Renters’ Monthly To-Do List
Renting a house or an apartment offers a great deal of flexibility without the commitment of ownership. Although the owner is responsible for repairs, property taxes, and homeowners insurance, you, as the renter, are still obliged to certain duties. To ensure your tenant experience translates to great references and receiving your security deposit in full, use Southern Residential Leasing’s monthly to-do list for renters.
The Month You Move In
- Put utilities in your name.
Typically a property management agency or landlord will give you one business week to have the water, electricity, and cable transferred. Approach that timeline with a sense of urgency, as few things are as startling as waking up to learn you have no power or water.
- Complete a property evaluation and take photos.
To protect yourself and your security deposit, take photos of any damage or items in disrepair within a few days of moving in. Property managers require an official evaluation, called a property condition report, to be returned within ten days of moving in. Include things like carpet stains, broken light fixtures, and so on. Be sure to save the photos in case questions arrive when you move out.
- Update your address.
More than likely, you completed a change of address form with the postal service before moving, but now you need to contact your bank, credit card companies, and subscription services to update your address to avoid service delays and delivery interruptions.
- Pay rent on time.
This is a no-brainer, but then again, it’s easy to get busy and suddenly glance at the calendar to realize not only has the first of the month passed, but so has the second—many property managers and landlords begin leverage late fees after the second day of the month. To avoid late fees, however, take advantage of Southern Residential Leasing’s Tenant Login, where you can easily schedule your payment online each month.
- Change the A/C filter (No, really. Change it.).
Again, such an easy task, but often overlooked. A dirty filter is a hazard on multiple levels. Not only is the air being circulated throughout your home allergen-laden, the air conditioner has to work harder which means you’ll see an increase in your electric bill. The worst case scenario is that the air conditioner is overworked and a fan motor burns out, leaving an expensive repair. The average A/C repair ranges from $200-$500. If your lease stipulates you are to change the filter monthly (most do), you could be responsible for a hefty portion of the repair cost.
- Notify the property manager/landlord of maintenance issues.
If the garbage disposal stops working, don’t forego telling the property manager or landlord just because you don’t use it that often. Typically, catching a glitch early prevents more extensive repairs later. Renting from a property management firm like Southern Residential Leasing means you are far more likely to receive a prompt, effective repair, compared to renting from a private individual.
The Month Before Your Lease Ends
- Submit your intent to vacate in writing.
You need to provide a minimum of 30 days’ notice, in writing, that you do not plan to renew your lease even if your lease is ending. Most property management firms require that you submit an “Intent to Vacate” form, which they provide. This gives the owner/property manager time to advertise for a new tenant and do a final walk through of the property.
- Set cut-off dates, cleaning services, and key return.
Like most landlords and leasing agencies, Southern requires you to leave utilities on for five days after your scheduled move out date, and provide carpet cleaning receipts before your final inspection. Don’t forget to drop off the keys.
- Settle terms to renew.
If you plan to renew your lease rather than move, declare your intent in a letter to the landlord or property manager for approval. Following Southern’s monthly to-do list helps ensure your tenancy as long as possible.
Visit Southern Residential Leasing today to find a rental home in your area.