities it could create a harmful living environment for the renter. For example hot water is required to adequately clean dishes. This is why there should always be hot water to the apartment. Additionally, in severely cold weather the inability to heat the apartment due to faulty utilities or windows which are not properly sealed can create a hazardous condition for the renter.

Both of the examples mentioned above are situations in which the renter may put in a hazardous condition by the leasing agent’s negligence. In these situations the renter should contact the Department of Housing to determine the proper cause of action to take in this situation.

In some cases the renter may be informed the alleged transgression by the leasing agent is not actually his responsibility. However, in other situations the renter may be informed that the actions of the leasing agent are a serious violation of the rental agreement. In either case, the representative can provide information on how to proceed to achieve the desired results.

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How Much Apartment Can You Afford?

Deciding how much apartment they can afford is one of the most important decisions a renter will have to make. This decision will help to determine a number of factors include the size and location of the potential apartment as well as the types of amenities offered. Those who are interested in renting an apartment will have to consider all of their current expenses in comparison to their monthly cash flow. They will also have to determine whether or not there are changes they can make to their current budget to make a larger or more well situated apartment affordable.

Consider All of Your Expenses

When deciding how much apartment they can afford, renters should carefully consider all of their monthly expenses in relation to their monthly income. Expenses may include, but are not limited to, utilities such as gas, water and electric, telephone, cell phone, Internet services, cable television, car insurance, renter’s insurance, gas for car, cost of commuting to work, groceries and other incidental charges. Subtracting these costs from the monthly income will give the renter a good idea of how much money they can afford to spend on rent each month. Renters might also consider subtracting an additional amount out of their monthly income to give them the opportunity to save some money each month.

Expenses to be considered should also include expenses for entertainment purposes such as dining in restaurants, going to movie theaters or cultural events. Even movie rentals should be considered in this category. Considering these expenses is necessary because otherwise the renter may not allot a portion of their budget for such purposes and may find themselves unable to participate in some previously enjoyed leisure activities.

Is There Room for Improvement?

When examining the monthly budget, renter should take the opportunity to determine whether or not there is room for improvement in their current financial situation. For example a renter may find they are able to minimize their monthly bills by obtaining their car insurance and renter’s insurance from the same insurance carrier. The carrier may be willing to offer a discount to a customer who utilizes their services for more than one type of insurance. Likewise there may be the opportunity to minimize expenses by bundling services such as telephone, Internet and possibly even cable television.

Also, consider entertainment expenses as an opportunity for financial improvement. If a renter currently eats out in restaurants for dinner on both Friday and Saturday of every week, they could consider limiting these dining experiences to only one night a week or even only one night every other week. This can result in a significant cost savings which may enable the renter to afford a more expensive apartment.

Other areas where renters can sometimes cut expenses are on cell phone bills and cable television bills. Examine your cell phone bill carefully. If you are not using all of your minutes each month, it might be worthwhile to switch to a plan with fewer minutes. This would lower your monthly bill without causing you to make any sacrifices. One area where sacrificing might contribute to more monthly cash flow is with cable television. Renters who pay higher fees for premium channels can consider eliminating these channels. All of these small changes to monthly spending can contribute to the renter being able to afford a more expensive apartment which may be larger or in a better location than the apartment they would be able to afford without making changes.

Is There a Need for Improvement?

Although trimming superfluous expenses is always a good financial strategy, renters should determine if this is necessary in terms of their rental situation before making drastic changes. Once a renter has established the amount of money they can afford to spend in rent, they can start to look for available apartments in that price range. If the renter is happy with the choices available to them at this time, there may not be a need to make financial adjustments at this time. However, if the renter is not happy with the options available, financial changes and stricter budgeting are warranted.

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Getting Your Security Deposit Back

For many renters the subject of the security deposit is somewhat of a touchy subject. Most renters assume they should receive their security deposit back in its entirety as long as there is no significant damage done to the apartment. However, this is rarely true as there are number of factors which contribute to whether or not the security deposit or a portion of the deposit will be returned to the renter when they vacate the premises.

Did You Do Any Major Damage?

