Know Before You Rent

Level the Playing Field with Your Landlord with Better Information

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When it comes to renting apartments or houses, what you don’t know can hurt you. By doing some research, you can help ensure that you pay a fair price for your property, and are renting from someone you can trust.

Here are a few things you should know about as you’re searching for housing:

* Do some research to see what other landlords in the neighborhood are charging. You can do this by driving around the neighborhood, comparing similar properties on Craigslist or by using a number of Internet tools that will give you a ballpark estimate for rent in the neighborhoods you are looking.

* Conduct your own rental history report. You might be asking, “How can I see my rental history report?” It’s easy, and you can use the same type of services that your landlord would for tenant screening. My Rental History Report specializes in giving renters access to their own reports so they can find out what their landlords might be seeing.

* Research your potential landlord. It’s always a good idea to conduct a quick Internet search on your landlord to make sure he or she isn’t a frequent recipient of complaints from unhappy tenants.

* Know your rights. Brush up on your legal rights as a tenant by reviewing them at the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website.

* Read the fine print. Before you sign a lease, make sure you are clear on your responsibilities, and those of the landlord. If a dispute occurs, you can easily refer back to your lease if your landlord isn’t delivering on promises made there.