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Is This Your First Time Renting a Single-Family Home?

house with a red front doorRenting a home is different than renting an apartment.

You've got a lot more responsibility to shoulder when renting a home than when living in an apartment complex.

Here are a few things to know when upgrading your housing from an apartment to a single-family home:

  • You're fully responsible for the inside of the home. Basically that means any damage that is caused by you, your friends, or visitors while you live in the home is your responsibility to pay for. When you decide to vacate the property, the home must be released in the same condition it was rented in. If you've painted walls during your tenancy, you must return them to the former color or the property manager will do so and take the cost out of your deposit.

  • The outside of the home, including the garage, yard, and landscaping, is under your care, too. It must be mowed, trimmed, and weeded on a regular basis. See our post about taking care of the yard.

  • In addition to the requirements of your lease, some neighborhoods have Home Owner Associations that have a say in the care of your yard, landscaping, and sidewalks. You're responsible for learning about the HOA rules that govern the home you've rented, and you must pay any fines from your own pocket. Violations might include weeds, trash, and overgrown shrubs and trees in the yard. You can also be fined for dead or overgrown grass, garbage can placement and other exterior issues.

  • You're responsible for alerting the property manager about leaks, appliance failure, and needed repairs. Waiting to tell the manager about issues could lead to further damage that you might be charged for.

  • You'll need to use the property management company's repair reporting process. Ask about the process while signing the lease and you should be fully prepared to handle any problems that arise.

Ways to Keep the Home Maintained

  • Check faucets and electrical connections inside and out on a regular basis for leaks and possible electrical failure.
  • Replace a/c and water filters as required. Typically, property management companies handle seasonal upkeep of heaters, swamp cooler, and air conditioning systems and the property owner pays for this process.
  • Make sure screens, doors, and windows are in good condition. Washing windows, doors, and screens on a regularl basis will help make the exterior of the home look fresh and cared for.
  • Report damage from storms and weather disturbances to the property manager.
  • If you don't know how to take care of a yard, hire a lawn care company to do it for you. 

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