Top five things to remember when moving out on your own
Moving out on your own can be a liberating and sometimes overwhelming experience. It’s important to remember that the freedom of finally having your own place also comes with a number of responsibilities you may not have considered before.
The most important things to remember when renting your own place are:
1. Consider getting tenant insurance
As a renter it’s better to be safe than sorry. Tenant insurance is an important thing to consider when you begin renting. It’s relatively affordable and can be purchased from most insurance providers in Saskatchewan.
Tenant insurance may cover:
- personal property damaged or lost due to fire, water damage, vandalism, theft or other unforeseen circumstances;
- personal liability for injuries guests suffer in your rental;
- damage to the rental or surrounding properties; and
- living expenses if you temporarily need to find another place to live due to repairs, fire, or other circumstances.
Your insurance provider will be able to assist you in selecting the coverage that best meets your needs. Coverage and exceptions to coverage will vary between insurance providers and policies. Before buying a policy, read it carefully and make sure you know exactly what it does and does not cover.
2. Make sure you read and understand the terms of your rental agreement or lease
When renting your own place, it is important you understand exactly what the terms of the rental agreement or lease are before you sign it. All tenancy agreements must include the Standard Conditions. Some include a fixed term that requires you to continue paying rent for the property until the agreement expires. Make sure you carefully consider how long you plan on living in that location before you sign anything.
Other important details to look for in your rental agreement or lease include:
- how much the damage deposit is and what it covers;
- whether the landlord allows pets;
- utilities you are responsible for paying (electricity, water, heat, garbage removal, etc.);
- fees for late rent or returned cheques;
- rules regarding quiet hours or guests;
- your landlord’s contact information and any other emergency contact info; and
- any cleaning that needs to be done before you move out.
3. Know the rights of landlords and tenants
Under Saskatchewan legislation, landlords and renters both have specific rights concerning issues such as security deposits, rent increases, property repairs and tenancy disputes. Rent increases in particular are subject to specific rules, which can be found here.
More information on the rights of landlords and tenants can be found at the webpage for the Office of Residential Tenancies. You can also contact the Office of Residential tenancies at ORT@gov.sk.ca.
4. Thoroughly inspect the property before signing anything
You should only agree to rent a property after you’ve taken a good look at it. When inspecting a property look out for any pre-existing damage. Pointing this damage out to your landlord and taking pictures of it could save you money on your damage deposit when it comes time to move out.
If you notice any potential safety hazards or wiring or plumbing problems in the property, point them out to the landlord and ask for confirmation that they will be repaired before you move in. If you’re not sure what to look for when inspecting a property, the Office of Residential Tenancies provides a checklist that can be found here.
5. If you have roommates, make sure the financial responsibilities are clearly defined
Living with roommates is a great way to cut down on costs. However, roommate situations can also lead to misunderstandings if everyone isn't completely clear on what their financial responsibilities are.
It may be helpful to have a monthly meeting on rent and utilities to ensure everyone understands exactly how much they’ll need to pay. If one person is going to be responsible for paying the rent and utilities, make sure everyone understands the importance of having the rent money to that person on time.