Certainly doing major damage to the apartment such as putting holes in the walls, breaking appliances or tearing up the flooring may warrant the security deposit being kept but even in these cases the leasing agent must justify these costs. In other words the leasing agent cannot use one damaged item to justify keeping the whole security deposit. Rather the leasing agent is obliged to determine a cost to repair the item. If this estimate is large enough to justify not returning the security deposit the renter should be informed of the estimated cost of repairing the apartment.

Is Your Apartment Clean Enough?

All apartments should be cleaned thoroughly before the tenant vacates the property. This should include extensive cleaning of all rooms of the apartment including the bedrooms, bathrooms and any common areas. A cleaning should also include cleaning of all of the blinds in the apartment. Blinds can be rather difficult to clean and many leasing agents charge approximately $10 per blind if they deem there is a need to clean these items. This can add up rather quickly if there are a number of windows in the apartment.

Many leasing agents also perform a number of standard cleaning functions when any resident vacates the property. This may include items such as cleaning out the refrigerator, shampooing the carpet or repainting the walls. When these items are required, there is typically a fee associated with each item. In many cases, adding up these required fees results in a number which is likely already approaching the sum of the security deposit. Additionally, leasing agents often only allow for one hour of cleaning services to prepare an apartment for the next residents. This is rarely enough time to complete the work and therefore renters wind up being charged an additional fee at an hourly rate.

Have You Read Your Contract Documents?

Renters who want to have the greatest chance of having a large portion of their security deposit refunded to them should be very familiar with their contract documents. This is important while living in the apartment as well as while getting ready to vacate the apartment. It is important to be familiar with the contract terms while living in the apartment because it can prevent the renter from making decorating choices which are explicitly prohibited by the rental agreement. These types of decisions can be costly in the long run because they may result in the renter being assessed for perceived damages by the leasing agent.

Renters should also carefully review the contract documents as they are preparing to vacate the property. This is important because it may help the renter to clean and make repairs to the apartment in accordance to guidelines set forth by the leasing agent. Doing this will make it much more likely the renter will not be assessed exorbitant fees at the conclusion of the rental agreement.

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Furnished or Unfurnished?

Renters will often be faced with the decision of whether to opt for a furnished apartment or an unfurnished apartment. The majority of apartments available for rent are likely to be unfurnished apartments but there are some apartments which are available with furnishings. There are some situations in which it makes sense to choose a furnished apartment. Likewise there are situations in which a furnished apartment is not a good idea. This article will discuss these situations in an effort to assist the reader in determining whether or not it is better to rent a furnished apartment or an unfurnished apartment.

What Does Furnished Mean?

A furnished apartment may mean different things to different people. Some renters may expect a furnished apartment to have each and every room completely furnished with every possible piece of furniture. Typical furnishings may include a bed, a dresser, nightstands, alarm clock with built in radio, a television, stereo equipment, DVD player, an entertainment center, couch, coffee table, end tables, kitchen table and kitchen chairs. It may also include dining room furniture such as a dining room table, chairs and a curial cabinet. Others may assume a furnished apartment includes only the necessary furnishings such as a bed, couch, kitchen table and chairs. This essentially eliminates all electrical equipment as well as furniture deemed to be decorative in nature such as a coffee table, end tables or nightstands.

When is a Furnished Apartment a Good Idea?

A furnished apartment is a good idea for recent college graduates who lived on campus in a dorm room prior to graduation. These students likely have very little furniture of their own. In this case, renting a furnished apartment may be more economical than purchasing enough furniture to live comfortably in the apartment.

The overall cost of a furnished apartment may be higher in the long run because the renter may pay more but those who are unable to pay a great deal of money upfront to furnish an apartment might not mind paying this additional amount. For these renters, they are not likely to notice the impact of a slightly higher monthly rent payment but they would definitely feel the impact of significant purchases such as a bed, couch or dining room set.

When is an Unfurnished Apartment a Good Idea?

There are certain situations in which an unfurnished apartment is a good idea. This includes a situation where the renter has already accumulated enough furniture to furnish the entire apartment. In this case, selecting a furnished apartment would not make sense because the renter would have to find a location to store either his own furniture or the furniture supplied by the apartment complex. The cost of storage can add up very quickly. Additionally, the renter probably pays a higher rent to stay in a furnished apartment.

