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Renting a Home

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Homeownership is not necessarily right for everyone. About one-third of America’s families rent today, both by choice and because of financial ability.

Renting may be the best option for you if:

  • Your lifestyle and career require mobility and you do not see yourself staying in a home for more than four years.
  • You do not have adequate income or savings for maintenance or repair costs in a home. The need to repair the roof, buy new appliances or fix the plumbing can arise unexpectedly and can be costly.
  • You do not have the time or desire to take on necessary home maintenance that accompanies successful homeownership.
  • You are building your savings and your credit and plan on buying a home in the near future.
  • You plan on downsizing or retiring in the near future.

Your Credit, Your Landlord, and Your Rights

  • Your credit: Most landlords will want to review your credit and personal documentation, since this helps them determine if you will be likely to pay the rent on time.

    Your landlord may request from you:
    • A complete rental application from each renting individual over the age of 18
    • Verification of income
    • Proof of good credit and/or good rental history
    • Identification
    • Application fees and security fees (typically due at lease signing)

  • Your landlord and your lease: Before you sign your lease, be sure to review all details closely, including:
    • The length of the lease
    • All financial requirements, including the security deposit
    • Any rent increases, and how much advance notice your landlord must give
    • The utilities included in your rent, and those you will pay separately
    • Your responsibilities as a tenant
    • Your landlord’s responsibilities, especially for household repairs and maintenance of the property

  • Your rights: As a renter, you have rights set forth by state and local laws. It is important to know your rights in the event that you and your landlord have disagreements.

Renting After Foreclosure

If you’ve recently lost your home to foreclosure, learn how to re-enter the rental market with impaired credit.


Get Smart About Credit

CreditSmart Online Training

Take our online, interactive training courses to learn about credit, money management, and responsible homeownership.

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