Renting - The Boglehead Way

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Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby Gemini » Tue May 07, 2013 11:21 am

I will be moving out for the first time and will be renting a townhouse in a gated community. I have never rented before and wanted to get some input form the Boglehead sages.

What advice would you give someone moving out for the first time?

I will take any and all input regarding anything, especially rental insurance, security deposits (how much to give and how to get them back), and any other pertinent topics that will make renting a pleasant experience.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby sls239 » Tue May 07, 2013 11:43 am

Submit any maintenance requests in writing and have someone in the office sign and date a copy for you to keep.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby Skiffy » Tue May 07, 2013 11:49 am

I would make sure you have documented any damage prior to moving in-including countertops, floors walls, etc. Take dated pictures, put copies with your lease and notify your landlord. In college towns they pretty much keep the damage deposit as a matter of principal, it didn't matter if you left the place cleaner than when you moved in.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby Randomize » Tue May 07, 2013 12:19 pm

Skiffy wrote:I would make sure you have documented any damage prior to moving in-including countertops, floors walls, etc. Take dated pictures, put copies with your lease and notify your landlord. In college towns they pretty much keep the damage deposit as a matter of principal, it didn't matter if you left the place cleaner than when you moved in.


+1 on that. Leave it looking good but don't break your back because odds are you won't get any money refunded regardless.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby climber2020 » Tue May 07, 2013 12:37 pm

Skiffy wrote:I would make sure you have documented any damage prior to moving in-including countertops, floors walls, etc. Take dated pictures, put copies with your lease and notify your landlord. In college towns they pretty much keep the damage deposit as a matter of principal, it didn't matter if you left the place cleaner than when you moved in.


As an addendum to this, do the same when you move out. Pictures of everything to document the condition upon leaving so you get your security deposit back (I've always gotten my security deposit back).

Whenever I move out of a place, I always get that day's copy of the local newspaper and make sure it's in every photo to prove the pictures weren't taken the prior year.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby VictoriaF » Tue May 07, 2013 12:43 pm

I prefer to rent in apartment buildings rather than from individual owners. Managed rental properties have dedicated maintenance staff and most requests are satisfied quickly and well. With private owners, maintenance could be your responsibility depending on the contract. Even if it is the owner's responsibility, he may not be eager to fix things.

I don't remember NOT receiving my security deposit. If you don't damage the apartment, comply with the rental agreement, and have a good relationship with the manager and the maintenance team they accommodate you, too. When I was moving out two years ago, the manager proposed that she would hire someone to clean the apartment after I leave. I gave her $100 and told her I did not expect the change. I couple months later I received the full amount of my security deposit AND a partial credit for the last month, because the new tenants moved in before the end of the month.

The most important thing to realize is that the rental mindset is different from the ownership mindset. On one hand, suppress your desires to customize the apartment. If the walls are white, let them be white. On the other hand, if the apartment or the overall environment turn out not what you have expected them to be, it is much easier to move to another apartment than to sell a house.

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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby momar » Tue May 07, 2013 12:53 pm

brianbooth wrote:
Skiffy wrote:I would make sure you have documented any damage prior to moving in-including countertops, floors walls, etc. Take dated pictures, put copies with your lease and notify your landlord. In college towns they pretty much keep the damage deposit as a matter of principal, it didn't matter if you left the place cleaner than when you moved in.


+1 on that. Leave it looking good but don't break your back because odds are you won't get any money refunded regardless.

I disagree. I always got my full Security deposit back.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby Twins Fan » Tue May 07, 2013 1:15 pm

I have always gotten the security deposit back at the end of my rental leases also. Although, I've only rented an apartment a couple times in my life.

It seems the OP might think the security deposit is something to be negotiated? That is not the case. At least not that I know if. The rental agreement will have a security deposit amount and it is what it is. To get it back at the end, as others have said, don't damage the place, don't make personal changes to paint, carpet, etc., and keep it clean.

Renters insurance is usaully pretty cheap and a good thing to have. It protects your stuff should your place be broken into, something stolen, damaged, or things like that. Of course, you're young, going to be living in a gated community, and depending on how much stuff you have... you may not even feel that is necessary. Think more like high dollar "stuff"... jewelry, lots of computer equipment, specialty items, etc.

