You Asked, We Answered! Common Questions Submitted By MyNewPlace Blog Readers

Hey MyNewPlace Blog readers! Today I’m going to answer some of the questions that y’all have sent in.

“I’m in a month-to-month apartment lease (the lease is managed by my roommate).  I’m going to be living abroad for a month starting in August.  Is it typical to have to pay rent while I’m gone?”

As long as you give adequate notice to your roommate, you shouldn’t be responsible for rent while you’re gone – provided you find a mutually acceptable person to sublet your room (always check your lease to see what your landlord’s policy is regarding subletting!).  You could always sweeten the sublet deal by subsidizing the rent a bit – for instance, paying $200 of a $700 monthly rent might attract a sublet more quickly than asking the full price.

Alternatively, you might decide to pay rent anyways.  Your roommate, for example, might choose to find another renter to replace you permanently, and then you’ll have to look for a new place to live, which is often a lot of work – especially when living abroad!  And if you think you are putting your roommate in a bad position, think hard about this decision before you make it.  Do you really want to risk a friendship for the price of a month’s rent?

“What are some tips for choosing an apartment from across the country?  Not being able to see places firsthand, or deal with management directly makes for potential problems.”

You are absolutely right that choosing an apartment from afar can be tricky.  If you have family or friends in the area where you are moving to, your best option would be to ask them to check out a few apartments for you and let you know what they’re like.  If this isn’t possible, then your best choice is to request as much information as possible from your potential landlord.  Be sure to get photos and exact dimensions, for example.  You should also google the name of your apartment complex.  This will give you a chance to see the apartment’s exact location and what types of things are nearby.  Also, if there are any huge red flags like bankruptcy proceedings or lawsuits, these will usually come up in your search results.  And whatever you do, do not give any money to the apartment landlord or sign a lease until you see the apartment for yourself and make sure that you want to live there.  It’s always best to reserve all of your options until the last possible moment, to make sure that you don’t make a bad decision.

Another option is to secure a short term sublet in your new city – a place where you and your stuff can crash for a couple of weeks while you conduct your in-person search. If you have bigger items such as beds or couches that won’t fit in your sublet, storage lockers start at about $25 a month and help give you the time you need to make a good, (non harassed) choice.

“Can I get an apartment with an eviction on my record?”

Yes, but it could be difficult.  Apartment managers in higher priced complexes, in particular, will almost always run a credit check on you or call your previous landlord, and when they find out that you were evicted they are unlikely to rent to you.  For a better chance of finding an apartment, start looking in cheaper, less upscale neighborhoods where apartment complexes are usually more concerned with ensuring that their vacancy rate stays low.  There are other options to consider as well: you can find someone with good credit who will co-sign for you, which is often enough to convince a landlord to rent to you; or you can get a roommate with good credit, who can get someone to offer a lease and share the rent with you.

“Do you know how to seek a compatible roommate?”

Check out this fantastic article by our very own Matt DiChiari on how to find a good roommate!

“Do you really read my questions?”

Why yes, yes we do.

Have more questions? Submit them here or on the front page of our blog!

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