An unfurnished apartment is also a good idea when the renter currently does not have any furniture but is looking forward to purchasing furniture and has already saved up enough money to make these purchases. In this situation the renter will likely select an unfurnished apartment and plan on shopping for furniture almost immediately after taking possession of the rental property.

Storing Extra Furniture

Renters who opt for a fully furnished apartment when they already have a sufficient amount of furniture have to determine what they will do with their furniture while they are staying in the rental apartment. The options are basically as follows:

* Sell or give away all currently owned furniture
* Store your own furniture
* Store the furniture which comes with the apartment

While each of the above options is certainly valid, the renter should seriously consider whether or not they want to pay additional storage fees just to rent a furnished apartment. Renters who plan to sell or donate their current furniture do not face this dilemma but those who plan to store one set of furniture should carefully consider the price of storage. They should also consult with the leasing agent to determine if there are any contract items which prohibit placing furniture owned by the apartment complex in an offsite storage facility. There may be provisions which allow for these items to be stored but require them to be stored onsite.

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Finding a Rental Apartment

Those who do not wish to purchase a home may find that renting an apartment is an ideal solution for their situation. An apartment can offer many of the conveniences of home ownership such as a functional living space offering the renter the opportunity to eat, sleep and entertain in their domicile. Renting can also offer additional amenities such as meeting spaces, pools, weight rooms or exercise equipment. These types of amenities are optional and may not be available in all rental situations. This article will discuss the art of finding a rental apartment that will suit all of your needs.

Renters who are interested in finding an apartment should consider a number of factors. These factors might include their budget, location, requirements and desires. The key to finding an ideal apartment to rent is to strike a balance of these factors. For example a renter may desire amenities such as a pool, hot tub, sauna, steam room and onsite theater but these options may not be available in his budget range. In this scenario, the renter will likely have to make some compromises which may include realizing not all of the desired amenities are feasible within the current budget or making the decision to allot additional funds for rent.

Set a Budget First

Budget is one of the primary concerns for those looking to rent an apartment. For these individuals, the search for an apartment should begin with the process of narrowing down the search for apartments to those that are within the set budget. It might be worthwhile to look at a few apartments which are priced slightly above the budget. This is because, depending on the vacancy rate, there may be an opportunity to negotiate a slightly lower rate which can bring the rent of the apartment to within the renter’s budgetary constraints. Alternately the renter may decide he is willing to pay a little more for certain features such as a larger living space, more desirable amenities or a choice location.

Choose a Location

Location is a very important factor for renters to consider when searching for an apartment. An ideal location is one which is not to far from family, work or leisure activities. Again this is a matter of personal preference and will depend largely on the desires of the renter. Some renters may favor a shorter commute to work because it affords them more time to spend with their families. Other renters may not have family close by and may opt to rent an apartment further from work if it is near access to an activity they enjoy such as skiing in the mountains or surfing in the ocean.

Renters should also consider the surrounding areas when choosing an apartment. Some renters may enjoy being near social activities such as movie theaters and shopping centers while others may prefer to rent an apartment in an established neighborhood apart from the commercial areas. Likewise some renters may prefer living in an apartment where there is nearby access to public transportation while others may not favor this option.

Consider the Requirements and Amenities

Finally, renters should consider their requirements and preferred amenities when searching for an apartment. Requirements might include criteria such as two or more bedrooms, two or more bathrooms or a minimum square footage. These are criteria which the renter feels they must have in order to function in the apartment. For example a family with two children might need 2-3 bedrooms while a single person may be able to function with only one bedroom. However, a single person who works from home may require an additional bedroom to use as an office.

Renters should also consider the features they would like to have in an apartment complex. This may include access to a pool or exercise equipment, the use of a home theater for residents or meeting facilities which are only available to residents. Renters should carefully consider these options and determine which are most important to them.

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Do Not Let the Furnishings Fool You

Renters who are viewing apartment complexes are often led to furnished models which have been tastefully decorated. Although the furnishings in these model apartments are usually very aesthetically appealing they also usually serve another purpose as well. This other purpose is to make the room appear larger than it is. There are decorator and furnishing techniques which can make a room in an apartment appear considerably larger than it really is. The size of the bed, the amount of furniture and the layout of the furniture are all items which should be carefully considered when viewing model apartments. This article will cover these three items and will provide useful information for renters who are trying to evaluate furnished apartments.

