DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - The Dayton Better Business Bureau President and CEO John North offered tips to 2 News Today about what apartment hunters need to know before signing a lease.
Know your rights as a renter. Check with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to determine what the local renter laws are.
Make a list of what you can't live without and what you'd be willing to do without. This can help you prioritize what's important and not so important in a rental.
Make sure you visit different apartment locations. Don't rely on Web sites for details and pictures.
Don't sign a lease until you carefully review it. It should include details like rent due dates, if it's a yearly or month-to-month lease, what your security deposit covers and the conditions for deductions, as well as, conditions which may cause your rent to increase or fees to be added. Keep a copy for your records.
Look over the condition of the apartment before moving in. Make sure to document every flaw and defect and be sure to take photos of your unit.
Consider renters insurance. Landlords are rarely liable for your belongings if they're damaged or stolen. Pay attention to deductibles and coverage limits.
Determine how maintenance and repair issues are handled. For example, some apartment complexes consider light bulb replacement to be the landlord's responsibility.
Don't pay cash. Pay by check or credit card when making the security deposit and rent. Typically the security deposit is first and last month's rent.
Your BBB can help by providing a list of BBB Accredited rental and property management companies and business reviews on ones you're considering. More information can be found at http://www.dayton.bbb.org
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