Florida-Renter-Rights

If you appreciate the freedom to move, are short on a hefty down payment and have shaky credit, renting is right for you. Renters frequently enjoy high end amenities, while allowing the landlord to take care of maintenance and repairs.

“Those who rent have a lower monthly insurance cost,” said Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance. “Those who own, are required to maintain a homeowner’s insurance policy, while those who rent can purchase renter’s insurance for less money, while getting the same quality coverage.”

Preparation is essential when gearing up to find a good rental home. Details can easily become overwhelming if you are not organized. A good place to start is by making a list of your priorities. How many bedroom and bathrooms do you feel you need?

Is location an issue, do you need close proximity to school, work or leisure activities? What amenities are you looking for, a dishwasher, outdoor space, storage space, parking or a fitness center?

Once your list is complete, it’s time to determine your budget. Financial services company, Intuit, recommends paying no more than 25 percent of your gross monthly salary for rent. Remember to figure in utilities and renter’s insurance.

If you are looking to move into an area with higher rents, you can tweak your budget by possibly moving money from one area, such as groceries and place more toward rent.

Another step in preparation for renting a new place is to checking your credit. Almost every landlord or rental company will run a credit check and you do not want to be caught off guard by something on your credit report. The top credit agencies, Equifax, Transunion and Experian are required by the FTC to offer one free credit report to consumers each year.

Despite the myth, requesting your credit report will not affect your credit score. Gathering your paperwork is another way you could save time. Some rentals require a letter of employment, pay stubs and a reference letter from your previous landlord.

Next comes finding your ideal place to rent. There is no shortage of online resources. Some helpful websites include Craigslist, Zillow or Apartments.com. If good schools are a priority for you, GreatSchools.org, lists available rental property in specific school zones, while rating public and private schools in the area.  While it may seem time consuming, the good old method of driving around looking for rentals can prove beneficial.

This will give you the opportunity to check out a neighborhood and see the rental up close. Pictures on a website might not show the area surrounding the rental which is significant. It can also give you the chance to find an unexpected gem.

Once you have found your future home, make sure to do a walk-through before signing the lease. This will keep you free of responsibility for damage done by the previous tenants.  Test out faucets, lights, toilets, appliances and locks on doors and windows. You might also want to check outlets to see if they are working as well as note wall and floor damage.  Read over the lease carefully before signing.

GreatFlorida Insurance can help keep your belongings protected in your new rental home. We can craft a rental insurance policy to uniquely fit your needs and budget. Our independent insurance agents are conveniently located throughout Florida to serve you.

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