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Blog » Renters » 5 Important Questions to Ask Yourself Before Renting a New Apartment

5 Important Questions to Ask Yourself Before Renting a New Apartment

by | | Dec 7, 2018 | 10 min read |

Apartment hunting is never easy.

Moving is even worse, however, so it’s important to approach the rental process armed with the necessary knowledge and tools to aid in the process.

We’ve gathered all the most important and necessary tips for you to ask yourself before renting a new apartment!

Question 1: What is your budget?

At the end of the day, money rules the world, and your budget will greatly determine your options for your new apartment.

Most landlords use your annual income as a measuring stick for rent; experts at Fortune recommend that your rent does not exceed about one third of your annual income.

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So, for example, say you’re interested in this 1bd, 1ba listed in Los Angeles on Onerent, At $1,995 a month, you will pay approximately $23,940 each year. That means your annual salary ($23,490 x 3) should at least exceed $71,820 in order for you to safely and comfortably budget your finances.

Nothing is worse than moving into a beautiful new home that makes you house poor, barring any future enjoyment. Instead, budget correctly, and you can have your cake and eat it too!

 

Question 2: How do I budget utilities?

Don’t forget to consider other expenses (such as food and beverage, entertainment, etc.) when creating your budget, because they will greatly shape your monthly spending.

Utilities will also take a big chunk, and you should take into account anything within the unit that could further increase costs.  For example, a western facing unit with direct sunlight will drastically increase your cooling bills, especially in warmer areas.

 

Question 3: What upfront costs will I need to pay?

When moving, many make the mistake of budgeting for the rental truck… and not much else. Moving is a costly process, and there are many costs to consider beyond the security deposit and rental fees.

Once you settle into your new place, your new utility providers will likely require an initial deposit. Your property manager should be able to provide more information on what exactly to expect.

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Question 4: Do I need a cosigner?

If you are a new renter or have subpar credit (typically a credit score of 600 or less, according to The Mortgage Reports), a cosigner may be necessary. A cosigner assumes financial responsibility for the entirety of your lease, regardless of whether they physically live there. It is an extra layer of protection for homeowners when dealing with new renters or renters who have a less than stellar rental history.

If you do not have a cosigner, sometimes landlords will accept an additional payment upfront for added security. Character references will also serve as a helpful alternative to rental references.

How Onerent offers a seamless rental experience

Apps like Onerent are fantastic for finding your new dream rental. Within the app, you can contact landlords or property management to inquire about availability, set up a tour, and discuss details.

The other great thing about Onerent is that it breaks down the expenses and fees into a simple format that is easy for prospective renters to understand, to include any applicable application fees.

Typically, a deposit accompanies a signed lease and usually is equivalent to one month’s rent, if not slightly more. Credit and rental history can also impact the required deposit.

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Property management can be a rewarding experience with many perks. Numbered among the duties are leasing activities, collecting security deposits and rent, maintaining dwellings to a certain standard and adhering to all laws related to the profession.. Further, the property manager must ensure compliance with all laws governing the conducting of business in the state, including workplace safety, sexual harassment, discrimination and the like. In short, there are a number of very specific requirements for California property managers. Among them are:

Possession of a Real Estate Broker’s License

You’ll need a real estate broker’s license, or you must work for an individual who has one to operate as a property manager in the State of California. You must demonstrate specific training in the field and pass a written examination administered by the state’s Department of Real Estate to get a broker’s license. The only exception is owning the property and managing it yourself. Read more about getting real estate license here.

Conformity with Health, Safety and Building Codes

Property managers are required to ensure residential rental units meet all applicable health, safety and building codes. This of course means they have to be familiar with them. Tenants have refused to pay rent until units are brought up to code and the California State Supreme Court has ruled the action is defensible.

Proper Administering of Security Deposits

Security deposits are limited to a maximum of double the monthly rent for unfurnished living spaces. Deposits must be held as if in escrow and cannot be used for any purpose other than recompensing repairs, cleaning efforts, or lost rental income if a tenant moves out owing back rent. Inspections must be conducted when a new tenant moves in to document the condition of the unit. Another inspection must be conducted when a tenant moves out to compare the results of the move-in inspection. If damage is found, the security deposit can be employed to correct it, but the tenant is to be given a choice of hiring someone to do it (or doing it themselves). Deposits must be refunded within 21 days of a move and deductions must be itemized with supporting receipts for amounts over $126. Tenants have four years to dispute the handling of a security deposit. These are a few security deposit mistakes to avoid.

