93. Renting an Apartment (1)


Having your own space is a sign of success in the United States. However, renting an apartment is not easy. There are a number of steps you need to take. First, you need to figure out how much you can pay per month.

When you first move into a new place, most landlords, or property owners expect you, the tenant, to pay a security deposit. A security deposit is an amount of money you pay a landlord sort of as insurance that you won't destroy their property while you are living there. Usually the security deposit is equal to the amount of one-month rent. If when you move out, the apartment is in the same condition as when you moved in, the landlord will return your security deposit. If the apartment has any damage whatsoever, including holes in the walls because you hung up posters, the landlord can legally use that money to fix the apartment.

Once you know how much you can afford, you can begin looking for apartments for rent. You can look in the newspaper or online. Also walk around a neighborhood you want to live in and be on the lookout for "For Rent" signs.

There are two ways to rent an apartment. Most landlords rent out apartments on an annual basis. This means you will sign a document called a lease, which says you will stay in the property for one year and pay rent on a monthly basis. If you decide that you want to break the lease, or leave before your year is up, there are usually fines you will have to pay. Another way to rent an apartment is on a month-to-month basis. This means that you pay by month, and are not obligated to stay for more than a month at a time.

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