Other than that... just be a good tenant, don't have loud parties all the time, don't p.o. the neighbors, keep the landlord/manager off your back, and enjoy learning to be on your own.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby ieee488 » Tue May 07, 2013 1:36 pm

VictoriaF wrote:I prefer to rent in apartment buildings rather than from individual owners. Managed rental properties have dedicated maintenance staff and most requests are satisfied quickly and well.

+1

I have always rented in an apartment complex. Easier to find the complexes using the free booklets found at the local supermarkets.

Have always gotten all of my security deposit back except for the last apartment.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby bungalow10 » Tue May 07, 2013 1:36 pm

brianbooth wrote:
Skiffy wrote:I would make sure you have documented any damage prior to moving in-including countertops, floors walls, etc. Take dated pictures, put copies with your lease and notify your landlord. In college towns they pretty much keep the damage deposit as a matter of principal, it didn't matter if you left the place cleaner than when you moved in.


+1 on that. Leave it looking good but don't break your back because odds are you won't get any money refunded regardless.


I've been renting out a quad for six years now and I think I've only kept the entire deposit two times... the norm is 100% refund. Sometimes I have to keep some for cleaning or to replace window blinds*.

*What the heck do people do to their blinds? I honestly cannot figure this out, we've had the same blinds in our house for 10 years, yet I have one-year renters that manage to destroy theirs.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby Curlyq » Tue May 07, 2013 3:42 pm

bungalow10 wrote:
*What the heck do people do to their blinds? I honestly cannot figure this out, we've had the same blinds in our house for 10 years, yet I have one-year renters that manage to destroy theirs.


I had to laugh at this. I did just a walk-through of a rental I own. When we notified the renters of the walk-through, we asked them to leave us a note with any requested repairs. The renters put sticky-notes on a couple of the windows' blinds, saying that they didn't work.

The property management rep and I opened and closed the blinds several times, trying to figure out what was broken. As far as we could tell, the blinds worked perfectly. I asked that the property manager train the tenants on how to open, close, and adjust the blinds. I imagine that without the training, the tenants would become angry and yank on the cords and break the blinds. Go figure.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby SpaceCommander » Tue May 07, 2013 4:56 pm

Curlyq wrote:
bungalow10 wrote:
*What the heck do people do to their blinds? I honestly cannot figure this out, we've had the same blinds in our house for 10 years, yet I have one-year renters that manage to destroy theirs.


I had to laugh at this. I did just a walk-through of a rental I own. When we notified the renters of the walk-through, we asked them to leave us a note with any requested repairs. The renters put sticky-notes on a couple of the windows' blinds, saying that they didn't work.

The property management rep and I opened and closed the blinds several times, trying to figure out what was broken. As far as we could tell, the blinds worked perfectly. I asked that the property manager train the tenants on how to open, close, and adjust the blinds. I imagine that without the training, the tenants would become angry and yank on the cords and break the blinds. Go figure.


I once bought a nice looking apartment building, but I noticed in several of the units, the tenants were literally using sheets to cover their windows. It looked trashy, so I spent $3000.00 and installed all new blinds in every window in every unit. No kidding: within 1 year about half of those blinds were trashed. Literally destroyed. I was (and still am) dumbfounded. The blinds in my current house have been up for 10 years, and still look new. That blind issue is truly a mystery to me...
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby MattE » Tue May 07, 2013 5:05 pm

bungalow10 wrote:
brianbooth wrote:
Skiffy wrote:I would make sure you have documented any damage prior to moving in-including countertops, floors walls, etc. Take dated pictures, put copies with your lease and notify your landlord. In college towns they pretty much keep the damage deposit as a matter of principal, it didn't matter if you left the place cleaner than when you moved in.


+1 on that. Leave it looking good but don't break your back because odds are you won't get any money refunded regardless.


I've been renting out a quad for six years now and I think I've only kept the entire deposit two times... the norm is 100% refund. Sometimes I have to keep some for cleaning or to replace window blinds*.

