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Old 01-25-2009, 06:09 PM
 
7 posts, read 52,258 times
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Question Considering renting a room - advice needed, please!

I'm moving to Philly around the beginning of next month. I'm thinking about renting a room for a month or two at the most, until I can get my bearings and find an apartment. I've looked on craigslist, and I posted an ad a while back. I've gotten a few interesting offers so far, so I'm excited!

So... my question is, how should I protect myself as a tenant? I ask questions, but I might be overlooking something. I plan to sign a lease, or get everything in writing, at the least. But since I'm renting a room in someone's house or apartment, what type of lease should I sign? Any pointers from someone who's rented a room? Besides common sense stuff, what should I watch out for?

Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 01-25-2009, 09:19 PM
 
Location: Maryland
1,668 posts, read 5,368,976 times
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Pay everything by check and keep all receipts. Have no valuables in the house. Sign an agreement to terms, but allow yourself the option of leaving whenever you choose. At least have a one-month probation with no obligations to you. Check to see if the person who you're renting from is leasing or owns. If he rents too, does the landlord know you're moving in. It will mean a rent increase. And, stop off at the county courthouse and go through their records to see if your roommates name appears. Hope it works out well for you.
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Old 01-25-2009, 11:00 PM
 
Location: WA
303 posts, read 1,231,068 times
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I'd personally consider a extended stay hotel with a weekly rate. It would probably be easier, safer, and not too much more in cost than finding someone who is willing to let you stay the minimum of a month (expect quite a premium for all the trouble they would go through finding a renter, paperwork, cleaning, etc).

Do get renter's insurance please and make sure you have coverage while your belongings may be in transit (personally-my renter's insurance did not cover this and I had to get extra coverage). Read everything you sign and don't be afraid to ask for something to be added in the lease in writing, even if you've discussed it verbally if it's not in there you are out of luck.

My friend stayed in a hotel for a couple months and it was great for her to be in a new place, and at least have the housekeeping taken care of, no bills, free breakfast, internet/cable, etc. Once you included the utilities and such along with not having to purchase furniture (she didn't have any), free breakfast (lunch if you take extra), etc...it would have only needed another 20% or so off the price for her to have justified staying there longer.

If you only plan to do a month or two I'd just do the hotel and pay the premium for piece of mind. You may find an apartment with immediate move in (sometimes there will be specials and they are looking for someone to move in the next day). You may not want to even be tied down to a month lease. Also, I kinda doubt you'd find a regular person wanting to rent you a room for a month or two, unless they are a friend. Most rentals like that aren't so great/safe.

I'd look for an extended stay (visit the Philly board; maybe they can help) near where you need to be and transportation, that includes the most amenities, and maybe offers discounts for booking for a week or more or AAA.
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Old 01-27-2009, 07:05 AM
 
7 posts, read 52,258 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ESFP View Post
Pay everything by check and keep all receipts. Have no valuables in the house. Sign an agreement to terms, but allow yourself the option of leaving whenever you choose. At least have a one-month probation with no obligations to you. Check to see if the person who you're renting from is leasing or owns. If he rents too, does the landlord know you're moving in. It will mean a rent increase. And, stop off at the county courthouse and go through their records to see if your roommates name appears. Hope it works out well for you.
Thanks! I'll be sure to do all of this
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Old 01-27-2009, 07:16 AM
 
7 posts, read 52,258 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tortoisegirl View Post
I'd personally consider a extended stay hotel with a weekly rate.
That was my first choice, and if I could afford it, I would stay at one. A little research revealed that extended stay hotels in Philly can run as much as $2-4k a month! - that's compared to 350-600 a month to rent a room or share with someone else, which is more more affordable and practical for my situation. In my current state, we have extended stay suites, with kitchenettes and all, that run about $175 or so a week (major COL jump, much?).

Thanks for the advice - I'll do everything I can to keep my butt covered, since getting screwed over in an unfamiliar city would really suck!
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Old 01-27-2009, 11:28 AM
 
Location: Huntersville
1,852 posts, read 3,321,502 times
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Careful on any formal lease. People just renting a room, may just have you sign a document. Thats what I am doing with my room, just something acknowledging that they are in fact renting a room and will be held liable for all damages. How that holds up? Eh who knows, but thats why I have home owners insurance. I would not a room with someone unless you can be on the lease (your rights), or they own the home/apt/condo, etc. Pay by check, try and get utilities in included in the flat fee (and document it) saves both parties. There is always some risk, but so is walking down the street. You can also Google the person and residence, to see if there is anything on them. I also recommend check a crime log on the address, its a matter of public record.
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Old 01-27-2009, 01:17 PM
 
7 posts, read 52,258 times
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Thanks for the advice, Whytewulf. I'll be sure that all those things are covered before I make a move.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whytewulf View Post
There is always some risk, but so is walking down the street.
My sentiments exactly! While it's always best to take common sense precautions, risks are an unavoidable part of life. Thanks again!
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Old 05-17-2013, 11:58 AM
 
1 posts, read 2,992 times
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1. If you run into the old tenant while he/she is moving out, ask old tenant why they are moving out. Try doing this without upsetting soon to be landlord.
2. Find out who else you'll be sharing the apartment with. You might think one roommate will be there and find out there are 3 others. Then you have to add friends of 3 roommates, boyfriend/girlfriend who spend nights and days, as well as occasional family members that might visit.
3. If you drive, don't overlook the parking situation. Is your car safe in the neighborhood and safe parked for days.
4. Find out if there's a system in place for refrigerator and kitchen cabinet space.
5. If sharing wifi with roommates, although not recommended, find out how good the wifi is. Get the wifi login first day in the apartment.
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Old 05-17-2013, 12:11 PM
 
531 posts, read 343,894 times
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I rented a room for years, and I always lucked out with great people. I just make sure I get a good vibe from them and ask them about why they're renting out a room. I was always asked to fill out an application, and it was like any other rental agreement. However, if you're looking for a short term stay, it might be difficult since people are mainly looking to get people to rent for longer periods of time. Set house rules as soon as you know you're going to rent from them. I made the mistake of just moving in with one person, and we didn't talk about any boundaries we have.

Also, if you're considering short term, look at places like Airbnb where you can rent a room for as little as $400.00 a month. I have had wonderful experiences on that site and will be renting a room for a month when I move. It's safer, you're able to see reviews from others about their experiences with the homeowner, and you might even find a private place for a decent price! I can't recommend them enough, because they've saved me hundreds of dollars.
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