Compliance with Rent Control Ordinances and Policies

Rent control ordinances can be found in all of the state’s major metroplexes. This has become a hot topic in California’s largest cities as rents have escalated over the last few years. Property managers must be familiar with the rules governing the city in which their properties are located and make sure they operate within the guidelines of the ordinance—paying strict attention to the nuances of their area. For example, some cities exempt town homes from rent caps, but forbid evicting tenants from them without just cause simply to get a better-paying tenant in the property. Other metros have subtle differences like requiring interest payments on security deposits while many do not. Be sure to also download a copy of the rent control cheat sheet for free.

It is the responsibility of the property manager to be aware of these things and ensure the property operates within the rules.

Join the Onerent Realtor Partner program and start growing your business with our connections. Learn more here:

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Property management can be a rewarding experience with many perks. Numbered among the duties are leasing activities, collecting security deposits and rent, maintaining dwellings to a certain standard and adhering to all laws related to the profession.. Further, the property manager must ensure compliance with all laws governing the conducting of business in the state, including workplace safety, sexual harassment, discrimination and the like. In short, there are a number of very specific requirements for California property managers. Among them are:

Possession of a Real Estate Broker’s License

You’ll need a real estate broker’s license, or you must work for an individual who has one to operate as a property manager in the State of California. You must demonstrate specific training in the field and pass a written examination administered by the state’s Department of Real Estate to get a broker’s license. The only exception is owning the property and managing it yourself. Read more about getting real estate license here.

Conformity with Health, Safety and Building Codes

Property managers are required to ensure residential rental units meet all applicable health, safety and building codes. This of course means they have to be familiar with them. Tenants have refused to pay rent until units are brought up to code and the California State Supreme Court has ruled the action is defensible.

Proper Administering of Security Deposits

Security deposits are limited to a maximum of double the monthly rent for unfurnished living spaces. Deposits must be held as if in escrow and cannot be used for any purpose other than recompensing repairs, cleaning efforts, or lost rental income if a tenant moves out owing back rent. Inspections must be conducted when a new tenant moves in to document the condition of the unit. Another inspection must be conducted when a tenant moves out to compare the results of the move-in inspection. If damage is found, the security deposit can be employed to correct it, but the tenant is to be given a choice of hiring someone to do it (or doing it themselves). Deposits must be refunded within 21 days of a move and deductions must be itemized with supporting receipts for amounts over $126. Tenants have four years to dispute the handling of a security deposit. These are a few security deposit mistakes to avoid.

Compliance with Rent Control Ordinances and Policies

Rent control ordinances can be found in all of the state’s major metroplexes. This has become a hot topic in California’s largest cities as rents have escalated over the last few years. Property managers must be familiar with the rules governing the city in which their properties are located and make sure they operate within the guidelines of the ordinance—paying strict attention to the nuances of their area. For example, some cities exempt town homes from rent caps, but forbid evicting tenants from them without just cause simply to get a better-paying tenant in the property. Other metros have subtle differences like requiring interest payments on security deposits while many do not. Be sure to also download a copy of the rent control cheat sheet for free.

It is the responsibility of the property manager to be aware of these things and ensure the property operates within the rules.

Join the Onerent Realtor Partner program and start growing your business with our connections. Learn more here:

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Team Onerent
About the Author
Team Onerent writes and curates insightful real estate articles from the point of views of our entire publishing staff. Newsworthy topics regarding company and industry news are written by our team that we believe are worth sharing. Team Onerent of the blog represents Onerent Property Management who provides a hassle-free rental service compared to the traditional property manager. Through a combination of automation and the careful human touch, Onerent’s technology enables its team to provide on-demand showings, instant renter screening, AI-powered leasing data, proactive maintenance, guaranteed rent payouts, and 24/7 support.

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