*What the heck do people do to their blinds? I honestly cannot figure this out, we've had the same blinds in our house for 10 years, yet I have one-year renters that manage to destroy theirs.


Having been guilty of blind destruction in my most recent apartment that I'm currently moving out of, I can pinpoint the damage to two specific things:

1) Our cat. He's broken several of the slats on both the master bedroom and den windows by climbing through them to sit on the window sill when the blinds weren't raised.
2) The blinds being just slightly the wrong size for the window (or vice versa depending on perception). We had an issue with our bedroom blinds where the window frame wasn't perfectly square and narrowed just enough that the blinds could wedge themselves into the frame while being raised, and one time it happened and the sudden additional tension on the cord was enough that it broke the plastic around where the cord runs into the top rail of the blinds.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby Twins Fan » Tue May 07, 2013 5:37 pm

Haha... Yep, in my experience kids and cats can really do a number on the blinds. Only takes a second too... you hear "that noise" blinds make and it's already too late. :D
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby wilked » Tue May 07, 2013 5:39 pm

Regarding renter's insurance, I personally used the highest deductible they offered. I am not concerned with filing a claim for food if the power goes out, etc. I am just covering my [back --admin LadyGeek] in case I leave the oven on and burn the place down, cause water damage throughout the building, etc.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby Gemini » Tue May 07, 2013 6:11 pm

Thanks for the input.

Is two months security deposit standard? I think that is what the owner of the house is asking, but I can confirm.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby SSSS » Tue May 07, 2013 6:15 pm

momar wrote:
brianbooth wrote:
Skiffy wrote:I would make sure you have documented any damage prior to moving in-including countertops, floors walls, etc. Take dated pictures, put copies with your lease and notify your landlord. In college towns they pretty much keep the damage deposit as a matter of principal, it didn't matter if you left the place cleaner than when you moved in.


+1 on that. Leave it looking good but don't break your back because odds are you won't get any money refunded regardless.

I disagree. I always got my full Security deposit back.


The real estate company that owns the apartments around here has a policy where it's generally impossible to get the full security deposit back -- they always send in the painters & the crime-scene cleanup van when someone moves out, so that takes up most of the security deposit. Supposedly if you're willing to paint the apartment yourself & do an equivalent level of cleaning to the crime-scene van, you can get the full amount back, but ain't nobody got time for that.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby Random Poster » Tue May 07, 2013 6:42 pm

Gemini wrote:Thanks for the input.

Is two months security deposit standard? I think that is what the owner of the house is asking, but I can confirm.


Not in my experience.

It is either a flat number ($500 or $750 or something in that range) or 1 month's rent.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby Curlyq » Tue May 07, 2013 7:13 pm

Random Poster wrote:
Gemini wrote:Thanks for the input.

Is two months security deposit standard? I think that is what the owner of the house is asking, but I can confirm.


Not in my experience.

It is either a flat number ($500 or $750 or something in that range) or 1 month's rent.


The owner may be asking for last month's and a deposit or something like that.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby Mill » Tue May 07, 2013 7:21 pm

SSSS wrote:The real estate company that owns the apartments around here has a policy where it's generally impossible to get the full security deposit back -- they always send in the painters & the crime-scene cleanup van when someone moves out, so that takes up most of the security deposit. Supposedly if you're willing to paint the apartment yourself & do an equivalent level of cleaning to the crime-scene van, you can get the full amount back, but ain't nobody got time for that.


This was true at my last apartment as well. It was built into the lease agreement that you had to professionally shampoo the carpets, and paint the walls. Otherwise the cost of doing this would come out of the security deposit. I couldnt be arsed with this so I got back about 50% of the deposit. (or all of it as far as Im concerned)
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby ianferrel » Tue May 07, 2013 7:43 pm

Mill wrote:
SSSS wrote:The real estate company that owns the apartments around here has a policy where it's generally impossible to get the full security deposit back -- they always send in the painters & the crime-scene cleanup van when someone moves out, so that takes up most of the security deposit. Supposedly if you're willing to paint the apartment yourself & do an equivalent level of cleaning to the crime-scene van, you can get the full amount back, but ain't nobody got time for that.


