Renting can be a real dream — as long as you know how to tackle these common challenges.
Renting offers its fair share of perks, but with great flexibility in your living arrangement comes a unique set of challenges — most of which are out of your control.
Here are a few tips to help you face the top five renting woes.
1. Pest infestation
Pests can be an all-too-common occurrence for renters. They can hide in your drains, in your kitchen cabinets and sometimes even on your bed.
To prevent pests in the first place, experts suggest keeping your home clean and properly storing all food. There are also many DIY remedies to get rid of pests, such as boric acid for roaches or apple cider vinegar for flies.
Of course, you can always contact your landlord or apartment office to ask if they’ll hire an exterminator to do the job.
2. Noisy (or nosy) neighbors
While most neighbors will exchange pleasantries, you might have to occasionally deal with a neighbor that really pushes your buttons.
A common neighbor squabble, of course, is noise. If your noisy neighbor is really bothering you, try talking to them directly, and see if they can keep noise to a minimum. Or you could work out a “noise schedule” of sorts, with designated quiet hours.
If confrontation gives you the jitters, purchase a white noise machine, or try soundproofing your home by installing a simple weather strip underneath the front door.
When an issue with a neighbor is about the property itself (for example, trimming a tree that straddles both properties), ask your landlord to send someone to fix it. If you decide to take care of it yourself, ask your landlord to repay you for any costs incurred.
3. Plumbing disasters
Do what you can to take good care of the plumbing while you’re living at the property. To prevent a major plumbing catastrophe, avoid flushing feminine products, diapers or paper towels.
However, some plumbing problems are unavoidable — and they’re often an emergency. Contact your landlord immediately when you’re having an issue. If you don’t get a response right away, do a bit of research on your state’s landlord-tenant laws to see if plumbing is one of the things that the landlord must maintain immediately.
4. Deposit battles
Deposits are a huge expense for renters. But as painful as they are to pay, they’re for the protection of the landlord, who may need to use the money to fix any damage that occurred while you lived at their property.
However, a landlord cannot charge the tenant for excessive repairs, particularly for minor issues, like normal wear and tear on carpet, or fixing or replacing appliances that have worn out over time.
If you truly believe that you didn’t get the correct amount for your deposit back, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Be sure to get a lawyer’s advice if you want to pursue a case.
To get your entire deposit back, sometimes the best offense is a good defense. When you move into a rental, take pictures of any pre-existing damage, or write it down on a move-in document that your landlord provides.
Leaving the property spotless when you move out is also a great way to ensure that you get every penny back.
5. Unsafe surroundings
Living somewhere temporary should never mean that you don’t feel safe. To secure your apartment, make sure the deadbolt is properly working when you move in, and lock your windows before you go to bed.
If you want a little extra security, many companies offer wireless security tools that are easy to uninstall when you move, which makes it easier to get your landlord on board.
Originally published October 20, 2015.