What will I need to lease (rent) a home in Houston and it’s surrounding areas?
- Social Security Number
- Visa if here for work
- Offer letter if transferring for a job which just started or the last two pay stubs
- Copy of ID in color
- Rental history
- Background check
- Employment Verification
- Credit report
Some of the items above can be substituted by other things and exceptions can and will be made. It will all depend on the landlord or management company.
For people with no credit history either because they are new to the country or have just started working, landlords may ask for a additional deposit. There may also be other reasons why the landlord may require additional deposit.
Deposit: most common in single family home is one full month rent as deposit. As I stated before the landlord can ask for as much as he wants depending on credit or other things he might find. Anything negative like a low credit score, too much debt, a bankruptcy or a lease breach could cause the landlord to ask for more.
Rent: Is set by the landlord and it can be negotiable. It will depend on different aspects.
Terms: Single family homes are mostly leased on at least 12 months but some properties do short term, 1-12 months. Rent is usually higher when lease is shorter than 12 months.
Utilities: In most cases tenant pays for all utilities. Some condos or townhouse may include water, cable and access to all amenities.
Amenities: In most cases landlord pays a yearly fee that will grant you access to the community amenities. Make sure to ask before you sign your lease. Sometimes if there is an access card you have to play for the actual card.
Taxes: You are not responsible for paying any taxes when leasing a home. Property taxes are paid by the landlord.
Yard: This item is negotiable but in most cases the tenant pays for the yard maintenance.
Pool: This item is negotiable. I would say 50% of landlords take care of the pool themselves. 50% of tenants have to pay for it themselves.
Pets: There are three options, accepts pets (usually on a case by case because there is always a max number of pets allowed), does not accept pets and case by case. In my experience too many pets will be an issue for most landlords. In dogs breeds that are considered aggressive might not be accepted. Landlord usually want to know what kind, how many, sex, age, breed. Pets come with pet deposit. That is also to the landlord discretion and it can be fully refundable, half of it refundable or non refundable.
Repairs: In the last couple of years I have seem a large number of landlord move to ask the tenets for the first $75 dlls of any repairs done while on the lease.
What will the landlord do before move in?
When looking at homes make a list. Anything you would like done to the home before move in, anything you see or think needs repair, cleaning, moving, etc. You should have your agent ask everything before you agree to sign the lease. It is very important that all items are negotiated and mentioned in the contract. I have seen landlords do many things for a good tenant, I have seen some do absolutely nothing.
My advice to you:
When you have found a realtor to work with and they have shown you the homes you like pick at least 3. Number them in order of preference.
Fill out your application and get all the papers needed together. Ask your realtor to send the application along with an email asking any questions your might have about the property and negotiate any items before you sign the agreement. Once you are in it might be hard to get things done.
Good luck! and if you have any questions do not hesitate to email me, tex me, or call me. I will be very happy to help.