National Consumer Protection Week: Protect yourself year round
March 6-12 is National Consumer Protection Week, so we thought to take a moment and remind renters nationwide to protect themselves as consumers. We’ve compiled a list with tips that make renting a lot less stressful.
Learn to avoid rental scams—scammers are known to advertise rentals that don’t exist (they’re also known as phantom rentals) to fool people into sending money before they discover the truth. The signs are easy to spot: they’ll ask you to wire money, the security deposit or first month’s rent before you’ve met or signed the lease agreement.
Report scams by contacting local law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Look after your finances and credit score. Look after your money and pay as little as possible for the apartment you want. Nearly half of renters are paying more than 30 percent of their income in rent, according to a recent report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. There is financial counseling which helps individuals strengthen their credit and establish savings goals; this leads toward having enough money for the security deposit and overall helps improve credit scores.
Renters Insurance is a must to protect your belongings from loss or accidental damage. Renters insurance protects your possessions whether you’re living in an apartment or renting a house. In case of fire or water leak, the landlord’s insurance will only cover the building itself, but you’d still need to replace your own items if they were damaged.
Watch out when selecting the moving company. If your friends and family can’t help you move, research moving companies and find one that you can trust. Check their reviews and social media, and of course, ask for recommendations. The right one will make your moving experience a smooth one.
Managed property or renting from a landlord? Expectations and peace of mind vary from one individual to another. To answer this question, weigh the pros and cons of both, and each has plenty.
Act like a homeowner. Acting like you’ll be living there for a few years will make you more aware of the space’s qualities and shortcomings. Moreover, this might even make you gut-check if you wish to rent versus own. Compare prices and long-term investment for each path.