Apartments for Cheap

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Free Apartment Lease Form

January 14, 2013

Donald asks…

How much money should I have saved before I move out?

I am desperate to move out as soon as possible. I’m currently broke, carless and I still live with my parents. I have a stable job and I plan to work more and save more.

The questions is: What is the minimum amount of money I should save up to support myself to live on my own with a start rent payment of maybe $1k-2k per month in Los Angeles???

Please any honest and hepful advice- thank you!!

Administrator answers:

Build a budget including all income and expenses. Typical monthly expenses include: Rent, Loans, Water, Cable, Internet, Phone, Electricity, Car Insurance, Renter’s insurance, Groceries, Gasoline, and spending money. The cost of bills depends on where you live. There are lots of free budget forms for download; also check out DaveRamsey.com and mint.com for help budgeting. Rent should never be more than a third of income; many landlords verify this before they’ll offer a lease. If you don’t have enough money coming in to cover these expenses, consider getting a roommate.

Make a savings plan to prepare for moving out. There are lots of “start-up” costs involved in moving out the first time. Deposits for apartment and bills are the largest factor. Other things to save for are: Furniture (bed, couch/chairs, coffee/side tables, TV stand), electronics (TV, Computer, Microwave), Pots & pans, Dishware, Silverware, Bedding, towels, and the list goes on. Buy items that are easy to move before moving to decrease the amount you’re spending at one time. In addition to saving for the items listed above, put some in savings for a “rainy day” in case of job loss, medical emergency or car accident. $1,000 is the minimum, 3-6 months bills is recommended.

A great way to prepare for living on your own is to live by this budget before you move out and put what you expect to pay in bills into a savings account. Not only does this get you in the habit of living off the money budgeted for non-essential items, but it’s a great way to build up savings.

Daniel asks…

I am renting out a room in my home to my inlaws. does anyone know of any free forms for this?

I need a free form that works as a lease that I can have them sign. I want to be able to end the lease when I want and I want it to be legal. I live in the state of minnesota. they pay $700.00 a month, minus the cost of daycare for the month. how do I figure all that in and say if they are late – they hav eto be out by the first of the next month.
they do not babysit full time and it really is the whole 1st leve of my home. the only reason i want to do this is because they have already bounced checks and “pretend” they dont understand the rules of our agreement. We have let them live there for a year for free and this was only suppose to be temporary. I figure after a year they can start contributing to the house hold expenses.

Administrator answers:

Check out eviction laws in your state. You might not be able to just kick them out if they don’t pay, most of the time you have to go through legal channels.

You may want to write your own lease. Often, as long as it’s a contract that both people agreed to and isn’t heinously illegal (i.e. Fraudulent, or bait-and-switch), there won’t be any problems writing in a “kick-out” clause.

Best way to get a freebie is to go check out an apartment complex and request a rental application. DO NOT USE THE APPLICATION ITSELF WITH YOUR INLAWS!! Use it as a guideline to create a new application of your own design. The reason you want one from an apartment complex is that the contract will be bulletproof.

Lisa asks…

Shold I start saving money for my 1st apt now?

I am moving out next year. And I want to start saving money now.
is 15.00 a good start for saving?
I only make so much money a month so I cant affored to get a house. And plus I already have an apt in mind. I am on a list for section 8

Administrator answers:

Yes, start saving now and save as much as you can.

Build a budget including all income and expenses. Typical monthly expenses include: Rent, Loans, Water, Cable, Internet, Phone, Electricity, Car Insurance, Renter’s insurance, Groceries, Gasoline, and spending money. The cost of bills depends on where you live. There are lots of free budget forms for download; also check out DaveRamsey.com and mint.com for help budgeting. Rent should never be more than a third of income; many landlords verify this before they’ll offer a lease. If you don’t have enough money coming in to cover these expenses, consider getting a roommate.

