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Renting and Leasing

    • Before you write a check for an application fee or a deposit on an apartment, ask about the length of the lease, the amount of rent, and the amount of deposit.

    • Make sure the lease specifies that water service is included, or that it is billed at the prevailing rate in the community.

    • Never sign an apartment lease on the spot. Take it home with you and read it. If you don't understand something, put question marks next to the item and get an explanation.

    • If you pay a deposit or an application fee for an apartment and decide not to rent the apartment, you probably will lose the money.

    • Always add a clause to an apartment lease giving you the right to terminate the contract before its normal expiration if your circumstances change.

    • Many leases renew automatically unless you notify the landlord that you are leaving.

    • Make sure to be present for the move-in inspection, and note everything you can find wrong with the apartment. Be present for the move-out inspection, too.

    • If a landlord doesn't give you back a security deposit, you have the right to sue in small claims court.

    • Renting from a private owner is fine, but be aware of the danger of not being able to renew your lease, or of the owner being foreclosed upon.

    • If your landlord fails to respond to maintenance requests, send written requests. If a landlord doesn't respond to a breakdown that makes the apartment unlivable, consider paying for the repair yourself and deducting the amount from your next month's rent.

    • If you know you're going to be evicted, try to make some arrangements to move your possessions, either to a friend's house or into storage.

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Becoming a Landlord: How To Find a Good Tenant

The key rule in real estate is obviously “location, location, location.” We  have all heard that before. If becoming a landlord is in your future, you’ll want to follow the key rule to owning an investment property: “tenant, tenant, tenant.” 5 tips that will help landlords find great tenants Whether ...

The $15 Insurance Policy All Renters Need

More than 1 in 3 of Americans now rent a home instead of owning, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council. That makes renters insurance a necessity, though I often have trouble convincing people to get it. Why you need renters insurance Renters insurance typically costs around $10 or $15 ...

Rent payment can now help (or hurt) your credit score

Rent payment can now help (or hurt) your credit score

Renters who pay their rent on time every month may soon find their credit scores getting a nice boost. But one of the credit bureaus isn't playing nice with renters on this new effort...

Timely Rent Payments Will Be Factored Into Your Credit Score

Renters who pay their rent on time each and every month may soon find their credit scores getting a nice boost. If you are a homebuyer and you have a mortgage, that mortgage is reported to the credit bureaus each month. But if you are a renter -- which is ...

Real estate projections for 2014

Real estate projections for 2014

Will 2014 be a buyers' or a sellers' market ? And what if you're a renter? Clark has the latest scoop from the real estate industry.

The price of rent is headed down

2014 looks set to be the year of low rent if you're willing to accept the shopping challenge! Here are some tips to get you started. Apartment complexes are being radically overbuilt across much of the country. Everybody in the Big Money crowd all at once decided the next El ...

Negotiate a lower rent

Negotiate a lower rent

Rents are coming down after a long run up. It's time to negotiate. Clark explains.

Rental rates are about to ease up

Rental rates are about to ease up

Clark explains why home renters will soon be finding more money in their pockets every month.

Surrounded by moving boxes as they prepare to move, the Jones family including Daniel, Deirdre and Angela, 14, sit in their living room. The family was finishing paperwork to move into a single family home.

Micro-housing lets you cut housing costs in half

For people just starting out in life, it's becoming more difficult to afford a place to live. Bunking up with several roommates is becoming more common around the country. Some time ago, I talked to flight attendant who had two children recently. When her home flight base was closed, she ...

Home buying and selling mistakes

We're coming up one of the housing market’s peak buying and selling times. With that in mind, what are the biggest mistakes made by both sellers and buyers? For sellers, I find the number one mistake they make is in selecting an agent. If you're interviewing agents, don’t list with ...

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