Should you stay or should you go? If you are currently renting a home, you may be pondering this very dilemma. Thankfully, the decision doesn’t have to be complicated. Take a look at our 12 questions to ask yourself before renewing your lease with a current rental.
12 Questions to Ask Yourself
Is your landlord responsive and trustworthy?
Does your landlord respond to emails, phone calls and texts in a timely manner? When you need something fixed (i.e. a broken appliance), do they schedule the repairs as soon as possible? These are questions you should ask yourself before renewing your lease. If the answer is no, then you should consider finding a new place to live. Another reason to move is if your landlord frequently stops by unannounced, is simply annoying, and/or makes you uncomfortable. In this case, you and your roommates should not plan on renewing your lease.
Does the rental rate work for your budget?
Perhaps you recently received a raise or lost a job. Whatever your money situation, you should make sure that your current rental fits your current budget. If you find yourself barely scraping by every month, wishing you had extra money for travel, food, etc, then consider looking for a cheaper rental.
Can you afford to move out?
Newsflash: moving is expensive. If you decide to break your lease, you’ll have to pay for moving expenses. These could include boxes and supplies, transportation, labor assistance, etc. Even a DIY move with a truck rental could cost you a few hundred bucks, depending on the distance and length of time needed. The average cost of a local move using a professional moving company is around $2,300, according to the American Moving and Storage Association. Make sure you can afford these moving expenses before deciding to move out.
Do you have another place to go?
This one may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people decide to leave their current rental without finding a new one first. When considering a move, make sure you have at least an idea of where you’d like to go. Research other rentals in your budget and visit neighborhoods to decide whether or not moving is a viable option. If there aren’t rentals available in your budget, then you’ll likely need to renew your current lease.
Do you like your roommates?
Roommates can make or break your rental experience. If you’re currently living with nightmare roomies who aren’t likely to move soon, then strongly consider moving out at the end of your lease. Just make sure to meet your potential new roommates before signing a new lease. Read What to Consider When Moving In With a Roommate for more advice.
If you move out, will you be leaving your roommates high and dry?
While it’s certainly within your rights to leave a rental at the end of a lease, just make sure to give your current roomies a fair warning. Otherwise, you could end up ticking them off – not to mention, costing them hundreds of dollars in expenses. If you decide to move out, give your roommates plenty of notice. You may even want to help them with their search for a new roomie.
Is your neighborhood safe?
Do you feel safe walking home at night? Has your apartment building experienced break-ins in the past? How are crime rates in the area? These are all questions to consider when assessing the safety of your neighborhood. If you feel unsafe on a regular basis, then we strongly recommend considering a move.
Do you need access to parking?
I’ve had many friends who decided to not renew a lease due to parking issues. Perhaps, reserving a parking spot was too expensive or finding one on the street was simply impossible. Whatever the reason, you may need to consider moving to a rental with easy access to parking, if driving a car on a daily basis.
Is your landlord raising the rent?
If the rent stays the same or increases slightly, you may be more likely to renew your lease. However, if the landlord raises the rent considerably, you should think about moving somewhere more affordable. This is especially true if the landlord has continued to raise the rent year after year without justification.
Can I afford something better?
Of course, if you can afford a nicer rental or one in a better location, you should consider making the move. Signed your initial lease years ago? There’s a good chance your financial situation has improved over the years. So take a look at your finances and reassess what you can reasonably afford before renewing your current lease.
Is leaving worth the hassle of moving?
From supplies to planning, moving to a new rental can be expensive and time consuming. Not to mention, you’ll have to spend hours of your personal time looking for a new place to rent and possibly, new roommates as well. If you decide not to renew your lease, make sure the move is worth the hassle.
Does this rental still fit your needs?
Think about it: does this rental still fit your lifestyle, budget and work commute needs. While it may have been a perfect fit when you first signed the lease, it might not be conducive to your life now. Examples of when a rental no longer make sense include: if you change jobs and suddenly have a farther commute to work; if your friends move away from the neighborhood; if you no longer want to be in the city or suburbs; and if your rental is no longer in your budget.
Not renewing your lease?
Make sure you give your landlord proper notice. Review your lease for termination details. If you decide not to renew your lease, you may need to give your landlord at least 30 days notice so they can find a new tenant.
Follow these steps to get your security deposit back as soon as possible.
Ask these questions before signing a new lease.
A few things to consider when choosing a new rental
Budget – How much can you reasonably afford? When figuring out your budget, don’t forget to factor in other daily expenses such as groceries, dining out, gasoline, car payments, etc.
Amenities – Consider the rental’s amenities and how well they suit your lifestyle. Examples include whether or not the rental has an elevator, door man, security, a gym, appliances, etc.
Pet policy – Do you have a pet? Make sure to check the rental’s pet policy if you own a dog or cat. Many rentals will make tenants pay a pet deposit. They may also have certain weight limitation for pets.
Lease specifics – Read the lease carefully before signing it. It’s also a good idea to have a lawyer or Realtor review it.
Neighbors – Have you met the neighbors? If you’re seeking peace and quiet, don’t live next to a frat house. If you tend to throw parties and socialize, make sure your neighbors aren’t in bed before 9 p.m.
Landlord – Is the landlord easy to reach? Make sure the landlord is responsive to his or her tenants’ needs before signing a lease.
Roommates – Meet the new roommates before signing a lease. While you don’t need to be best friends, you do need to be somewhat compatible with your roomies.
Work commute – Is the rental located close to your work? Is transportation easy to access? Make sure it’s relatively easy to get to work from the new apartment.