Tips for Renters

Renter households increased from 34 million in 2005 to nearly 43 million in 2015. With the probability that more families will seek this housing, planning ahead can make the process easier. Working with trained staff at NeighborWorks organizations can help people become informed consumers of rental homes. Following these four tips can make renting a lot less stressful:

1. Avoid rental listing scams.
Scammers often advertise rentals that don’t exist or aren’t available, often known as phantom rentals, to trick people into sending money before they find out the truth. Signs you may have encountered a scam include a person telling you to wire money or they want the security deposit or first month’s rent before you’ve met or signed a lease. Report a scam by contacting local law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

2. Get your finances and credit in shape.
Protect your money and pay as little as you can for the apartment you want by strengthening your credit. Nearly half of renters are paying more than 30 percent of their incomes in rent, according to a recent report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. Financial counseling helps individuals strengthen their credit and establish savings goals. These habits can help you save enough money for a security deposit and help to improve your overall credit score. A good credit score is important because most landlords use a credit check to vet potential renters. Many NeighborWorks organizations such as CHP offer homeownership counseling.

3. Consider renter’s insurance.
Avoiding scams and strengthening your credit are essential. It’s also important to protect your belongings from loss or accidental damage.

Renter’s insurance protects the valuables inside your home whether you're living in an apartment or renting a house. If there were an incident like a fire or water leak, a landlord's insurance would cover the building itself but you would still need to replace your own belongings if damaged.

4. Select a moving company carefully.
If your friends or family are not assisting with the move, research moving companies and find a trustworthy one. Read online reviews and check social media, along with asking friends and family for a recommendation. The right moving company can make your relocation go smoothly. Get estimates from a few moving companies to compare prices.