There are multiple advantages to renting a home, but there are a few pitfalls as well. Regardless, the best way to make the most of your rental experience is to be informed. If you’re working with a rental property manager or real estate firm focused on the rental market, then you’re already in touch with a professional who can answer your questions and address your concerns.
For example, you’ve probably heard or read about the many myths about renting. We're here to help set the record straight -- so you can make informed decisions as a potential tenant.
Here are a few common myths (and facts) about renting:
Bad Credit Means You Can’t Rent.
Virtually every rental situation requires a credit check, but less-than-perfect credit does not automatically disqualify you. Factors such as sustained employment (and proof through pay stubs) and personal or other rental references can take precedence over a poor credit score. When in doubt, it's always a good idea to ask up front what type of credit parameters are going to be used to qualify you for a rental.
You Can Be Evicted At Will.
Any occupant named on a signed lease is protected from frivolous justification for eviction. This is a great case for reading and understanding the provisions of your lease because there are justifications for eviction IF you’ve broken the tenets of the lease agreement. Local rules vary, but just about any locality has very specific processes that must be followed to evict a tenant. If you’re at risk and feel it is unjustified, check with local authorities.
A Management Company or Landlord Is Responsible For All Repairs.
While it is true that your landlord or management company is responsible for general maintenance and repair of the property, you must know exactly which items are yours to handle. These include self-initiated modifications and any damages you may have caused. In general, a landlord or property manager is primarily concerned with protecting the property, so it is always best to inform them of problems as soon as possible. Delaying notification may increase the damage that occurs, and negligence in reporting could mean that you’re on the hook for the repairs.
Repairs and Maintenance Can Be Deducted From Rental Payments.
It may seem like a good idea to take care of some maintenance or repair issues yourself. However, as mentioned above, it may not be your issue to handle (and you may inadvertently cause more damage.) If you have a problem, report it to the manager or landlord and give them the opportunity to correct it. Making repairs and deducting your expenses from monthly rent could cause you big problems unless you have discussed and made arrangements in advance with the manager/landlord.
A Landlord or Manager Can Enter Your Home At Any Time.
There are several reasons why a manager or landlord may need to enter your property without notice, such as an emergency (like a water leak). For the most part, they respect your privacy and will provide notice and make arrangements if they ever need to enter your home when you’re not there.
You’re Throwing Money Away By Renting.
It is true that appreciated value for the property you own is a big factor in net worth. However, it's also true that you can find many great economic reasons to rent. Renting also affords flexibility, such as if you’re moving to a new town, you can get to know the area before you buy. Renting may also fit your budget and current lifestyle better while giving you time to save and prepare for homeownership.
Renting, be it in a large rental community or a private home, is a business transaction which requires each party to be protected. That way, both sides are prepared to meet the needs and expectations of the other. When shopping for a rental home, being informed will help you make the best decisions. If you have questions, don't be afraid to ask!