How old do you have to be to rent an apartment? In most countries/laws, the legal age to enter any contract is 18, which includes signing a lease during the rental application process. Since only adults are legally allowed to sign rental contracts, you can’t rent until you’re an adult.
Landlords are legally allowed to refuse to rent to you if you’re under 18; some landlords don’t emphasize the age of a prospect interested in renting an apartment. However, you might get an adult to co-sign with you.
This post discusses how to rent an apartment when you are 18 and guides you to getting your desired apartment.
Guides To getting an Apartment as a young Tenant
1. Figure out how much rent you can afford
Figure out the range of apartments you can afford by looking at your monthly income, savings, and any debt you have (like a student loan or credit score card). Conventional wisdom recommends spending no more than 30% of income on housing, but the contemporary reality of living in a big city can necessitate spending closer to 50%.
2. The location of your apartment and Amenities offered
In general, your new apartment should be close to your workplace or you’re going to pay more on transportation living in big cities, especially as you are near the city center. The grocery stores, laundry, bus stops, Hospitals, trains, water, car parking space, and availability of other amenities should be put into consideration.
3. Visit the Apartment In Person
Pictures can easily be misleading. Once you’ve weeded the apartments with significant bad reviews, you’ll want to visit the space in person. Visiting the apartment, as opposed to just looking at the pictures, will give you a realistic view of the style, aesthetics, and size of the apartment so you can accurately decide whether it matches what you want and need in a home.
Also, they don’t tell you the whole story of what the neighborhood is like. There are lots of apartment scams. You must play safe by not sending money to someone for an apartment without visiting it first and verifying its legitimacy.
4. Move in with a Roommate
When deciding whether you want roommates, consider how particular you are about your living space. Honestly assess how clean, quiet, routined, private, etc. Whether a Friend, boyfriend, or girlfriend? You must ensure that whoever you decide to take the plunge with is reliable and gainfully employed. If the potential roommate wants to rent as long as you do, will you have to find another roommate in a year? Are they reliable? Do they pay their bills on time? Find a compatible roommate who won’t leave you high and dry for months into your lease.
5. Complete Your Rental Application
After you find that perfect apartment, the next step is to fill out a rental application. To supply all the information a property manager may ask for at this stage,
If you are Moving in as an Underage or with a roommate, you should add your co-signer’s Information.
6. Sign your Lease
Rental application approval usually takes a few days. After that, the next step is signing the lease and setting your move-in date. Your lease is a legal document, and you must treat it as such.
- When rent is due, and how you pay it
- How maintenance requests get submitted and handled
- Any extra fees
- Whether you can sublease
- How parking works
Make sure you agree with everything in the lease before you sign it. If you disagree, discuss it with your property manager. They’re often willing to compromise. Anything you change should get added to your lease, in writing, before you sign.
Also Read: How To Move Out With No Money
Questions to Ask Before Signing any Lease Documents
1. What are the lease terms?
The lease terms vary based on the lease or the city you want to rent your apartment. You should know when the lease begins and ends and how much the rent is per month. (Be sure to find out what the late rent policy is and if there is a grace period).
2. Are utilities included in the cost?
This is very important so you can plan how to pay your Utility bills if it’s not included in the rent package.
3. What’s the pet policy?
Every apartment has its policy; note the policies before you rent an apartment. Whether you currently own a pet or are considering adopting, it’s essential to know whether pets are allowed or not (and if a separate deposit is needed for that). Most houses that allow pets and smoking are higher than the no pet or smoking apartment.
4. Is Renters Insurance Required?
Renters insurance provides coverage for your property in the event of a fire, flood, and often even theft. This type of coverage tends to come at minimal expense, so it’s a good idea to have it regardless of whether or not it’s required.
5. What Is the guest policy?
Some property Owners don’t allow guests late at night, so if you’re a night person, you need to enquire about exit time for visitors.
