Your lease agreement will likely tell you the things you can and cannot do as a tenant. However, many tenants don’t read the fine print or pay close enough attention to the details in their contracts. Generally, you can prevent your landlord from imposing fines and avoid other legal and financial problems by never doing certain things as a renter. The professionals from Altra Insurance Services, a premier provider of renters, homeowners, and auto insurance San Diego residents trust for high-quality service, advise renters not to do these seven things.
1. Change the Locks
Never mess with the locks without first talking with the landlord and obtaining his or her express consent, preferably in writing. Replacing locks could interfere with the owner’s rights to the property, so you’ll definitely need to get permission for a lock change. If permission is granted, give the landlord a copy of the key for the new lock after the old one is replaced.
2. Remove Plants and Landscaping
Plants such as trees and shrubs and other landscaping elements are part of the rental property, so tenants aren’t typically permitted to remove them. Seek your landlord’s express consent beforehand. Otherwise, you could be liable for damaging the property.
3. Sublet the Property
Study your lease agreement to see if you’re allowed to sublet to someone else. If not, you’ll need to speak with the landlord about amending the lease to permit subletting. You don’t want to be liable for any related problems.
4. Damage the Rental Property
Certain types of damage are a natural consequence of normal wear and tear and aren’t ever an issue. However, you’ll be responsible for paying for repairs for any major damage you’ve caused, such as a broken window or holes in the wall.
5. Be Disruptive
Respect your neighbors and maintain the status quo. Don’t make extremely loud noises, have any late-night parties, leave trash or litter around the property, or do anything else that could cause a disturbance. You don’t want your neighbors to complain to your landlord or the police.
Depending on your landlord, you may or may not be able to do any painting to the interior or exterior of the rental property. Always check with your landlord first and make sure you get approval for all the details, including the right color and texture choices.
7. Fail to Get Renters Insurance
Make sure to look into obtaining a renters insurance policy to cover your valuable belongings in case of fire or water damage or being stolen or lost. If you don’t have renters insurance, you’ll probably end up having to pay out of pocket for such losses, as landlords typically don’t insure or reimburse tenants for such things. Note also that renters insurance often covers property losses sustained outside the rental unit, such as in your car, hotel room, or storage unit. You also don’t want to be personally liable for any injury to your guests or their property or have to pay for additional living expenses like hotel and meal costs while you’re displaced from the rental property during damage repairs.
If you’re renting, make sure to read your lease thoroughly so you know what’s expected. Following the tips above is a great common-sense way to keep your landlord and neighbors happy, and you’ll be satisfied too when you know your property is protected by reliable, affordable renters insurance. For a free quote, reach out to the professionals at Altra Insurance Services today at 619-474-6666.