When deciding to relocate to the United States, your move will most likely include a search for an apartment. In our talks with others who have made the move to America, here’s six things we have discovered are confusing aspects of renting an apartment in the United States.
Locating an apartment
There are a variety of ways to locate an apartment when moving to the US. You can search for apartment listings in the local newspaper, Google apartments in your area, look for for rent signs while driving, or join Facebook groups in the area where community members may be willing to recommend a place to live. You also may choose an alternative to an apartment, so determine what would suit you or your family best before pursuing the next step. Check the surrounding areas of apartments you are interested in to make sure the schools are up to your standards. Children in the United States must attend public schools in their area or receive special permission to attend a school they are not zoned for. If you find an apartment you like but do not like the public schools around it, you can also choose to have your child attend a private school.
Furnished vs. Unfurnished
It is important to ask the landlord/renter of the apartment what is included in the apartment. Unfurnished does not always mean it does not come with a refrigerator, stove/oven, dishwasher, microwave, washer and dryer. Most include at least a stove/oven and refrigerator. Furnished indicates it includes items such as sofas, tables, and chairs.
When you relocate to the United States, you might find yourself confused over all the talk about utilities. Water, sewer, gas, electricity, trash, recycling, wireless internet, and cable TV are all examples of utilities and you will discuss most of these with the renter. Because utilities are based on the person and not the location, you may have to call and set up the utilities under your name or switch them over from the previous renter. If you leave the place, you will often need to cancel or transfer all utilities.
Living in the USA will entail signing a lease guaranteeing that you will pay rent for a minimum amount of time, often a year. Always fully read the lease to make sure you agree to their terms. If you have not established credit, you may need to have someone cosign for you; if someone cosigns, they are agreeing to pay in the event that you do not pay your rent.
Your apartment complex will most likely have rules associated with it that you must follow. For instance, your apartment building may have a no pets policy, in which case you are not permitted to own pets. Another common rule is a quiet time, meaning you cannot have loud noises after a certain time, such as 10 p.m. If you apartment complex has a swimming pool and/or workout room, there will likely be rules to accompany them. Sometimes apartment complexes have gates in which case you will need a code or a gate remote to enter. Additionally, check to make sure your family does not exceed the occupancy amount in the apartment. Lastly, you will possibly need to request a parking permit for your apartment complex or receive a numbered parking spot.
Once you move to America and decide on an apartment, you will more than likely be required to pay a security deposit and the first month’s rent before you move in. It is important to inspect the apartment before you move in or as soon as you move in to ensure that there is no prior damage as you will be billed for that when you move out if they believe it is your fault. If you notice something is broken or damaged, such as the showerhead not working, notify the landlord immediately.
What other questions do you have when it comes to renting an apartment in the United States? Comment below to ask questions or to share your experience of living in the USA.