First time renter? What you should know

Posted on Sept. 30, 2013 by Mov_CanPost in smartmoves

Moving out of the family home is a big step for young adults. The first step is to create a budget for all the expenses beyond rent – like deposits, utilities, groceries, entertainment, transportation, clothing, health, and even laundry. Michael practiced by estimating how much he would spend and then giving his parents that amount from his monthly pay cheque for three months before he moved out.  Once he moved, he discovered that he had underestimated costs by about ten percent and adjusted his “whatever” spending accordingly.

Lisa found her shared apartment through online classifieds. She made a point of dressing nicely for interviews, pointing out that, “I wanted to come across as trustworthy, someone who would pay my rent on time and not burn the building down!” She also checked the bedbug and pest registry for her area to make sure there were no unwanted “tenants” in the apartment.

Renters’ tips:

  • Know your rights. Landlords have to give 24 hours written notice before entering your home (unless it’s an emergency). Most provinces don’t let landlords evict you for having a pet, except in special circumstances.  There are tight legal restrictions on rent raises and eviction – find them at your provincial tenants’ rights association.
  • Renters’ insurance is cheap and worth it. For as little as $10 a month you are protected from the loss of your possessions due to fire or flood, plus you’ll get money to cover the costs of an interim stay or move. Equally important, if you cause a flood (e.g., an overflowing bathtub) or fire, your insurance covers the damage to other people’s apartments and belongings.
  • If you are moving in with a roommate, discuss how utilities will be paid, how many nights a week a “friend” can stay over, how you will share storage space, the fridge, parking, and so on. Send an email that covers the points you agreed on so that you have something to fall back on, if necessary.
  • Remember that YouTube is your friend when it comes to new skills– like declogging a toilet, changing the bulb in a recessed light, doing laundry so that your white shirts don’t come out pink, etc. Somewhere, a helpful expert has taken the time to record how to do it and posted it for your benefit.

Finally, allow for some emotional tug-of-war.  Everyone in the family may feel a bit sad at the upcoming move, even while they are excited about this momentous step into adulthood. Acknowledging these feelings and admitting that things will be different will help everyone to stay on a positive track.

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