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Renting advice

Renting advice

Old Apr 5th 2011, 12:33 pm
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Default Renting advice

Hi all

We have just found a property we would like to rent here in New Jersey. and I have a few questions so I don't seem too dumb to the landlord/agent if anyone could help.

1. When are you expected to pay the rent , deposit and fees etc. - In the UK when we rented our house via an agent the tenants paid the fees on the first day they moved in. Id it the same here? I got an email from the agent yesterday confirming all the requirements and it said checks for rent, deposit and fees, and it seemed they wanted them before moving in? Is this standard?

2. They have asked for a credit report, which I know is standard, yet we won't have any credit history as we have only been here a week. Will this effect anything, I have let the agent know this but they haven't got back to me yet.

3. We set up our US account with HSBC before we left the UK but don't have a check book yet. Will the bank issue a bankers draft check for these payments? I know there will probable be a cost.

Thanks guys, I just want to be a bit prepared, and as Hubby is being all Gordon Gekko in Wall Street everyday it's up to me to sort it out.

Sam
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Old Apr 5th 2011, 1:12 pm
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Default Re: Renting advice

This is our first time renting in the US so not a lot of experience. We found a house for Jan 1 around the middle of Nov and to secure the house, they wanted 1 month deposit, pet deposit and first month rent immediately. I sent a bank cheque by Fedex, bank cheque was about $6.

We also paid $60 each for a credit check even though I told them I had no history as I had just, 5 days before, entered the US on a visa.
As you dont have credit history then they may ask for another months rent instead.

Be prepared to be pay out lots of money in these first few weeks. i.e. we had to pay $350 deposit to Duke Energy even though my husband has credit history, because we were a new customer - they then use this against the bill after 9 months of good payment history.

Good Luck.

Last edited by Orangepants; Apr 5th 2011 at 1:46 pm.
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Old Apr 5th 2011, 1:30 pm
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Default Re: Renting advice

Originally Posted by samjwood View Post
Hi all

We have just found a property we would like to rent here in New Jersey. and I have a few questions so I don't seem too dumb to the landlord/agent if anyone could help.

1. When are you expected to pay the rent , deposit and fees etc. - In the UK when we rented our house via an agent the tenants paid the fees on the first day they moved in. Id it the same here? I got an email from the agent yesterday confirming all the requirements and it said checks for rent, deposit and fees, and it seemed they wanted them before moving in? Is this standard?

2. They have asked for a credit report, which I know is standard, yet we won't have any credit history as we have only been here a week. Will this effect anything, I have let the agent know this but they haven't got back to me yet.

3. We set up our US account with HSBC before we left the UK but don't have a check book yet. Will the bank issue a bankers draft check for these payments? I know there will probable be a cost.

Thanks guys, I just want to be a bit prepared, and as Hubby is being all Gordon Gekko in Wall Street everyday it's up to me to sort it out.

Sam
1. usually there is an application fee due on application. If accepted a portion of the deposit is required. A few days before move-in full payment of first month and deposit must be paid. These requirement are extremely depended on the landlord.

2. Your lack of credit score maybe an issue. It could affect amount of deposit or even amount of rent, or whether they accept you at all. I would ask HSBS UK to write a financial reference on your behalf and would also ask you husbands work place if they could do the same.

3. Yes the bank can issue you a bank draft, bank check. In branch they should be able to give you temporary checks (not accepted in many places), you could also use your online bill pay to issue checks.

this might not seem like much help but its a bit like the wild west, no firm rules.
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Old Apr 5th 2011, 1:55 pm
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Default Re: Renting advice

We've been renting out condos in Houston for the last 8 or 9 years, and would agree with the previous poster - a lot is landlord dependent, especially if you are going with a private landlord.

We take the application fee (required by the condo associations) at the time of application, then don't take anything else till the day before or the day of move in when the deposit and first months rent are paid at key handover.

We mainly get big company expats in, and so cannot run meaningful credit checks on many of them. In lieu, we accept an employers letter confirming their employment and the length of their assignment. More often than not, they will also divulge either the rental allowance, or the gross salary. If they are US residents, in addition to the credit check we also do a criminal background check, and follow up on previous landlord references (for what its worth...).

I know there are a few potential holes in our policy, but remembering our own renting days, we try to make it easy for the tenants (we also put a bottle of wine/6-pack in the fridge). In return, most of them end up staying for their entire postings, and generally thank us for being easy to deal with when they leave. We have never had to deduct a penny from deposits - maybe a case of what goes around comes around.
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Old Apr 5th 2011, 5:32 pm
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Default Re: Renting advice

You pay up front when you sign the lease, either direct to the landlord, their realtor or yours if either are using them, whatever they want. You also pay your realtor fee at the same time if they used one.

No credit history, worst case, they tell you that you've not got the rental, you can offer to put down a larger deposit if you want.

The bank can write a cheque for you.
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Old Apr 5th 2011, 8:07 pm
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Default Re: Renting advice

A lease and terms are subject to negotiation like many other things in life... so don't be afraid to negotiate your rent.

Since every state and municipalities are different; if I were you, I'd check to see if there are any local landlord/tenant handbooks which may outline tenant rights and laws and who is responsible for what etc. (ie upkeep and repairs etc).

Security deposits are the touchy areas for disputes.... especially releasing the money afterwards. In this age of foreclosures etc, it may be wise to have it held in escrow/trust account so that it can't disappear with a LL.... so addressing such worst case scenario, having a signed agreement and automatic release on file (signed upfront by all parties) may be something to think about.

Even rentals, private or through management services, properties 1978 and prior are still subject to the lead based paint disclosure... LL's/agents/management companies can expose themselves to a 10k fine if one isn't done.
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Old Apr 5th 2011, 8:20 pm
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Default Re: Renting advice

Landlords generally want the security deposit and first month rent as soon as the lease is signed. Even though the landlord can sue if you later change your mind, if they don't have your money until the day you move in and you change your mind, it can be a difficult tiresome and time consuming to file the lawsuit, win the judgment, and then collect the money (sometimes people won't pay so they then have to start garnishment proceedings). The whole process could take more than a year and if someone leaves town or gets laid off, it could take longer leaving the landlord will all the expense of the lawsuit and unrented unit.
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Old Apr 6th 2011, 4:43 pm
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Default Re: Renting advice

I can only comment on our personal circumstances. We did all our negotiating from the UK and used a realtor over here who was recommended to us. She did all the groundwork, went to look at properties for us, the ones we were interested in that is, and even took extra photographs so that we knew what we were signing for. We did all this before we moved. We arrived in the US on Feb 16th last year and the following day, met with our landlords realtor who went over all the lease agreement etc. She explained what we were responsible for ie snow clearing, lawn cutting, utilities, oil etc and what the landlord was responsible for. We had no credit history at all so we'd brought over our credit report from the UK which they accepted with no problems, and we gave a letter from my husbands employer. We had to pay the first months rent and 2 months deposit ($6,000) up front, the deposit is security and is held and released back to us at the end of the lease, as long as we have fulfilled all our requirements during the lease period. We've just signed up for another year, and negotiated the rent down $100 a month as there are a couple of things needing done to the house that they haven't sorted. We have been really fortunate in that we get on great with our landlord and his wife, they visit us every 3 months or so and bring their kids, so I do feel really lucky. We had thought of moving to a better house, but to be honest, it's the old story, better the devil you know!!!

As for utilities, we couldn't get an agreement with any oil company, we still pay cash for our oil. The TV was ok as our landlord very kindly got us up and running until my OH got his SSN. Electric was easily set up with his SSN and we're billed every month for that. Don't know if any of this helps you any, but good luck with the move
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