Make a savings plan to prepare for moving out. There are lots of “start-up” costs involved in moving out the first time. Deposits for apartment and bills are the largest factor. Other things to save for are: Furniture (bed, couch/chairs, coffee/side tables, TV stand), electronics (TV, Computer, Microwave), Pots & pans, Dishware, Silverware, Bedding, towels, and the list goes on. Buy items that are easy to move before moving to decrease the amount you’re spending at one time. In addition to saving for the items listed above, put some in savings for a “rainy day” in case of job loss, medical emergency or car accident. $1,000 is the minimum, 3-6 months bills is recommended.

A great way to prepare for living on your own is to live by this budget before you move out and put what you expect to pay in bills into a savings account. Not only does this get you in the habit of living off the money budgeted for non-essential items, but it’s a great way to build up savings.

Jenny asks…

I am thinking about joining the air forces, yet have questions about my girlfriend.?

I understand that during basic training I will not be allowed any visitation. That is fine with me. What I am wondering is when I am stationed at a base if it is in the US will I be able to have visitors or would I be able to live with my girlfriend. Also, if i am married would the situation be different? And if i am at a base in the US can i live in a house with my girlfriend if it is on base/what are the living situations like. Thank you, I appreciate your answers in advance.

Administrator answers:

When you are finished with Basic and what ever technical school you will posted to a permanent duty station.

As far as the Air Force is concerned your girlfriend has no standing. She is nothing more than another civilian. When you are posted to the new duty station you will have some sort of duty hours, normally it is an 8 hour day but I have had some real duzzies. When your duty day is over you will free to do much as you please. That is barring any additional duties, commander’s call, classes and so forth. Depending on the base you will be assigned some form of billeting, normally a 2 or 4 man room in what amounts to a dormitory. You will most likely be required to maintain a living situation there for inspection purposes if nothing else. If town is not off limits and very few are you will be free to come and go as you please. If you procure housing down town and keep your girlfriend there I would imagine you could stay with here most of the time you are not on duty for one purpose or another. The Air Force will not move your girlfriend; they will not provide housing for her, no separate rations for you and so forth. I.E. 100% of all costs come out of your check and you will receive nothing extra for her. In addition the Air Force won’t make any concessions for her when you are reassigned. If you have a lease on an apartment that’s tough, big car payment that’s tough. The bottom line is you are in the Air Force and she doesn’t exist.

Now marriage is another matter. Assuming you marry before Basic. You will receive an additional allowance for her housing; you will eat in the Mess so no separate rations. Once you are posted they will pay for her move to the base you are assigned to assuming it is an accompanied tour. I don’t know of any unaccompanied tours in any of the 50 states. You will be assigned on base housing or you will continue the quarters allowance. In addition you will receive separate rations, that is money for not eating in the chow hall. There was talk of changing this when I retired so it could be different now. She will have medical coverage, you will have medical and dental but you wife will see a civilian dentist.

I have been retired for nearly 20 years. What I have listed is the situation as I remember it. If you get more current information that contradicts mine I suggest you go with it.

Good luck.

Carol asks…

My lease has expired and I want to leave but my roommate wants to stay?

