There are typically many requirements that come with renting an apartment, as well as factors to take into consideration. As a prospective tenant, you have to prepare the necessary paperwork needed during the application process, as well as budget for the upfront costs (application fees, security deposit) and the long-term costs (rent, utility bills). If you intend to rent two apartments simultaneously, then you have to double down on these actions.
Can I rent two apartments at the same time? You can rent as many apartments as you can, as long as you are able to keep up with the rent, utilities, and any other fees that come with rental units. Many people usually lease an apartment or two on the side in order to conduct private business transactions or for convenience if you travel a lot. However, a landlord is not compelled to lease an apartment to you if he/she feels like you would be a financial risk for holding more than one lease.
Renting an apartment comes with a lot of responsibilities so you can imagine what it is like renting a second one.
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Considerations before you sign the lease for a second apartment
1. The upfront costs
Finding a second apartment is the easy part. You will be expected to take care of some costs at or around the time you sign the lease for your new unit. The costs you can factor into your budget for more than one apartment include:
- Advance rent – You will be required to pay the first month’s rent, and in some cases, the last month’s rent at lease signing. Most landlords require this in order to ensure your dependability. It may seem like a lot of money upfront, but you will need to pay rent on a monthly basis anyway, so you might as well begin as soon as you sign the lease.
- Security deposit – The amount that a landlord collects as a security deposit varies from one state to another. The highest amount you should expect to pay as a security deposit is an amount equal to one or two month’s rent. The security deposit is usually refundable at the end of your tenancy, as long as you have not caused any damage to the unit beyond the normal wear and tear.
- Application fee – Most landlords usually charge an application fee to apartment applicants who are keen on securing a particular rental unit. The fee typically goes towards covering the cost of conducting your background checks and may be refundable if you don’t get approved for the apartment.
- Holding fee – This is usually an amount you may opt to pay a landlord to take an apartment that you expect to secure off the market temporarily and hold it for you while your application is pending. Ensure that you have a written agreement with the landlord regarding the amount you are to pay as a holding fee that will be returned if you don’t get approved or if you change your mind about getting the rental.
2. The long-term costs
Expenses that you can expect to take care of for the duration that the rental is in your name include:
- Rent – Monthly rent is one of the more obvious long-term costs that come with one or more apartments. A landlord usually informs prospective tenants the amount that is expected to be paid as rent.
- Utilities – Another cost to take into consideration when you are planning two apartments simultaneously is the utility bills. Utilities that you should budget for include electricity, gas, water, internet, and garbage. Depending on the building, some utilities might already be included in the monthly rent, so it is important to find out exactly what you are paying for.
- Renters insurance – Many landlords usually require renters insurance in order for you to be approved as a tenant. Renter’s insurance covers your personal belongings, liability, and possibly living expenses in case of a disastrous event. Paying renters insurance will not put a big dent in your savings, but it is important to include it in your budget.
3. The necessary paperwork
The process of finding an apartment usually requires dealing with a lot of paperwork. It is important to have your paperwork in order before you start looking. Here is what you will need:
- Form of identification – Remember to bring along your driver’s license or other identification when you go to fill out an application for an apartment. In case you don’t have a driver’s license, a state ID, passport, or a green card should be sufficient to show proof of residency.
- Rental history – You will be required to provide your rental history, showing all the apartments you’ve lived in. The rental history you provide should include addresses, the duration you spent there, how much you paid, the phone number of the landlord, and why you moved out. It is also important to indicate if you have another ongoing lease.
- Pay stubs/bank statements – Landlords typically ask to see your two most recent pay stubs so as to ensure you are employed as well as to confirm you make as much money as you say you do. This way, they can confirm that you can keep up with the monthly rent.
If you don’t have pay stubs, a great alternative is to show your bank statements. They provide proof that you have enough money in the bank to comfortably pay your rent.
- References – It is important to have a list of both professional and personal references handy in case the landlord needs both.
- Social security number – In order to perform credit and background checks, a landlord will require your social security number.
4. Renovating and decorating
If you intend to make some modifications to one of your apartments, make sure that you consult your landlord first. For example, if you want to create more space for your business transactions by renovating one of the rooms in the unit, you will have to ask the landlord about the limitations in place so as to avoid losing your security deposit and any other additional fees that may come with inflicting damage. Some of the most common decorating restrictions you might face involve painting and hanging items that may require nails on the walls.
5. The duration of the lease
Make sure that you confirm the length of the lease before you sign it. There are two types of leases:
- Short-term lease – A short-term lease generally refers to any lease that lasts for less than six months, although a lease that is under a year is also considered to be short-term. It is not uncommon to find a short-term lease based on a month-to-month rental agreement which you may or may not renew at the end of each month. Short-term leases allow flexibility, especially if you have to rent a second home because you have to work in a different city.
- Long-term lease – A long-term typically lasts for a year or more.
6. Signing the lease
It is important to be clear on who signs the lease since it is a legally binding contract. Therefore, you and your landlord should both sign it, as well as anyone else you expect to share the responsibilities of having an apartment with. This may be a business partner or any roommates you might have. Make sure that you take the time to read the terms of the lease carefully before you sign it in case you find issues you want to discuss with your landlord.
7. Breaking the lease
There may be some unforeseeable circumstances in the future that may force you to break the lease for one of your apartments. If this is a possibility, it is important to be informed on how you can break a lease and face minimal penalties.
- Find a new renter – Many states usually require that you work with your landlord in order to find a new renter if you are planning to vacate the unit earlier than unexpected. You have two options here:
- Subletting-where you find someone who is willing to take over your current lease. Keep in mind that you won’t get back your security deposit until the end of the original lease term.
- Re-renting-Unlike subletting, the new tenant will sign a new lease and pay a security deposit. With this option, the landlord will have to re-list the apartment.
- Talk to your landlord – Some landlords can be lenient if you talk to them openly about your situation. Try to give as much notice as possible, and work out an agreement with the landlord to come up with a reasonable repayment plan.
- Is it illegal to live in an apartment and not be on the lease? Technically, you can get away with living in an apartment without being on the lease. However, the lease usually specifies that only people on the lease may live in the unit, so the person/people on the lease agreement may run into problems with the landlord for hosting an unauthorized tenant.
- Can you co-sign for two apartments? You can co-sign two separate leases for two different apartments to guarantee that you will pay the rent if the tenant, who may be your close friend or relative, fails to raise the required amount. However, keep in mind that co-signing could hurt your credit score as well as negatively impact your ability to get approved for your own accounts.