This was true at my last apartment as well. It was built into the lease agreement that you had to professionally shampoo the carpets, and paint the walls. Otherwise the cost of doing this would come out of the security deposit. I couldnt be arsed with this so I got back about 50% of the deposit. (or all of it as far as Im concerned)
This kind of thing depends greatly on your specific location, but in California, for example, this isn't allowed.

Paint and carpet cleaning are considered reasonable wear and tear expenses at reasonable intervals, and they can only legally withhold a proportional amount unless excess damage has been done. If you normally need to clean the carpets every three years and paint every three years, then someone who moves out after two years can only be charged for 1/3 the expenses.

Plus, as a tenant, you have the right to request, prior to move out, that the landlord or a representative come to the dwelling to inspect it in your presence and make specific note of the things that require fixing in writing. If they don't, you are entitled to your full deposit back. If they refuse to give your security deposit back anyway, you can sue for triple damages.

So, my advice to the OP: read your local renter's rights handbook and get every communication in writing. It doesn't matter what the lease says if the law overrides it.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby Gemini » Tue May 07, 2013 9:34 pm

ianferrel wrote:
Mill wrote:
SSSS wrote:The real estate company that owns the apartments around here has a policy where it's generally impossible to get the full security deposit back -- they always send in the painters & the crime-scene cleanup van when someone moves out, so that takes up most of the security deposit. Supposedly if you're willing to paint the apartment yourself & do an equivalent level of cleaning to the crime-scene van, you can get the full amount back, but ain't nobody got time for that.


This was true at my last apartment as well. It was built into the lease agreement that you had to professionally shampoo the carpets, and paint the walls. Otherwise the cost of doing this would come out of the security deposit. I couldnt be arsed with this so I got back about 50% of the deposit. (or all of it as far as Im concerned)
This kind of thing depends greatly on your specific location, but in California, for example, this isn't allowed.

Paint and carpet cleaning are considered reasonable wear and tear expenses at reasonable intervals, and they can only legally withhold a proportional amount unless excess damage has been done. If you normally need to clean the carpets every three years and paint every three years, then someone who moves out after two years can only be charged for 1/3 the expenses.

Plus, as a tenant, you have the right to request, prior to move out, that the landlord or a representative come to the dwelling to inspect it in your presence and make specific note of the things that require fixing in writing. If they don't, you are entitled to your full deposit back. If they refuse to give your security deposit back anyway, you can sue for triple damages.

So, my advice to the OP: read your local renter's rights handbook and get every communication in writing. It doesn't matter what the lease says if the law overrides it.


I have to get my hands on the local renters handbook. Any ideas where to get one?
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby Gemini » Tue May 07, 2013 9:36 pm

The landlady wants two months deposit b/c we have a small pet.

Is it common to negotiate the rent? I found this place on craigslist and then went to see it. Haven been communicating via email and was wondering if it would be okay to see if the rent will go any lower. Good idea or no? How would I go about wording it w/o sounding like a used car salesman?

Thanks.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby Watty » Tue May 07, 2013 11:05 pm

I will take any and all input regarding anything, especially rental insurance, security deposits (how much to give and how to get them back), and any other pertinent topics that will make renting a pleasant experience.


It is likely that you will be getting a one year lease. There are pros and cons but you might ask to see if they will agree to a month to month lease after the first year. This will give you much more flexibility after the first year if your situations changes.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby Twins Fan » Wed May 08, 2013 5:03 pm

Gemini wrote:The landlady wants two months deposit b/c we have a small pet.

Is it common to negotiate the rent? I found this place on craigslist and then went to see it. Haven been communicating via email and was wondering if it would be okay to see if the rent will go any lower. Good idea or no? How would I go about wording it w/o sounding like a used car salesman?

Thanks.


Ah, yes, a pet deposit is very common. Although, it's usually lower than the regular security deposit. But, it sounds like this one person owns just this one townhome? So, they can kind of set their own rental agreement.

