Apartments are a bit of a misnomer these days. The loose definition used to be that an apartment was a cluster of rooms in a unit. The apartment building would have multiple units and those units would be rented or leased for a certain timeframe or bought outright. Building maintenance was taken care of and you didn't have to worry about mowing the lawn. Today's apartments go beyond the old definition. More like home and not just a place to hang your hat until you buy, apartments have more options than the basic bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. For instance, you have a choice of micro-digs ranging from a mere 100 square feet of living space or coexisting with a community of like-minded people embodying an entire floor.
Rent was set depending on the size and luxury style of your apartment. You paid your deposits, checked off your checklists, and asked the landlord if you could paint your walls or hang your pictures. Renting an apartment hasn't changed much. You still fill out an application and go through an approval process. Whatever your fancy or your budget, here are three things worth considering before making your first (or next) move:
- You can negotiate your rent. You've got more control than you might think when it comes to how much you pay for your rent. Renters pay an average of $1,250 a month for a 2-bedroom apartment, according to national estimates. This means to rent below the recommended 30 percent threshold for comfortable living, you'd need to earn at least $20.30 an hour working at least a 40-hour week to make your rent each month. So don't be timid about negotiating a lower monthly rent. Just be respectful and give viable reasons.
- Millennials and Boomers are big renters. Millennials are likely the grandchildren or great-grandchildren of Baby Boomers, but both desire to be part of a social community where no or low maintenance living is part of the deal. Less is more is definitely appealing to both sets. The generation gap seems to be closing.
- Service animals and emotional support pets may not be subject to pet deposits and other fees according to the Apartment Lists. This could save you hundreds of dollars annually. Legally, you don't have to tell your prospective landlord that you have a disability. But know that you have a right to have your pet stay with you even if the lease prohibits them.
There you have it—three important considerations before you slap down that deposit and rent your next apartment. Negotiate your rent and check your rights as a renter if you have a service or a support pet.