Renting an apartment is a great way to save money, especially if your living arrangements are not permanent. Many people stress the importance of finding a good landlord, but you often don't realize until you move in that it's just as important to be a responsible tenant.
So once you've found the perfect apartment, completed your walkthrough and moved those boxes, how do you make sure that you're getting the best renting experience? You can start by avoiding these common mistakes.
You never know how long you'll be in your apartment. You may want to customize and personalize your new place immediately, but don't get too carried away. The more you do to the apartment, the more there is to undo when you move out.
You might not own the apartment, but it's still filled with your belongings—including yourself. Remember to lock your door and secure your windows. Here's something to consider: ask your landlord to install a peephole (or for permission to do it yourself.) It may seem like a stretch, but you don't know if it's possible unless you ask!
When hanging curtains or decorating your apartment, make sure that you ask permission before drilling holes, painting walls, or doing anything permanent. Often permanent changes will need to be undone upon moving out, or you will be charged for them.
That carpet stain in the bedroom might seem like a minor issue. But in reality, it's a problem that will cost you when you move out. Moral of the story? Be careful! Treat your apartment as though you own it.
From minor scratches on the wall to missing floor tiles, it's important to get problems fixed as soon as they arise. If for no other reason, a little problem could soon become a bigger one if left untreated. When it's time to move, you'll be held responsible if you don't speak up sooner.
Read more: May a Landlord Choose Not to Renew a Lease?
You insure your health and your car, so why not other things that are important to you? Most people don’t realize how important renter’s insurance is until it is too late. Don’t let that be you.
Read more: Renters Insurance: What You Need to Know
This may seem obvious, but it's a point that deserves stressing. If you made a list of fun things that you like to do in your spare time, there’s a good chance that cleaning wouldn't be on it. However, cleaning your apartment consistently will save you a giant headache when it's time to move out.
Read more: Apartment Cleaning Mistakes: Are You Guilty?
Some people fear that they might be blamed for any problems that they report to their landlord, but it is actually something that every tenant should do. If you don’t let your landlord know about that faucet leak, it could get worse and you could get blamed for it when it might have been a relatively simple fix in the first place.
Ever looked at your utility bills and wished that you could just rip them in half? You might not be able to get rid of them altogether, but you might be paying more than you need to for utilities each month. How often do you leave your heating or air conditioning on when you go to work for the day? Switch it off when you leave, or use a programmable thermostat. There's no need to pay to heat or cool an empty apartment.
Read more: Saving Money on Utilities
If you live in certain states, such as California, Missouri, and Maryland, you could be receiving tax benefits for renting a property. Check your state tax laws to see if you're missing out on possible tax breaks. Cha-ching!
Photo credits: Apartment Guide, Shutterstock / krsmanovic, Karen Grigoryan, StockCube, revers, Olivier Le Queinec, Gemenacom, isak55, Alan Poulson Photography, Karen Roach