Along those lines, if this is a one owner of the one townhome deal, there may be some room to bend on the rent. Depends though... How bad do you want this place, how nice is the area, how likely is it that other people are looking at the same townhome, etc... ? Just realize that if you try to lowball them the communications may end quickly. :happy I would make sure to have a list of a good bunch of similar townhomes that are rented out cheaper than what they're asking for this one.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby BolderBoy » Wed May 08, 2013 5:06 pm

momar wrote:
brianbooth wrote:
Skiffy wrote:I would make sure you have documented any damage prior to moving in-including countertops, floors walls, etc. Take dated pictures, put copies with your lease and notify your landlord. In college towns they pretty much keep the damage deposit as a matter of principal, it didn't matter if you left the place cleaner than when you moved in.


+1 on that. Leave it looking good but don't break your back because odds are you won't get any money refunded regardless.

I disagree. I always got my full Security deposit back.

I disagree as well. Small Claims Court had to help in one case.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby PoeticalDeportment » Wed May 08, 2013 10:49 pm

Use your smartphone to do a video walk through when you take possession of the unit, making sure to include the person giving you the keys in the video (that is your time stamp). I always do something similar to this when I take possession of a rental car - and it has saved me from damage that I didn't realize was there when I took possession of the vehicle (but they were quick to notice the damage when I returned the van). On a related note: Beverly Hills rent-a-car in the Balboa Beach area are the ones who accused me of damaging a vehicle until I proved otherwise. I had purchased the maximum insurance, so they just wanted to "file a claim" under my name - you be the judge if this was an honest mistake or not (I obviously have my own opinion).
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby nonnie » Thu May 09, 2013 10:04 pm

Gemini wrote:The landlady wants two months deposit b/c we have a small pet.

Is it common to negotiate the rent? I found this place on craigslist and then went to see it. Haven been communicating via email and was wondering if it would be okay to see if the rent will go any lower. Good idea or no? How would I go about wording it w/o sounding like a used car salesman?

Thanks.


Are you signing a lease? If it's one year, you might offer a little less for a 2 year or an 18 month. Google your state and renter's rights or something like that.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby tylerherman » Fri May 10, 2013 2:38 am

I've rented my whole life and have never not received 100% of my security deposit back. Leases suck, don't enter into one because if possible it is the same ball and chain you get stuck with if you own a house. The freedom to move at any time is very valuable and underrated.

I've had much better luck with renting from individuals than from companies in terms of not having to sign a lease, cheaper rent, more flexibility and generally just a better experience.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby TTU » Fri May 10, 2013 2:59 am

You should be able to do a Google search for the Landlord/Tenant handbook applicable to the state you are renting in - the one for Hawaii is full of useful information for landlords and tenants alike. If your landlord knows you are savvy enough to find and read the rules and regulations, it will probably result in a better experience for you and maybe save you some headaches and cash.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby Epsilon Delta » Fri May 10, 2013 12:26 pm

wilked wrote:Regarding renter's insurance, I personally used the highest deductible they offered. I am not concerned with filing a claim for food if the power goes out, etc. I am just covering my [back --admin LadyGeek] in case I leave the oven on and burn the place down, cause water damage throughout the building, etc.


This bears repeating.
Renters insurance includes liability insurance which is important.

You can't lose a house, because you don't own one.
You may not loss much if all your possessions go up in smoke, because you may only own junk.
But you are just as likely as anybody else to get unlucky or (momentarily) stupid and cause harm to somebody else, and you want insurance to cover your defense and any damages.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby Phineas J. Whoopee » Fri May 10, 2013 1:29 pm

I've rented housing nine times in six municipalities in four states. Laws and customs were different everywhere.

In one state the landlord kept my entire security deposit without saying why and I had no recourse. In another, one tried and all I had to do was write him a letter mentioning the relevant law and he sent my check. The other times they paid promptly.

Security deposits have ranged from $100 to two month's rent (plus of course the first full month's rent and pro-rated rent for the very first partial month paid at the same time). I was fortunate not to have to bribe any superintendents, although that was customary in one of the locations.

Renting month by month, rather than on a year-long lease, affords the renter more flexibility. It does the same for the landlord. You are either legally entitled to live in a place beyond the end of this month or you are not. Local law may regulate whether that's the case.

To sum it all up I would say it depends. Them what don't like it are free not to live there.

On the other hand, with respect to renter's insurance, I agree completely with Epsilon Delta. Do what he said.

