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Attention, Renters: Look Out For These Red Flags

Attention, Renters: Look Out For These Red FlagsWhen leasing a residence, you may think that you can put up with certain problems because it’s a temporary arrangement, or you might not be aware of the myriad risks that come with being a renter. Many ignored factors or mild issues during an initial tour could become a huge problem later on when you’re locked into a lease, so be certain what you’re getting into and keep your eyes open for these red flags during the renting process.

Property Condition

Never sign a lease until you’re satisfied with the property’s condition. Make sure everything in the home works and take note of any pre-existing damage, so you won’t be charged for them later. If you can, take photographs and date them.

Landlords should provide a list of components in each room, such as carpeting, electrical outlets, light fixtures, doors, windows, locks, painting, and kitchen and bathroom appliances. Components not in good working condition must be reported to the landlord, and be attended to before moving in.

Knowledge of Roommates

It’s common to live with roommates when renting, but not all landlords allow it. Even if you’re signing the lease with a roommate, you never know if that person will move out and you’ll want another roommate to move in. Alternatively, you might travel for an extended period of time and want to get a subletter to save yourself the unnecessary expenses. Some landlords will want to approve any new roommates or may not allow them at all. Find out expectations upfront and make sure they are specified in the lease.

The Neighborhood

To indicate the area’s safety, check out the complex after dark when most everyone is home to see the real personality of the building and neighborhood. Notice how many people enter and leave the building, unusual noises, areas of congregation, and the types of vehicles are on the property. Take note of any police activity in the area.

Landlord Inspection Clauses

Check for lease provisions that entitle the landlord to make unannounced inspections and statements permitting unlimited visits. Inspections should be performed on a limited basis, and with proper notice. Be aware of any provisions that will unfairly restrict your rights.

Areas of Responsibility

Normally landlords will provide specific services listed in the lease. You can negotiate for any others you feel should be included before signing, although don’t be surprised if that requires higher rent. Common services include utilities, pest control, repairs, and lawn maintenance. Know who is responsible for what before signing the lease.


Parking can be a headache for many renters. Know how many vehicles you can park in a driveway or parking lot and specify where exactly you’re permitted. Some rentals don’t come with any provided parking, forcing you to pay an extra monthly fee for a spot or take your chances on the street. Be aware of local laws regarding on-street parking.


Know move-out expectations such as how many months notice to provide, any automatic reductions in security deposit, cleaning requirements, and security deposit retrieval time. Early and clear knowledge will help you to both prepare for the event and allow a smooth exit.

Renter’s insurance

Anything moved into your rental is not covered by your landlord’s insurance. If the unit burns down or is burglarized, your landlord’s insurance won’t cover that.

Even if you’re left homeless by damage to the building, landlords aren’t mandated to find you a place. Adequate coverage requires renters insurance to protect expenses from damage or theft and assist in relocation.

About A.J. Benet Inc. Insurance Agency

At AJ Benet Inc. Insurance Agency, we make sure that your New York Business Insurance policy includes more than the simple general liability and product liability. Our policies extend in cases where you underlying limits are exhausted. Our team of experts are willing to go the extra mile and not only protect your business but understand it. For more information, call us today at (914) 381-2040.

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