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Transcript of Housing Information
Renting An Apartment
Renting an apartment for the first time can be an intimidating process. However, once you understand rental terminology and what is required of you, it can be an exciting experience.
After you secure an apartment, it is also important that you protect yourself in the event of an emergency and that you act responsibly in order to keep your new space.
for the TAY Population
What to Consider Before Searching for an Apartment?
is the person or company that oversees your property. The landlord is responsible for upholding the integrity of the rental unit (ie. maintenance, plumbing, home repair, landscaping, etc.) You, the
are the person who rents the unit. It is your responsibility to pay your landlord monthly rent and to adhere to all of the policies specified in your rental agreement.
also known as a
, is a signed contract that establishes a legal binding relationship between the landlord and tenant throughout the duration of your stay. Your lease will specify both the monthly rate and the time length agreed upon. For example, you may have a six month lease, a year lease, or a
month to month
lease. In this case, the tenant can decide whether or not to continue their stay from month to month. However, all leases require a minimum of a 30 day notice if you plan to move out of the rental unit.
Before you begin your search, you MUST consider the following:
What is the dollar limit that you will be able to afford for both monthly rent and utilities?
What are you able to afford for all deposits that may be required?
There are several ways to search for an apartment. You may choose to look online on various apartment search engines. You can check the classified section of your local newspaper, grab a free apartment rental magazine at your local grocery store, or you can keep an eye out for rental signs in your desired neighborhood.
Once you have found an apartment that suits your needs, it is time to complete the necessary paperwork. Your landlord will require the following:
Viewing a Potential Apartment
It is important to remember that first impressions are key when interacting with a potential landlord. Be sure to speak clearly and professionally on the phone when setting up a time to view the rental unit.
Make sure you are on time for your appointment
. Be sure to dress in clean attire and be respectful. You need to show him that you can be responsible.
Be on the lookout for the following:
Damage- holes or cracks in walls, ceilings, floors
Look for signs of vector infestation (insects, bugs, etc.).
Check for mold in damp/dark areas
Make sure all plumbing is functional (turn on all faucets and flush all toilets)
Ensure all doors and windows function properly
Look for water damage
Check integrity of fixtures/wiring
Check both water temperature and pressure
Look at furniture damage - if seeking a furnished apartment
Renting An Apartment/ Transitional Housing Opportunities
You will most likely be required to pay a security deposit.
are required upfront and they are used to cover any damages that you may cause to the property throughout your lease. If no damages are present when you vacate your apartment than you may get the entire deposit back when you move out. You may be required to pay a
to cover any damages your pet may cause as well if you choose to live with a pet. "A
is a deposit
to hold the rental unit for a stated period of
time until the tenant pays the first month’s rent
and any security deposit. During this period, the
landlord agrees not to rent the unit to anyone
Other questions to ask yourself:
Do I want a one bedroom? A two bedroom? A studio?
Do I need to find a furnished unit? Are any appliances included?
What kind of lease do I want? Long-term? Short-term? Month-to-month?
What kind of rental unit do I prefer? Apartment? House? Duplex?
Is the neighborhood close to work? School? Stores? Public Transit?
Is the neighborhood safe?
What utilities are included..if any?
Please note that it is always a good idea to check your credit history prior to searching for an apartment. Your landlord will do a credit check as well but you want to make sure everything looks correct. If something doesn't look right you will have time to fix the problem.
is a tool that landlords use in order to screen all potential tenants. Rental applications will ask about your current employment situation. They will require you to state your current income and you may be asked to provide proof of income. It is a good idea to bring a recent pay stub with you when filling out an application. The application will also ask about your past rental history. Lastly, you will be asked to sign a consent form which will permit your landlord to obtain both a background check and a credit check.
Do not lie on your rental application. Once you submit your rental application you will wait to find out whether or not you have been approved. You are not obligated to anything until a lease has been signed. If you decide to change your mind about this location you will only lose your application fee at this time. Application fees generally run in the $20-$30 range.
Signing the Lease
Landlords will require consent from you to conduct a
. This enables a landlord to see how "financially responsible you are." However, often times when you move out, you may not have established credit yet. Perhaps you have yet to open your first credit card account or you simply have inexperienced or poor credit. It is still possible to rent an apartment, you just may require a cosigner.
, is a person (usually a family member) who is willing to sign the lease on your behalf. This is a person who has already established good credit which will help the landlord to trust you. This cosigner is equally responsible for the lease agreement. The cosigner "takes legal responsibility for covering your rent if you cant. "
Your landlord will also require a
in order to check your criminal history. The purpose of this information is to "get an idea of your personality and dependability."