PJW
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby gkaplan » Fri May 10, 2013 2:00 pm

I have been a lifelong renter. Except for one year, I have never carried renter insurance. I guess you can say I self-insure.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby VictoriaF » Fri May 10, 2013 2:03 pm

gkaplan wrote:I have been a lifelong renter. Except for one year, I have never carried renter insurance. I guess you can say I self-insure.


Alternatively, you took unnecessary risk but the risk has not materialized (yet).

Victoria
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby gkaplan » Fri May 10, 2013 2:12 pm

After forty-five years or so of renting, I've probably been lucky; however, I really don't have much in the way of expensive possessions. An extensive library, but probably few, if any first editions? A fifteen year old computer? A picture I bought in Jamaica some forty-five years ago for about twenty-years ago? A twenty-seven inch RCA television I bought over twenty years ago?
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby Calm Man » Fri May 10, 2013 2:14 pm

gkaplan wrote:I have been a lifelong renter. Except for one year, I have never carried renter insurance. I guess you can say I self-insure.


Gordon,
I have been renting the last 5 years. My renter's insurance is about $130 a year. I advise you to get it. It is not for stolen items or a fire. Rather if some maintenance worker or anybody trips in your house and breaks their neck you could be in a slew of trouble. It's just not worth the risk to go bare I don't think.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby Phineas J. Whoopee » Fri May 10, 2013 2:15 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
gkaplan wrote:I have been a lifelong renter. Except for one year, I have never carried renter insurance. I guess you can say I self-insure.


Alternatively, you took unnecessary risk but the risk has not materialized (yet).

Victoria

If I may engage in level-two thinking as Larry espouses: unless one has virtually unlimited wealth (and I recall Gordon's recent post regarding a net worth milestone), the true financial risk is borne by those who may (eventually) be harmed but not compensated; or by all of us in order to support those people regardless.

PJW
[Edited once to correct the spelling of Gordon's name. :oops: ]
Last edited by Phineas J. Whoopee on Fri May 10, 2013 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby VictoriaF » Fri May 10, 2013 2:19 pm

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
gkaplan wrote:I have been a lifelong renter. Except for one year, I have never carried renter insurance. I guess you can say I self-insure.


Alternatively, you took unnecessary risk but the risk has not materialized (yet).

Victoria

If I may engage in level-two thinking as Larry espouses: unless one has virtually unlimited wealth (and I recall Gorden's recent post regarding a net worth milestone), the true financial risk is borne by those who may (eventually) be harmed but not compensated; or by all of us in order to support those people regardless.

PJW


Good points,

Victoria
Last edited by VictoriaF on Sat May 11, 2013 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby tetractys » Fri May 10, 2013 2:23 pm

Renter's insurance is what, $7 a month? That's what mine is anyway, and it covers everything at replacement value. So I think if you have valuable possessions that would be expensive to replace, and perhaps more importantly, you would want to replace them, as I would (My musical instruments are my soul's food), then it's probably worth it.

Do you have a local renters association or union. If you do, that would be a valuable resource. A good portion of renter's protection and other laws are local. -- Tet
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby Epsilon Delta » Fri May 10, 2013 3:07 pm

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
gkaplan wrote:I have been a lifelong renter. Except for one year, I have never carried renter insurance. I guess you can say I self-insure.


Alternatively, you took unnecessary risk but the risk has not materialized (yet).

Victoria

If I may engage in level-two thinking as Larry espouses: unless one has virtually unlimited wealth (and I recall Gordon's recent post regarding a net worth milestone), the true financial risk is borne by those who may (eventually) be harmed but not compensated; or by all of us in order to support those people regardless.

PJW
[Edited once to correct the spelling of Gordon's name. :oops: ]


Some of the risk is borne by others and society in general, but the risk up to some subset* of Gordon's net worth is borne by him. I believe Gordon is well enough off that I would be comfortable visiting him as most of the risk is on him. Most of the risk is in medium impact, unlikely events, rather than huge but vanishingly rare events.

* things like IRAs are more or less judgment proof.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby Gemini » Thu May 30, 2013 5:50 pm

Thanks for the input guys. I got further info and the deposit is actually one month's rent - not two.

