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Tips for Potential Tenants Looking for a Townhouse to Rent

You’ve decided that a townhouse is right for you, whether it’s because you want to live in a single family home but you’re not ready to move to the suburbs, or for whatever other reason. So now you’re unsure how to proceed with minimal hassle, which is why we’ve created this guide on renting a townhouse.

There’s a lot of slightly different definitions for a townhouse, but the easiest way to explain it is that a townhouse is a terraced unit that’s owned by an individual resident. They are usually build side by side in a row so there is no gap between them. Residents of townhouses have a shared wall at minimum, sometimes two, and they can have more than one floor. This is a step closer to living in a real home as opposed to an apartment, because you have your own terrace and yard.

The Pros and Cons
Like any other rental property, there are benefits and downsides to renting a townhouse. On the negative side, you have less privacy than a detached single family home because you’re sharing walls with your neighbors, and you could have high fees associated with it. Another downside is that you will have less freedom with renovations than you may like. However, on the plus side you’ll be in a good location, with a good community with your neighbors around you, and you may have some shared community amenities like gyms and swimming pools.

Finding a Verified Listing Online
When you start the hunt for a townhouse, your priorities are probably finding a good place that’s a reasonable cost. You’ll want to get a verified landlord and be able to negotiate the final price, so be careful of the platform you’re using to make sure there are only real listings by verified landlords. It’s also recommended that you eSign your rental agreement online if possible and that way you’ll have a digital copy of the legal paperwork.

Meet Your Neighbors
Because townhouses mean that you’ll be living in close proximity with your neighbors, you’ll want to try to keep a good relationship with them, although there’s a chance you want. To start off on a good foot, meet with them in person and you’ll be able to tell if you’ll enjoy their company. Try to find out right away if there could be any friction points, such as if they like to host get togethers or have piano recitals, etc.

Look At Previous Utility Bills
If you move into a new place, you’ll also have to keep in mind the utility bills when you’re budgeting. So to avoid any nasty surprises a month in, ask to see previous utility bills to get an idea of how much the place will really cost you. It’s an unfortunate truth that sometimes a great property with an affordable price tag is no longer affordable once you add up the utility bills.

Find Out Property Maintenance Rules
You’ll want to find out before you sign who is responsible for the yard and adjacent territory maintenance, and that information isn’t always clear online: sometimes it’s the association that will do it for a fee and sometimes it’s your responsibility. It all depends on the community where your townhouse is so you want to find out exactly what they do and what the fees are. Sometimes they are responsible for the trash and maintenance activities, and sometimes they do a lot more like the lawn and yard maintenance also. Speak with your landlord before signing your agreement so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.

Check Renovation Restrictions
There could be renovation restrictions set by the landlord and also the association, so you may not be able to do all the interior work that you wanted to. Before you sign the contract, ask for the guidelines for both the landlord and the home owners’ association regarding decor, renovation, and maintenance. This is already a good time to figure out the home owners’ association fees, as previously mentioned, and ground rules for any shared properties like a pool or gym. Finally, you’ll want to check your landlord’s references from previous tenants, and familiarize yourself on your tenant rights. Hopefully you won’t need to refer to them, but it’s always better to be prepared.

Author Bio: Aimee Laurence, a teacher at Academic Writing Service, writes a lot of articles on a variety of topics, from education and higher learning, to interior decorating and home ownership.

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