I signed a one year lease with a friend on December 1st, 2011. Our lease is up on November 30th. The landlord sent us a letter in October stating that our lease was expiring soon and we either need to renew the lease or put in a 30 day notice for moving out. If we did neither then our lease would extend one month with a higher rental fee and would continue to extend one month at the end of each month until we renewed the lease or put in a 30 day notice. My roommate knew months in advance that I would not be renewing the lease. His credit isn’t good enough nor does he make enough money to live there alone so he said he was going to find a new roommate. On October 27th he and his new potential roommate went to the rental office and got an application to sign a new lease on the apartment. I knew we needed a 30 day notice before leaving so on October 30th I went to the rental office to put in a 30 day notice. Unfortunately I couldn’t put in a 30 day notice because he needed to sign it too. Obviously he wasn’t going to sign it because he wanted to stay and had gotten an application to sign a new lease. The rental office kept the form I filled out for a 30 day notice anyway and just put a date stamp on it and put it in our file. My roommate doesn’t communicate well with me and I have been waiting for him to tell me that he turned in his application and that he was signing a new lease. In the mean time I’ve been slowly moving out my belongings. Well the month is almost over with and now I have found out that he never turned in the application and the other guy backed out. So now it’s too late to put in a 30 day notice and we are obligated to Decembers rent. Because I was under the impression that my roommate was taking care of what he needed to do in order to stay, I signed a lease for a new car in October. So now I can’t afford my half of rent for December and I can’t stay there anyway. The rental office also mentioned to me that after the 30 day notice, if someone was still occupying the unit, that our 30 day notice would be null and void and our lease would be extended another month. My roommate has no where to live if he doesn’t get approved. I’m afraid that he might not leave at the end of the 30 day notice. The rental office said I could have him sign to drop me off the lease and then I wouldn’t be held responsible. I haven’t asked him yet but I’m afraid that he wont due to the fact that he can’t afford the rent alone for December and the fact that he will be homeless. If he refuses, what can I do? Is there any way that I can convince the landlord to hold him responsible for his negligence and free me from this lease?
I didn’t put in a 30 day notice, I tried to but I couldn’t because we both needed to sign it. Yes they kept the form I filled out but it’s not an official 30day notice without his signature.
I didn’t put in a 30 day notice, I tried to but I couldn’t because we both needed to sign it. Yes they kept the form I filled out but it’s not an official 30day notice without his signature.
I talked to my roommate last night and I told him I wouldn’t have rent for next month because i simply did not have the money and wasn’t intending on staying past the original date of the end of our lease. He didn’t have anything to say about that. Then I asked him if he would sign me off the lease and all he said was that if he did then he would have to reapply for the apartment immediately and he knew he wouldn’t get aproved alone, couldn’t afford it alone, nor has he found another roommate. So he pretty much said no. I also called the Manager at the office and told her that I felt he was trapping me in this lease, she already knew about the sitution because i have been frequenting the office for the last month. Alll she had to say was yes, he is trapping and unfortunately there is nothing legally that she could do about it. It had to be taken care of between me and my roommate. She had also mentioned that worse comes to worse, the only way I could force him out w
the only way i could force him out was by not paying the rent and allowing an eviction notice to happen. It seems like my best option. I don’t want this to go to court though. I read on michiganlegalhelp.com that it wont go on my credit record if it doesn’t go to court. how would i prevent it from going to court?

Administrator answers:

You did put in notice. The rental office and your roommate cannot hold you hostage. Move out as planned. Write your roommate a certified letter stating your plans and that he is fully responsible for December’s rent. Discuss this with the rental office as well. Don’t let them try to push you around.

Also understand that they may try to attach this to you. You may need to come up with the rent and then sue you roommate for it later.

Linda asks…

I need a standard rental lease agreement because I am renting a room in my house. Where might I find one?

I would like to find a standard month-to-month lease agreement. I would like to just fill in the blanks and have basic language about terms, rent, damages, etc.

Administrator answers:

I just took a look at that “free” standard agreement, and there are a boatload of problems with it. My office gets landlords in all the time who have managed to screw themselves royally with those free forms, Staples leases, landlord.com crap, etc…

Many clauses in those leases are unenforceable because they go against state or local law. People can’t sign away their rights. It just doesn’t work that way. Those agreements aren’t written with your best interests in mind nor do they protect you or your rights in many instances. They are like sugar pills … You feel all secure but in reality it’s worthless.

This lease doesn’t include the all important term “right of reentry” which allows you to legally reclaim the unit using the notices and causes for eviction provided by the laws of your state if the tenant fails to abide by the terms of the lease. If you didn’t reserve the “right of reentry” in your lease, you have given up your right to evict for anything other than non-payment of rent.