When you apply for an apartment, you will also be asked to provide 2-3
. These are people willing to speak on your behalf. Your references can be either personal or professional. It is a good idea to pick from both areas. Always make sure you ask permission prior to using a person as a reference. Be sure to choose someone who will be helpful to you by providing your landlord positive information about your character.
References can include:
Once your rental application has been approved, your landlord will ask you to sign the lease. It is imperative that you agree with all terms prior to signing.
When you sign the lease, you are entering into a formal written contract with your landlord.
Be prepared to do an inspection of the apartment with the landlord during this time. You will fill out a Landlord Tenant Checklist documenting the integrity of the unit prior to your move in date. If you have any concerns about the rental unit (i.e., property damage, questions about the length or terms of this lease) bring them up now. Work out any details prior to signing your name.
Everyone who resides in this apartment will be required to sign the lease indicating that they agree to all of the lease terms. This means that if you choose to live with a roommate, both of you will be responsible for paying rent on time and you will both be held accountable for any property damage that may occur.
When you meet with your landlord to sign the lease, you will be asked to provide both your first month's rent and the security deposit. Make sure you ask beforehand how they would like to receive these fees. It is not uncommon for a landlord to require a money order or check versus cash. Ensure you have enough money in your account to cover both of these amounts.
The security deposit is set aside to cover any damages caused to the apartment during the length of your lease. It may also be used to help cover any costs should you terminate your lease early. If no damages are present and you finish your lease, you will likely get all of your deposit back.
How to Rent Your First Apartment
-Brett and Kate McKay
All leases should contain the following information:
The names of both the landlord and tenant.
The address of the rental unit
The amount of the rent
When the rent is due, to whom it is to be paid, and where it is to be paid.
The amount and purpose of the security deposit.
The amount of any late charge or returned check fee.
The number of people allowed to reside in the unit.
Which party is responsible for paying utilities.
Who is responsible for taking care of the yard if one is present.
Any promises by the landlord to make repairs, including the date by which the repairs will be completed.
Are you able to sublet or have pets
When the landlord is permitted to inspect the unit.
Whether attorney’s fees can be collected from the losing party in the event of a lawsuit between you and the landlord
According to the Dept. of Consumer Affairs
California Tenant's Guide 2012
Tenants have basic legal rights that are always
present, no matter what the rental agreement
or lease states. These rights include all of the
Limits on the amount of the security deposit
that the landlord can require you to pay
Limits on the landlord’s right to enter the rental unit
The right to a refund of the security deposit, or a written accounting of how it was used after you move
The right to sue the landlord for violations of the law or your rental agreement or lease.
The right to repair serious defects in the rental unit and to deduct certain repair costs from the rent, under appropriate circumstances.
The right to withhold rent under appropriate circumstances.
Rights under the warranty of habitability.
Protection against retaliatory eviction.
According to the Dept. of Consumer Affairs
California Tenant's Guide 2012
Renting an Apartment
What To consider Prior to Your Apartment Search
Viewing A Potential Apartment
Credit Check and Background Check
Signing the Lease
Understanding Your Role
Who is Responsible for What?
When you meet with your landlord to sign a lease, be sure to ask any questions up front to clarify your role and your landlord's role in this agreement. To avoid any confrontation down the road it is important to clear up any confusion. This also includes when you choose to terminate your lease. Find out what is expected of you so that you may obtain most of your deposit back.
Understanding Your Role
Terminating your Lease/Rental Agreement
Renting an apartment is only one option available to you when moving out for the first time. If you are unable to afford an apartment either by yourself or with roommates, another option might be to consider transitional housing. "Transitional housing refers to any type of living situation that is transitional. The primary purpose or mission of transitional living environments is to help the resident become a productive member of society." These facilities often provide financial assistance, support networks, job seeking assistance, and case management to help you transition towards independent living. San Diego offers several of these options for the TAY population.
Description of Services Offered:
Provides youth with low-income housing, case management, independent living skills, and other supportive services.
Supportive services includes crisis intervention, mediation, career exploration, job-seeking skills, conflict resolution, cooking and nutrition classes, budgeting, banking, utilities hookup, and public assistance application help. Program is up to 18 months long and is designed to empower youth to make the transition to independent living.
Ages 18 to 24 years or emancipated minors ages 16 and older. Must have a source of income. Accepts legally married couples with children, women with children, men with children, single men and women 16 to 24 years.