The Size of the Bed

Determining the size of the bed in a model apartment is important for the purposes of evaluating the apartment. If you are unsure of the size of the bed used in the model, ask the leasing agent for clarification. This is important because if the bed used in the model is a full size bed and your own bed is a king size bed, it will be difficult to make assumptions about the size of the bedroom. The differences in a full size bed and a queen size bed may not be as noticeable but renters should be aware a queen bed will result in less free space in the room. If the bed used in the model is not the same size as your own bed, take measurements to determine how well your own bed will fit in the room.

Is There Enough Furniture?

When viewing a furnished, model important it is important to note whether or not there is enough furniture in the room. For example there may be a kitchen table and only two chairs instead of four. This may make the room appear larger to those who are viewing the apartment but they are likely going to be disappointed when they move in.

Consider the furniture in other rooms as well. For example a bedroom which only has a bed and a nightstand will be decidedly less crowded than a bedroom which has a bed, two nightstands and a dresser. Your furniture may not be exactly the same size as the model furniture but there should be comparable items in each room.

Does the Layout Make Sense?

Renters should also carefully consider the layout of the furniture when visiting a furnished apartment. An apartment may feature all of the pieces of furniture the renter expects to see in the room but may position these pieces of furniture in a way that is not logical. Consider the family room as an example. There may be a couch, an entertainment center, a television set, a coffee table and two end tables but if these items are positioned strangely it can be deceiving. Most renters arrange their living room furniture in a manner which makes the area conducive to conversations as well as viewing of the television. If the television is positioned where it is not viewable from any of the seating options, the layout of the room is somewhat unnatural. It is not likely to be similar to the layout used by the renter and therefore does not offer an accurate representation of how the space will likely be used.

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Decorating a Rental House

Those who opt to rent a house as opposed to an apartment may still be held to certain restrictions regarding the type of decorating which can be done on the property. These restrictions may be stricter or more lenient than those typically enforced when a renter is renting an apartment property. This will largely depend on the preferences of the homeowners. Homeowners who do not want to see major modifications done to the property may place strict restrictions while those who want to see the property improved may allow the renter a great deal of freedom in their decorating options.

How Much is Too Much?

This can be a difficult question to answer when used in reference to how much decorating is permissible in a rental house. Many renters opt for a situation where they are renting a house as opposed to an apartment strictly because they are looking for more freedom in their decorating options. However, the renter may find this desired freedom is not available to them.

Some homeowners may allow the renter to make minor decorating changes such as painting the walls, hanging up pictures or installing decorative shelving. However, more extensive decorating items such as new flooring, knocking down walls or putting in windows might not be considered acceptable by some homeowners while others may allow the renter to perform such actions. Still others may require this type of work to be done but may place restrictions which specify all improvement work shall be done by a qualified professional.

Check with the Homeowner

When considering doing some decorating in a rental house, the renter should first carefully review all of their contract documents. This is important because the contract may clearly prohibit certain items. In this case the renter would know for sure that they are not allowed to perform these actions. However, the renter should not count on the contract documents to spell out every possible scenario. Therefore if a renter is considering making modifications to the rental house they should consult the owner before performing any work. They should also ask the homeowner to provide a written statement expressing their approval of the work to be completed.

The homeowner is the renters best resource of these types of questions because the homeowner has the best understanding of their intentions when they wrote the rental contract. They might have specified that no renter can alter the appearance of the apartment without the consent of the homeowner but they may have meant for this statement to only apply to certain situations. In these cases, seeking clarification and written approval can be very beneficial to the renter.

When in Doubt; Leave it Out

If renters are in doubt about whether or not to perform a specific decorating action and are unable to reach the homeowner for clarification, they should opt not to make the changes. This can save the renter a great deal of time and money in the long run by preventing them from incurring excess charges for repair of the apartment and wasting a great deal of time making an improvement which the homeowner may ask to have reversed in a short period of time. This is why renters should assume an action is prohibited unless they have concrete proof otherwise.

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