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8 Tips to Protect your Rental History

You will never fully understand the importance of having a good rental history until not-so-positive reports begin showing up on your rental history. When bad news shows up, you may find apartment communities and private landlords are no longer interested in renting to you. Not only will a negative rental history reduce your options in leasing - it will also set you back financially! When you have a negative rental history, most communities that consider broken leases, evictions, or housing debts will require you pay an additional risk fee or higher deposit. You may even find yourself wasting your hard-earned cash on non-refundable application fees because your applications keep getting denied!

If you rack up two or more evictions, broken leases, or property debts you may find that no apartment community or private landlord will lease to you. Then you will be stuck living with friends, relatives, or in an over-priced extended stay hotel. So please take it from us, make it a priority to protect your rental history!

Here are 8 tips to protect your rental history:

1. Pay rent in full and on time – always. Most evictions are filed because of non-payment of the rent on time. You make think it’s not a big deal if your landlord files an eviction and then you pay and stay. WRONG! Even if you eventually pay late - this is still being recorded on your rental history. If you have evictions filed on you and are never actually evicted this will make future landlords concerned that you will repeat this behavior if they lease to you. It is a huge frustration for apartment managers to file eviction just to collect rent.

2. Don’t forget to turn in your notice! Your lease may be up, but you are required to turn in a written notice to vacate. Check your lease contract to verify the number of days required to turn in proper notice. This is usually 30-60 days.

3. Don't break your lease - UNLAWFULLY. A job transfer, marital breakup, roommate moves out, or a loss of job are not a legal justification to break a lease. Whereas, starting active military duty or unlivable conditions (such as the landlord won't repair your air conditioner or remediate a pest infestation) are valid reasons. If you find that you need to break your lease always talk with your landlord about options you have to terminate your lease early & legally. Check your lease agreement for a “reletting clause” or an "early termination option." See our blog post: How to Legally Break your Lease in Texas

4. Don’t break any rules written in the lease contract. It is your responsibility to understand your lease agreement and to follow rules set forth by this agreement. You can face eviction for certain lease violations - even if you pay rent on time!

5. Don’t co-sign a lease for a friend or relative if you do not intend to be responsible for the lease. If the tenant you co-signed for breaks the lease, gets evicted, or damages the property you will be on the hook for this. This will reflect on YOUR credit and rental history!

6. Handle any conflicts with the landlord with respect and by following the law. Most disagreements between residents and apartment managers occur because of misunderstandings about the obligations taken on by each party in the lease agreement. A lease agreement is a legal binding contract. See our blog post: Handling Disputes with Your Landlord

7. At the end of your lease term – leave the apartment free of damages and clean. Do not give the apartment community a reason to keep your deposit or even worse charge you for property damages. Be sure to clean all rooms out when you leave. Clean the bathrooms, kitchen, and appliances, including floors and walls. Don’t leave anything in the apartment as you could be charged for removal. Try to leave the apartment as close to the way it was the day you moved-in.

8. Ask the manager/landlord to do a final walkthrough when you move out. Have your move in checklist in hand. You don't want to risk getting charged for things that were present when you moved in. By law, you are not responsible for damage caused by normal wear and tear, but the better condition you leave the rental unit in, the less likely the landlord will charge for cleaning and/or repairs. Shortly before you move out, do a walk through of the rental unit with your landlord. If you cannot get your landlord to come with you, get a witness to do a walk through with you. Take pictures or video of the rental unit to document the condition in which you left it. Some tenants even take the pictures with the front page of that day's newspaper to prove the pictures were taken when the tenant moved out as opposed to when the tenant moved in.

To sum it up: You want to leave with a zero balance at the end of your lease and a positive rental reference. Keep in mind if a landlord doesn’t have any reason to report negative information about you as a tenant, it will help keep your rental history report looking good. Therefore, making it easy to rent your next apartment!

And when you need help finding your next place we would love to assist you! Start your apartment search today!

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