Homeless Youth and Emancipated Minors
Image obtained from
3255 Wing Street, San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 221-8600 x2254
Sunburst Housing Project-San Diego LGBT
Description of Services Offered:
Homeless youth between the ages of 18-24 at the time of application. You must meet low-income requirements and have a qualifying disability (ie.mental health, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse)
San Diego LGBT Community Center
Serves low-income youth
Sunburst Youth Housing project provides 23 beds to homeless youth including LGBT youth. Three of these beds are reserved for HIV+ youth. They provide mental health services, independent living skills, case managment, employment assistance, and recreation services.
Image obtained from:
1649 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 255-7854 ext. 103
Youth must be able to live independently.
California Department of Consumer Affairs
Landlords' And Tenants' Responsibilities For Habitability And Repairs
It is your responsibility as a tenant to take care of the rental unit and to pay for any damages that you, your guests, children or any pets may cause to the property or surrounding common areas.
According to California Civil Code section 1941.2, all tenants are required to do the following:
Keep the premises "as clean and sanitary as the condition of the premises permits."
Use and operate gas, electrical, and plumbing fixtures properly.
Dispose of trash and garbage in a clean and sanitary manner.
Not destroy, damage, or deface the premises or allow anyone else to do so.
Do not remove any part of the structure, dwelling unit, facilities, equipment or appurtenances, or allow anyone else to do so.
Use the premises as a place to live, and use the rooms for their proper purposes.
Notify the landlord when the deadbolt locks or window locks do not operate properly.
Information obtained from
The California Department of Consumer Affairs.
"California Civil Code section 1941 states that when a landlord rents property to a tenant as a place to live, the property must be in a "habitable" condition." The landlord is responsible for making any repairs to ensure the property remains habitable or "fit to live in."
For a property to be considered "habitable," it must have the following:
Effective waterproofing, and weather protection of roof and exterior walls, including unbroken windows and doors.
Plumbing facilities in good working order including hot and cold running water, connected to a sewage disposal system.
Gas facilities in good working order.
Heating facilities in good working order.
An electrical system in good working order.
Clean and sanitary buildings and grounds free of debris, filth, garbage, rodents and vermin.
Adequate trash receptacles in good repair.
Floors, stairways and railings in good repair.
The unit must have a working toilet, sink and bath/shower. Bathrooms must have proper ventilation and privacy.
The property must have a kitchen sink.
There should be natural lighting in every room (ie. windows, skylights).
Safe fire or emergency exits leading to a street or hallway with all exits free of litter.
All storage areas must be kept free of combustible materials.
All locks and security devices on doors ad windows must be functional
Working smoke detectors must be present in all units.
All information obtained from
The California Department of Consumer Affairs
Terminating a Lease
Once you have moved into the property, you may want to consider rental insurance in order to protect yourself from an emergency or "peril such as fire, theft, or vandalism." This insurance does not cover the integrity of the property itself but rather the tenant's personal property.
Rental insurance is not a requirement in most states but it might be a good idea to protect yourself in the event of an "accident or robbery." You can get cheaper rates by going through your automobile insurance company. However, rates are usually $15-$25 dollars per month.
Apartment Guide Blog- The Rental Application Process
Heading Out on Your Own: 31 Basic Life Skills in 31 Days - Day 18: Renting your First Apartment
Brett and Kate McKay 2012
"You should only be spending between 25%-35% of your after-tax income on rent." McKay p.1
If you break a lease prior to the terms of your lease agreement, be prepared for monetary consequences. You can get charged a penalty fee or in some cases, you may be legally required to pay rent until someone takes over the lease.
Assuming you complete your lease agreement and have decided to move on, there are things that you must do to ensure that you get most of your security deposit back. It is important to thoroughly clean the apartment. You may wish to have your carpets cleaned as most landlords will automatically take this out of your deposit. Expect to do a walk through once again with your landlord. Here you will both refer to the Tenant Landlord Checklist that you filled out upon your initial inspection of the unit when you moved into the apartment. You may be charged if the apartment has "added damage or excessive filth." Your landlord is required to give you your deposit back within 14-30 days after you vacate your unit.
Description of Services Offered:
4145 Swift Ave. #2 San Diego, Ca. 92104
Young adults ages 16-21 (must be legally emancipated if under age 18)
Homeless youth or becoming homeless in the immediate future
Semi-supervised shared apartment living, job development assistance, case management,counseling and education assitance
All information obtained through
For more information on this and other topics, please visit our website at https://www.centerforchildren.org/successful-transition-resource-center/