I will look into renter's insurance and the handbook for my state.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby playtothebeat » Thu May 30, 2013 6:08 pm

If you have issues and are unsure about your rights as a renter, don't be afraid to look up the law and present it to your landlord. I had an issue once where the landlord was going to withhold a portion of my deposit, but then was taking a long time to return even the remainder. I did some research and found out that the landlord is legally required to provide a copy of all the itemized expenses they plan to incur which would justify withholding a portion of the deposit, and if it's not provided within X number of days, the full deposit must be returned. The second I showed that to them, the full deposit was overnighted back to me.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby mikefixac » Thu May 30, 2013 9:36 pm

I've been ripped off by a landlord myself, so when I began to own property, even if there was minor damage, or whatever, I usually always tried to give a full refund.

Landlord tenant relationships can be either personal or impersonal. If it's one where you know the landlord, and he has integrity as you do, there shouldn't be a problem.

As a landlord my standards were low. I just hoped to get paid when the rent was due.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby ClevrChico » Thu May 30, 2013 9:43 pm

Accept that landlords are all a little crazy. I had one call to complain that I left a rubber band in a drawer after I moved out.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby EmergDoc » Fri May 31, 2013 12:15 am

Gemini wrote:The landlady wants two months deposit b/c we have a small pet.

Is it common to negotiate the rent? I found this place on craigslist and then went to see it. Haven been communicating via email and was wondering if it would be okay to see if the rent will go any lower. Good idea or no? How would I go about wording it w/o sounding like a used car salesman?

Thanks.


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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby z3r0c00l » Fri May 31, 2013 6:13 am

brianbooth wrote:
Skiffy wrote:I would make sure you have documented any damage prior to moving in-including countertops, floors walls, etc. Take dated pictures, put copies with your lease and notify your landlord. In college towns they pretty much keep the damage deposit as a matter of principal, it didn't matter if you left the place cleaner than when you moved in.


+1 on that. Leave it looking good but don't break your back because odds are you won't get any money refunded regardless.


I have never had this problem, always get the full deposit back. If they tried to keep it, there would be issues.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby core5 » Fri May 31, 2013 8:56 am

Gemini wrote:The landlady wants two months deposit b/c we have a small pet.

Is it common to negotiate the rent? I found this place on craigslist and then went to see it. Haven been communicating via email and was wondering if it would be okay to see if the rent will go any lower. Good idea or no? How would I go about wording it w/o sounding like a used car salesman?

Thanks.


I have actually negotiated rent and it's not a hard concept. You already have an idea of how much you intend to pay for rent. If they give you a high number like $100+ over what you expected, then tell him/her that you're interested, but you really would like to keep the cost down to $xx. They'll either say yes or no, or offer something lower to meet you in the middle. It won't offend them. It's about money, thus it's nothing personal. If they do act offended or weird about it, just find somewhere else, you don't want weird landlords.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby BW1985 » Fri May 31, 2013 4:26 pm

Question for the board: My lease says normal wear and tear is acceptable. The house I rent has hardwoods floors throughout and I've made quite a few scratches moving furniture, some deeper than others. Do you think this is considered normal wear and tear or should I expect the owner to charge me to refinish the floors?
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby kenyan » Fri May 31, 2013 5:11 pm

Whether or not I've gotten my entire deposit back has depended upon the landlord. Had a couple of crummy landlords once who charged us six hours labor at $50/hour to do touch-up repainting, as well as a bunch of other costs that fall into the category of normal wear-and-tear. We lived there for 3 years, and they were basically charging us illegally according to the laws where I live. Nevertheless, though it ground my gears, I decided not to pursue action to get this chunk of our deposit back.

Aside from that, and a couple of landlords who have written in certain cleaning fees to the lease agreement, I have always received my full deposit back.
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Re: Renting - The Boglehead Way

Postby Gemini » Fri May 31, 2013 8:04 pm

Asked about lowering rent, and she said no - so whatever it's okay. It is already the cheapest rent in the neighborhood.

She will be sending the contract soon from her lawyer.

Should I get a lawyer as well to read the contract or is that going overboard?
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