6. How Is the Rent Paid?
Most apartment complexes require you to pay for the first three months or a whole year, depending on the landlords. It’s not only about how much rent is but how you are getting the money from you your landlord
7. What Much Does it Cost to Move in?
To rent an apartment is necessary to know how much it will cost to move in. You have to pay attention to questions like, Do they require the first and last month’s rent? What about a security deposit? Are there any moving or elevator fees? You need to know all this to plan appropriately within your budget.
8. How Secure Is the Property?
It’s essential to not only get the ins and outs of the building’s security but also look into the surrounding neighborhood. (Can you move freely at night)
9. Is there a Penalty for Breaking the Lease?
Be sure to understand if there are any penalties for early termination. For a month-to-month lease, be sure to learn how early you have to notify the landlord should you want to move.
- A valid I.D.
- Social security card
- Most recent bank statement
- Your last three pay stubs
- Referral letters from your employer or close friends, or family
How often Does Rent Increase? By How Much?
These are other essential factor to look out for to avoid outdoing your budget. Please get to know how long it takes before an increment is enforced.
Also Read: What Is Delayed Financing: Homebuying Guide?
A landlord is legally free to set whatever conditions he wants for a tenancy as long as they are reasonably related to his business needs and don’t violate anti-discrimination laws. The Federal Fair Housing Act (42 U.S. Code § § 3601-3619) prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, familial status (having children), and physical or mental disability (including alcoholism and past drug addiction). For Instance, most 18–22-year-olds lack an established credit history. Many landlords use a credit report as a part of their review process of potential tenants in order to determine who is approved for their apartment.
What Kind of Credit Score Do I Need to Get an Apartment?
Credit scores typically range from 300 to 850. Depending on the individual lender or insurer, you may see different standards, but generally, a FICO score above 800 is considered excellent; “very good” FICO scores range from 740 to 799; a “good” score ranges from 670 to 739, and 580–669 is considered “fair.” Any score below 580 is considered poor. If you don’t have a good credit score, a landlord will not likely rent to you. If your score is in the very good to excellent range, you probably won’t have to worry about your credit score impacting your ability to get an apartment.
How Can I Get an Apartment With a Bad or No Credit score?
If you think your credit score might be keeping you from renting an apartment, there are proven ways to improve your credit score history. If you have low or no credit and have never rented an apartment, you might need a guarantor or a lease cosigner.
Having poor credit will be a significant challenge when getting an apartment. You’ll have to find an apartment with friends with good credit or ask a responsible adult to co-sign for you.
How to Improve your credit score;
Consider improving your credit score before the search; this strategy only works if you’re in a position to postpone your move. Months or a year of making on-time payments, paying off delinquent accounts, and paying down debt can help to raise your credit score.
- Highlight your income. Demonstrating that you earn at least three to four times your rent steadily goes a long way toward qualifying you for a rental, even if your credit scores are low. If your income doesn’t make you a stellar candidate at one place, look for another place with lower rent.
- Pay more upfront. You may be required to pay one to three months’ worth of rent upfront as a security deposit if your credit is poor. You can also proactively offer a few months’ rent as a gesture of good faith.
- Check your credit report. Regularly monitoring your credit score can help you track your progress and flag any errors. Your credit score isn’t the only thing necessary to landlords—credit reports include additional, specific information, such as late payments on loans or breaking an apartment lease. Checking your credit report will alert you to any mistakes, and you’ll be more prepared to discuss the contents of your report with a potential landlord.
How Old to Rent an Apartment; FAQS
The Law says No. Most laws across the U.S. set the minimum age for being considered an adult at 18 years old
In California, the legal age to enter into a contract – including a lease to rent an apartment – is 18 years old, however, there are exceptions for emancipated minors and individuals who are married or in the military.
For it to be legal to move out at 17 (or 16 for that matter), the emancipation of a minor, a court must generally confirm the child has enough adult-like maturity to be on his or her own.
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