Apartments for Low Income

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Renting An Apartment For The First Time

April 23, 2013

Betty asks…

First time renting an apartment and got a few questions.?

I will be signing a lease with the landlord next week, but I am a little bit confused about a few things now. I would greatly appreciate it if someone can clarify a few things for me.

1. The landlord required me to pay the security deposit with money order. Is it common for the landlord to only accept money order but not checks?

2. What would be the best place for me to get the money order for the security deposit? (Around $1200)

3. If the lease starts at 8/20, does it mean I can definitely move in on 8/20? I am a little concern because the landlord is currently doing some works on the apartment now.

4. Should I call the electricity/gas/internet providers before my lease starts? Or should I call them after I move in?

5. If the hot water and heat is included, and the stove is an electric stove, does it mean I don’t need gas?

Thanks in advance.

Administrator answers:

1. Yes, that is normal. Checks can bounce; your landlord wants guaranteed funds. Read your lease; it probably stipulates how rent is to be paid.
2. U.S. Post Office.
3. Talk to your landlord. If you move in on the 20th, there are two options: you pay the full first month & then a prorated amount for Sept 20 to Sept 30th. (Possibly all due at lease signing). Or you wait until the 1st of September to move in.
4. Yes. More than likely, the landlord won’t allow you to move in until the utilities are in your name.
5. I don’t know for sure. You should ask your landlord.

Thomas asks…

what should I know about renting an apartment for the first time?

Administrator answers:


David asks…

I’m renting an apartment in the Phoenix metro for the first time help please?

I’m going to be renting my very first apartment out in Phoenix come this September. I’m a CNA so I’d be making a full time CNA’s monthly salary whatever the CNA salary is out there. I’d live in a 1 bedroom apartment with my boyfriend [ he's 18 & I'm 21] who would be working a minimum wage job. We haven’t found an apartment yet because we are looking for and applying for jobs ahead of time [well me and once I'm hired him a job near my job location] that way we have jobs already for when we move out there and can search for apartments near that location so it’s not too far of a commute and saves money [I intend on riding a bike when I'm able to to save gas money]. We plan to budget well also. We plan on couponing and buying non name brand stuff whenever possible that way we save more money. We are going to set a monthly budget for rent & utilities [that aren't included in rent] and other basic needs and what not. I have my car insurance paid off 6 months ahead of time instead of paying monthly [I don't have to pay progressive until January]. We’ll conserve electricity by only turning lights and stuff on when they are in need of use and when they are not in need of use have them shut off. We plan to conserve water by taking short showers, not leave water running during dishes and teeth washing. We plan to conserve electricity by leaving things unplugged when not in use. To save on laundry we’re going to do laundry only once a week or whenever we need to do it instead of doing laundry every day or every other day. So based on our monthly salaries and budgeting do you think we’ll be able to survive living on our own and what not? We both intend on going to college at some point [Me for nursing and him for computers].
I’d be working as a CNA in a hospital or a facility not a agency since they don’t pay as well.
Where I work now as a CNA in Maine I make $10.50 a hour and I’ve heard the CNA pay is higher in Arizona. I work 40 hours a week and will pick up shifts too. I used to live in Chandler and I love and miss it so I’m moving back to the Phoenix metro area [no clue which city yet hence no clue where I'm working yet]. I plan to go for my nursing degree but work as a CNA in the mean time. I’ll work as a CNA full time and go to college part time.

Administrator answers:

My oh my ;) That is a lot of budgetting

Yes, you will easily be able to survive on doing that. Do you two have parents that can help you a little bit through this rough patch? The average pay for a Certified Nursing Assistant in Phoenix is about $11 or $12 dollars an hour so it depends on how many hours a week you work.

Make sure that you and your boyfriend are both serious about your relationship

You will need outside help from a relative if you both want to go to college anytime soon.

Donald asks…

I am renting an apartment for the first time…ran into trouble…help me please!!!?

ok so I am moving to the united states for college and I need to rent an apartment. I can’t live in the college dorms…they are so small and there is no privacy…so I found this really good place in flint, MI (that’s where my college is)..but the problem is I do not have the legal documents required to rent the apartment like a US driver’s liscence or a Socio yet…though I have a work permit from the DHS..and this is my first time that I am renting a place of my own…so what do i do??? help me please…25 points to anyone who sorts this out for me!!!

Administrator answers:

Suggest you avoid large commercial apartment complexes and look at maybe a double where the owner lives in the other side, or maybe downstairs. A small scale landlord is more likely to overlook a few technicalities.

For that matter the only Legal documents most landlords require is some sort of proof you are in the country legally (some not even that) And that you have the ability to pay the rent.

Daniel asks…

Renting an apartment for the first time. Please help!?

Hello, I’m renting an apartment for the first time and today when I went to see the apartment I realized that’s a little old and it doesn’t look to good. But is all I can afford right now. Can I tell the landlord to paint the place, change the kitchen stove and refrigerator and the door lock? I would like to know what’s the safest way to pay your landlord? Can you pay with money order? And how do I know if everything is working ok. Like toilet, showers and stuff like that. I need advise. Thank you.
Well I live in NY and the apartment is 1200 without utilities.

Administrator answers:

Your first apartment! You’re excited and scared at the same time. I remember the feelings so well. When you go into the apartment, bring a clipboard, paper and pen with you to make note of anything that needs repair. Be thorough! Look at the window and balcony screens for tears and to see if they open and close properly, have good security locks. Check the water pressure. Run the water in the kitchen sink full blast to see how much pressure there is. Turn on the hot water taps to see how hot the water is and how long it takes to get hot water. Flush the toilet and put toilet tissue in the bowl to see if it goes down properly. Does the apartment show a certain level of cleanliness? Are the floors in good condition? Will the landlord paint the apartment prior to your moving into the unit? If not, will he pay for the paint and allow you to paint the apartment? Are there curtain rods over the windows? Open the kitchen cupboards and look for indications of rodent infestation. Are there dead bugs in the overhead light fixtures? It the fridge and stove operate, the landlord is not likely to replace them, but you can always ask. Test the fridge by placing a thermometer in it to see what the running temperature is. See if the burners on the stove heat up and check the oven for this as well. The landlord should be providing you with clean appliances. You should always ask for the lock to be changed prior to moving into the unit as there could be many copies of the key for the current lock in circulation. You should also be provided with a security chain lock allowing you to open the door a couple of inches to talk to someone knocking at your door. Is there a peephole for you to look out and view anyone knocking at your door? Is there an intercom system for people to buzz your unit and you release the locking mechanism allowing then to enter the building. Make a list of repairs that need to be done and get the landlord to sign and write on your list that he agrees to repair these items prior to your moving into the unit. Ask to see the fuse panel. Look at the electrical outlets and make sure they accommodate three prong plugs, if not, don’t rent the apartment as the wiring is not up to date. You can pay by cheque if you are going to rent the unit. Some landlords will require you to issue 12 cheques in January, one postdated for each month. If you write the cheques, record the cheque numbers and the amounts in case you have to stop payment for some reason. It’s always good to talk to the neighbours in the building to see what their experience has been. Check the crime listing to see if you are potentially moving into an area where there is gang activity or a lot of robberies. Be careful and listen to your gut. If you feel that the landlord is slimy and creeps you out, don’t rent the place. Take your time and look around to make sure you are moving into a good, safe apartment. You might also want to check on the laundry facilities. Are there enough machines for the number of apartments? Do you see people just hanging around the building? This might be an indication of drug dealing or other illegal activities. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

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