Top 10 Tips

1. Be Prepared
As a tenant being prepared and organised is the best way to get ahead of the competition. Do your research and make sure you have all of your paperwork in order when applying for a rental property. Be prepared with written references from a previous property owner/property manager and/or employer.

2. Budget Wisely
Financial experts suggest that no more than 25 to 30 percent of monthly income be spent on housing. A tenant needs to be sure to create a realistic budget before deciding on a rental. Tenants have other costs associated with renting, like daily commuting costs or lifestyle amenities to consider as well.

3. Choose Which Amenities Are Essential
Property management companies highlight that a should tenant consider which amenities you really need. Although a large number of amenities can be very attractive and enticing, be honest about which ones are essential to you as a tenant. Being able to compromise on some amenities may result in finding a home in a better location. Don’t get caught up in all the bells and whistles and forget about all the other important factors that go into choosing your perfect home.

4. Decide On Your Ideal Location
As the old saying goes, location, location, location. What is most important to you as a tenant? Is being close to the University your number one priority? Do you prefer being close to the action of the city or to the laid-back country lifestyle? Narrowing down your search to specific areas will make your search much easier.

5. Search Outside The Box
It’s up to each individual tenant to select the best rental option based on budget and personal preference. Prospective renters should review the varying rental types - from residential apartment buildings and multi-unit rentals, to extending their search to single-family homes and/or townhouses. There are often great deals to be uncovered, especially if the rent will be split with roommates.

6. Visit the Property
It is important to visit the rental you will actually be living in and carry out a walk-through of the entire space before signing a rental agreement. Make sure you and your property manager are aware of any issues that need to be taken care of prior to moving in.

7. Review The Rental Agreement
Make sure to review and understand all of the terms and conditions outlined in the rental agreement before signing as a tenant. Details to pay attention to include the effective date of commencement and duration, deposit amount paid and the circumstances that make the deposit refundable. Additionally, consider rent escalation, grounds for termination and the notice period required. It may be possible to negotiate the specifics of some of the terms, but most important is being knowledgeable about the rental details.

8. Purchase Insurance
What are your personal belongings worth? While the landlord’s insurance policy will take care of the building itself, it will not cover a tenant's contents. Make sure you purchase insurance that covers tenant belongings in most instances of theft and damage, including natural disasters.

9. Take The Steps Necessary To Get Your Deposit Back
Make sure you take pictures of the space before you move in and after you move out. Having that protection will help to ensure that you get your deposit back. When your rental term has ended, insist on completing a final walk-through with the property manager. That way,  both parties can compare the space before and after your occupancy.

10. Be Efficient With Space
Once you have found the place for you, make it your own. Take advantage of wireless technology and multi-use fixtures/storage to eliminate any unnecessary clutter from your home. Use temporary décor ideas, like bright cushions, to turn your rental into a home, making you feel renewed and unique without making significant changes or spending a lot of money.