Moving into a new California rental home is a big and exciting step. Unfortunately, it’s also paved with risks. The process is complicated and most tenants fail to take precautions before signing on the dotted line. That’s one reason why it’s essential to find a trustworthy landlord if you’re searching for rental homes in San Diego and beyond.
Of course, knowing the do’s and don’ts is tough if you haven’t worked with a landlord before. Thankfully, that doesn’t have to put you at a disadvantage because people who have been in your position before are happy to share their mistakes.
In this post, we’ll outline four of them to help you avoid any nasty surprises when you move into your home.
How Does Your Application Process Differ from a Similar California Rental Home?
The truth is, the rental market is incredibly competitive, with 65% of young adults forced to instead of buy homes in the US. Therefore, there’s a chance your application might be rejected or that another candidate could be preferred instead. This happens, but you can avoid it by contacting the landlord directly.
Ask for more information when filling out the application. For example, they might say that they are looking for a yearly salary within a certain range. Also, ask them when they will perform a hard credit check. These leave a mark on your record, affecting your ability to apply for loans (like a mortgage) later down the line.
Figuring out whether your application will end up in the trash stops the unnecessary damage to your score. There’s no point applying if you don’t meet the criteria.
Are The Deposits Non-Refundable?
Even though non-refundable deposits are being eased out, some landlords still include them within contracts, leaving the tenant immediately out of pocket. Some states are particularly bad about this, so you should look into your own state’s laws, too.
If, for example, you live in California, you’ll be glad to hear that most Califonia rental homes are exempt from the practice since landlords may not charge non-refundable fees. Indeed, there are limits on the total amount they can charge you for security deposits. Under California law, it’s two months’ rent if the property is unfurnished and three months if it’s furnished.
A landlord who doesn’t adhere to these rules is breaking the law, and you’ll know immediately because you asked beforehand.
What Are Your Policies Regarding Late Fees?
Unlike non-refundable deposits, late fees are allowed in every state. However, they must be within the limits set by the state. It’s essential to speak about late fees since some tenants aren’t organized, and it can hit you where it hurts—your bank account.
Another area to inquire about is an early cancellation fee. You can’t always time the move into a different apartment or house perfectly. Therefore, you’ll have to pay to break the contract. But how much you pay and when you stop paying can alter dramatically. For example, if it’s in the contract that the amount is the equivalent of two months’ rent, that’s fine. If the policy is that you pay until the landlord finds a new tenant, that should set alarm bells ringing.
What Is Your Maintenance Procedure for the Califonia Rental Home?
Part of the beauty of renting is that the majority of maintenance problems aren’t your concern. The landlord has to fork out for repairs and contractors. Still, you need the issues fixed as soon as possible as they can impact your quality of life.
Whether it’s a leaky tap or a burst water pipe in the ceiling, you should know the procedure for repairs. A good landlord will walk you through it step-by-step, telling you how to submit a request and how long it will take to be addressed. A bad landlord won’t keep up with the upkeep and will ignore your messages.
How they answer the question will reveal a lot about their attitude towards maintenance work, as will the appearance of the property when you view it.