Some Tips When You Rent A House
  • Take your time - Check newspaper classified advertisements or some college newspaper ( most of them have a classified section about roommates and housing) When you find an apartment, contact with the manager and inspect the unit. It is also good way to talk with other tenants in the building.
  • Never sign a lease / contract that you don't understand completely. This means you have to read a lease carefully and figure out the detailed information such as rental rate, deposit, length of occupancy, apartment rules, etc. If you sign for 1year lease, you must really careful if you can hold liable for whole year.
  • Deposit - In a lease or rental agreement, a landlord cannot require a non-refundable deposit. A security deposit is often required but a landlord may keep only those parts of cleaning and security deposits needed to repair damage caused by the tenant, to clean the premises, or to make up for unpaid rent. The manager should return the refundable part of the deposit. Deductions from the deposit must be itemized in writing.
  • Apartment sharing - If one roommate leaves without paying his or her share of the rent, the landlord has the right to collect the rent from the remaining tenants. So, you should be really careful to choose roommates who can fulfill their share of the obligation. Also, if you are going to live with others, talk with prospective roommates before you sing a lease. Talk about sleep and study habits, musical tastes, overnight guests, cleaning habits, etc.
  • Make sure you record the condition of your apartment when you move in. - It is important to note anything that may be wrong with the apartment : stains, holes in the walls, broken cupboards, etc. This is the best way to avoid disputes over your deposit.
  • Notice before you leave - When you intend to end your tenancy, you should give a notice to your landlord at least 30 days before.

Part of this material comes from The International Student Guide to Santa Barbara, developed by Jihyun Lee, from Seoul, Korea while attending the University of California at Santa Barbara.

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