Renting a house for the first time is a big step. Perhaps unlike living with your parents, you are responsible for all the bills and cleaning. Different from renting an apartment, you will probably be required to pay trash and water and maybe even do some yard work. Aside from the added responsibilities, there are certain criteria you must meet first as well.
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There have been landlords and tenants throughout history. In medieval times in Europe, landlords typically owned all of the farming land and the surrounding forests of a village. These "lords" were responsible for the protection of the village farmers - who were bound to their piece of land for life - from thieves and pillagers. In exchange, the farmers generally paid the landlords a set amount of food. While these historical landlords were not responsible for leaky roofs, and the tenants could not be evicted, we can see how the practice and terminology originated.
The first determining condition will be deciding how much rent you can afford. A potential landlord will first and foremost look at your income when deciding whether you meet his or her criteria. Knowing your budget will also help you when searching for a home to rent. It is pointless to read about or look at a house that you would struggle to afford. Experts suggest that you aim for no more than thirty per cent of your income going toward housing.
Typically, when renting a house, you will be required to sign a lease. This lease is a binding legal document. Therefore, you need to be certain you will be able to fulfil the terms of the lease. Ask to view the lease prior to signing it and be certain to read it carefully. There will likely be several stipulations, including some about visitors and guests, pets, smoking and landscaping. If you feel as though you will not be able to meet all of the criteria listed in the lease, keep looking.
It is important to know that every property manager may have unique criteria for tenants. However, there are some conditions that most landlords will expect you to meet. It is likely that you will have to pass both a background check and a credit check. If you have very poor credit or a significant criminal history or history of breaking leases, you may not be able to rent a house. Some landlords will look for a stable work history, as well.
According to the Fair Housing Act, it is illegal for a property owner to refuse to rent a home to someone based on discriminatory factors. These reasons include: race, colour or nationality; religious beliefs; gender; family situations; and disabilities. If a potential landlord makes a statement or implies that he will not rent to you because of one of these reasons, take action. For example, if you are told they do not rent to people with toddlers because they've had carpets or walls damaged in the past, you can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing.
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