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First-time renter tips

First-time renter tips

There comes a point in your life where you feel it is time to move out from home and start your own life. Perhaps you’ve found a job and you have a guaranteed income to make your monthly rental payments. Or perhaps you feel you’ve come of age and you have a strong will to be your own independent person. Whatever your reasons or motivation remember this milestone comes with tremendous responsibility and liability. As such we have put together a guide on first-time renter tips.

Your budget

In the first place, it is important that you get a place that you can easily and comfortably afford. According to experts, your earnings must be no less than 2.5 the rental rate. However, remember that your rent is only a fraction of your entire expenses. Your other expenses will include food, utility bills, as well as transport costs, among others. It is also important to adopt a saving culture and start putting something aside for a rainy day.

Besides these expenses, you will also be expected to pay a security deposit. Most landlords require a security deposit equivalent to three months rent. You must keep all of these financial requirements in mind and be certain that you can meet them. It is also important that you fully comprehend all of your financial obligations before you sign any legally binding contracts. In the event of uncertainty then you must seek clarity before you sign the lease.


One of the most important requirements from all landlord is a rental history. After all, every proprietor wants to be certain of the type of tenant they are getting. As a first-time renter, you will not have a rental history. However, some landlords are willing to overlook this and take a chance in first-time renters. Alternatively, some landlords will require proof of employment, as well as proof that you will be able to afford the rentals. Moreover, some landlords will require that someone who meets the attributes mentioned above co-sign as surety. Remember that this is the start of your rental journey, as such ensure that you are responsible, accountable and you build a positive history.


Firstly, ask yourself, if the place is the right fit for you. Consider the practicality of the place you’re interested in moving into. Is the layout, as well as the amenities conducive to your lifestyle and needs. For example, if you have issues with stairs then it is better that you opt for a single story rental property. It is also important that if you have any medical conditions or disabilities, then your potential property must have features that cater to your special needs.

Surprisingly, a lot of first-time renters neglect to ascertain if their furniture will even fit into the property. This rookie mistake is a recipe for disaster. Imagine finding out when you’re moving in that some of your furniture doesn’t fit through the door. Moreover, ensure that all the appliances that come with the property are in excellent working condition. If anything is not working then draw the landlord’s attention to it immediately.

The lease

The lease is a legally binding agreement and therefore should not be taken lightly. You must understand all the items mentioned in the lease and ensure that you are comfortable with them. Get clarity on any ambiguous issues before signing the lease. In the event that you are sharing the property with another renter, then insist that they are also in the lease. You do not want to find yourself stuck with anything they do simply because you’re the one with the signature on the lease. If you have any special needs that require the landlord’s approval make sure they are also mentioned in the lease. For example, if you are a smoker, ensure you are permitted to smoke on the premises.


You are also at liberty to research and verify the landlord relationship with previous tenants. In addition, get a move-in check sheet. This check sheet will help you keep an inventory of all the items in the property. Moreover, you will be able to keep a record of the condition of each and every item. Also, keep written records of any communication you make to the landlord.


Most first-time renters do not realize that they need insurance. However, renters insurance is a necessity. This is the insurance that will provide cover for your personal belongings. In most instances, the landlord will have homeowners insurance to cover their physical structure. But this insurance will not cover your personal property. As such, it is up to you to get the appropriate insurance that will cover your assets.


Teddy Chibanguza

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