Everyone knows the difficult dance that is renting an apartment so what if I told you there were some key ideas that might make your renting life so so much better. Prevent future problems (or make sure you're prepared when they do arise) and change the way you think about your rented home when you read on.
Read the lease — Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Not so fast. Skimming the lease isn't enough. While the forms may seem standard, you never know what's been added or removed unless you really pore over that document. Is there terminology you don't understand? Get clarification before you sign. Think the lease is missing something? Don't be scared to ask for it to be added. The extra time it takes now could save you years of headaches later.
Take photos — You will probably do a walk through with your landlord before moving in and should note anything amiss on your official lease, but having a cache of your own dated photos is always a good idea. And it's not just for moving day. Is there a maintenance problem? Photos. Do you have an infestation? Photos. You get the idea: keep a visual note of your time in that apartment so you not only remember what occurred but you can prove it!
Put it in writing — Sure, you have a lease but what about dealings with people who are not your landlord? Do you have an agreement with a roomate or a sublease tenant? Write it down. It doesn't have to be fancy it just has to be dated and signed by both parties.
Don't be afraid to personalize (with permission) — Just because your rental is temporary, doesn't mean you should put your design vision on hold. You live there after all so enjoy you home now. Don't wait for a mythical day when you can "really decorate." Time spent personalizing any home, even a short-term one, is never wasted —it will make you happier every day.
Know when it's time to move on — There are plenty of downsides to renting so make sure to take advantage of the BIG upside: the flexibility. Yes, moving sucks, but so does living in a rental that's not working for you. Whatever the reason that's making you want to leave, you don't have to stick it out, you can just move on.