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Tips for First-Time Renters

Things to know before signing a lease

Renting a first apartment can be exciting. But along with the excitement comes the responsibility of signing a contract. Whether you're cosigning a lease or just offering guidance, here's a list of important things to consider:

  • Landlords often require first and last month's rent, as well as a security deposit. Encourage your kids to find out how much a landlord can legally charge for a deposit. (Each state has different limits, ranging from one month's rent to no statutory limit.)
  • Where will the security deposit be kept? Depending on local and state regulations, the money you put down (last month's rent and security deposit) may be required to be placed in an interest-bearing account. Be sure to inquire about this before signing the lease.
  • Rental agreements should always be in writing. Keep receipts for all cash deposits and record the condition of the apartment when moving in.
  • Look into renters insurance. This relatively inexpensive coverage for the cost of personal property could prove critical someday.
  • Know renters' rights. There are many great online sources about how renters can protect themselves. Encourage your kids to be informed.

The information on this website is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax, legal, or investment planning advice. Where specific advice is necessary or appropriate, consult with a qualified tax advisor, CPA, financial planner, or investment manager.

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