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Apartment Renting – A Tenant’s Outlook

An apartment rental is often the place of residence (home) for young persons – sometimes young couples – venturing out to start a life of their own, away from the safety of their parents’ home, and into what has often been described as “the harsh, cold world” of independent living. Based on such a description, the approach to apartment renting should be taken with care, diligence and caution; so knowing what to look for while shopping for an apartment is an important component of the entire apartment rental process.

Foremost among apartment rental considerations, once a suitable unit and acceptable location has been decided upon, is terms of the lease pursuant to which the rental unit is to be occupied: What is permitted and what is not? In what bank is the security deposit escrowed? Under what circumstances is the security deposit retained by the landlord or refunded? When should the landlord be given access to the apartment, and under what conditions? Can the apartment be sub-leased? Are pets allowed? And at what cost, if any? What kind of amenities are included with the rent? These and many other questions must be asked and, in some cases, items might be negotiable.

In some cases, depending on what city an apartment is located in, certain government regulations control what a landlord can include in a lease and what s/he cannot. For example, included in such permissions for an apartment rental in New York City (the 5 boroughs) are the frequency at which rents can be raised, the percentage by which it can be raised, and the length of time for any renewals. These are conditions of apartment leases controled by the Rent Stabilization Laws that exist in NYC, which do not exist in other parts of the country; so a part of renting an apartment is knowing one’s rights under existing landlord/tenant laws in the particular city or municipality.

That having been said, it is important to point out here that the Rent Stabilization Laws referred to above apply only to properties consisting of 6-units and more, but owners of properties consisting of two to five units are not prevented from renting units within their “residential” buildings, so potential renters of apartments in these types of buildings should still be as vigilant as they would be outside of a rent stabilization city. Once some renters become more familiar with apartment living and those rules that govern the relationship between landlord and tenant, they choose to adopt the renter’s lifestyle based on their own set of circumstances.

Ultimately, apartment renting is a lifestyle for which a large section of the country’s residents have a desire and – for many who choose this lifestyle – a love that creates the basis for them to come to terms with whatever disadvantage others have attached to the apartment dwelling lifestyle. Perhaps the most important aspect of apartment dwelling is the freedom afforded by an apartment dweller’s lifestyle: Freedom to move about (frequent travel for business, vacationing, research, etc.) without the worry of those responsibilities that come with home ownership.

Individuals committed to the apartment rental lifestyle understand they will not be accumulating equity with every payment of their monthly rent as a home owner might be doing with monthly home loan payments; but equity building is seen by the apartment renter as an objective which can be achieved in more ways than one, since there is real estate equity, business assets and cash saved; so they see no practical reason in taking on the responsibilities – both financially and physically – of buying a home for the sole purpose of building equity.