5 Questions Every First-Time Renters Need to Ask (VIDEO)
First-time apartment renters will usually have a lot of questions regarding a rental unit. Apartment hunting to security deposits, to credit scores, are the top questions people usually have. Renting an apartment is a time-consuming task that many Americans face. When people are ready to take the first steps to move in, there are requirements that need to be done prior to filing an application.
First-time renters need to show proof of income by providing the latest paystubs and or W2 forms. In some large cities, landlords require more documentation than others. Far are the days where renters can pay cash every month.
1. Landlords Have Requirements
The answer is quite simple, it’s a guarantee that you won’t go crazy and destroy the apartment. Normal wear and tear are expected but if you like to throw frat parties every weekend and have people punching holes on the wall that 2-month security will cover it. Most renters don’t understand that the landlord has to secure him or herself too; if you decide to let your cats scratch the kitchen walls the landlord needs a way to cover the cost of that. Not to mention the cost of materials and labor, it gets expensive pretty quickly.
2. Background Check
Security deposits vary from state to state and it also depends on your credit score. If you’re a young college student who never rented an apartment before you will probably have to give a deposit of 1 to 2 months but if you’ve been renting for the past 10 years and have a decent 700+ credit score you will probably be asked to put down a security deposit.
Another example is if the potential renter makes 3 to 4 times more of the rent of the apartment. Also, keep in mind that every state in the United States allows landlords to charge a security deposit; the amount will vary from an apartment building to an apartment building. Some landlords charge as little as $100 while others don’t have a limit. I heard of someone who didn’t have any type of credit history or identification (for some reason) and they were forced to give a one-year security deposit. Even though this is not common situation landlords are allowed to charge whatever amount they want.
3. What Are the Reasons My Landlord Could Use My Security Deposit?
The state requires the landlord to repair what needs to be repaired in the apartment but if something is done on purposes like a hole in the wall or a chewed-up wall that your K-9 did the landlord will use the money from your security deposit.
When I first moved into my first apartment the next-door neighbors had 2 teenage boys who would always wrestle and there were times that I thought they were going to knock down the entire wall that divided our two apartments. I was pretty sure those walls were full of holes. Drywall isn’t made to sustain much weight or pressure it’s used because it’s extremely fire resistant. This is a great example of when your landlord will use your security deposit. The law requires the landlord to keep it in a bank account separate from his or her personal account. That simple.
4. Do Landlords Keep The First Months Rent?
This is a common question among apartment renters. Many states have different laws on when you’ll receive your security deposit if you do. The state of Tennessee has no hard-and-fast deadline for security deposit returns; while the state of New York only requires that deposits be returned within “a reasonable time,” As expensive as rent is in New York it is only right that your security deposit is returned in a reasonable time.
The most common time renters have returned their deposit is an average of 15-60 days. This time period is very common in many states. Arkansas has to be the worst place for renters. Renters will be arrested if they are “1 day late” yes you read it right, “1 day late”. Arkansas laws are so screwed up for renters that tenants are going to jail for being a day late.
5. What Could I do to Get My Security Deposit Back?
This is the question every renter has. What could I do to get my security deposit back? The best thing you could do is to respect the property and your apartment from the beginning. Keep in mind that there were more people trying to rent the apartment before you came along.
If you’re like some renters that scratched the walls or like to hang up pictures and nailed hundreds of nails in the wall go ahead and paint it yourself. The apartment will look more respectable and it will increase the chances of getting your security deposit back. Another great idea is to take pictures when you first move in, this way you’ll have proof of the bad paint job or the small holes in the wall.