Some other problems with this lease:

“A finance charge of up to 10% of rent not paid will be automatically charged to the Tenant’s account after the fifth day of the month.” Many places have laws that limit the amount of late fee that can be charged, no matter what the lease says. This amount may or may not be legal where you are. And many states have laws (either statutory or case) that protect people who are on pensions and such from being charged late fees at all if their checks are issued on the 5th or whatever.

“If the tenant’s rent is past due and the landlord exercises his legal right to seek a judgment against the tenant in court, a $xxx fee shall apply in addition to court costs, late fees and rent due.” That’s basically a usury charge, and I’ll bet it’s unenforceable in almost every state.

Also this lease doesn’t state that the court costs or late fees are considered “additional rent”, and as such you probably won’t be able to claim them on a non-payment complaint.

“If the tenant abandons the property, the landlord may enter and relet the property. In this case, the landlord may also remove and dispose of any personal property left behind by the tenant.” Want to get sued? You need to take legal action to regain posession of the apartment, and you must follow the law in your area regarding abandoned property. You can’t just toss it out. Let’s say your tenant disappears. You think he abandoned the place, dump his stuff and re-rent the unit. Your tenant shows up in a month or two and guess what? YOU are the one in trouble. You didn’t regain legal posession of the apartment. Those people are living in his apartment. You threw out his stuff. You are going to pay for this through the nose, and the few hundred dollars he owes you will be deducted from the thousands of dollars you will owe him. We had one tenant as a client who was wrongfully detained for over a month in a foreign jail while on vacation. He came back to find new people in his place and all his stuff gone. The settlement our office got for him was probably twice what most people reading this make in a year. The landlord could easily have avoided this by taking the legal steps required to reclaim the unit and by placing the tenants belongings in storage as required under the law.

” will return the balance within 30 days. The tenant must give the landlord written notice of the tenant’s new address or make other arrangements with the landlord for the return of the security deposit.” If state law say you have fewer days, then that’s all you have. In many places, if you don’t return the deposit or a written statement why it is not being returned (unpaid rent, damage, etc) within the time frame allowed by law, the tenant is awarded 2 or 3 times the amount of the deposit.

I could go on and on and on about these stupid forms (and this one in particular). They aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. When and if you ever end up in front of a Judge, the fact that you have a lease or agreement that repeatedly violates state or local law will affect your credibility. No matter how honorable you are, you will look like a crook.

Do yourself a favor. Go to a lawyer who specializes in Landlord/Tenant law in your area and ask them to draw up a simple roommate agreement that is in your best interests and is enforceable under the laws of your area. Landlord/Tenant lawyers also know case law which can affect your situation. It won’t cost a lot, and will be worth its weight in gold if you have a problem tenant or an unexpected situation come up.

Helen asks…

If my neighbor upstairs is loud past midnight, and the landlord won’t do anything, can I sue the landlord?

For not getting involved? I have sent five complaints, written forms provided by the landlord and they are not doing anything….
Well, this guy complained about my son playing music loud at 3 pm, he came down and told my son, my son stopped, when I came home I scolded my boy and went upstairs to apologize to the guy. We talked for a few minutes. One night I went up because his music was loud, at 11:30 pm, he denied it. But turned it off. But ever since he keeps bugging. I went up to talk to him, and he shot the door in my face saying he had nothing to say to me, to talk to the manager. I did, and sent ever since a bunch of complaints cuz every night, just like now, at 12:40 am, he watches movies and his little kids are running around like crazy. I don’t wanna sue anybody, I don’t want money, I just want someone to force him to stop….the land lord should do that right?

Administrator answers:

Generally you would be allowed to break the lease.

As far as whether you could remain living in the apartment and sue the landlord (perhaps for a rent reduction over the lack of quiet enjoyment of your home), you could try. If you were reasonable (meaning you are not trying to claim you should live rent-free or even 50% off) and you had plenty of proof, you might be successful.

It would depend on why the upstairs neighbor is doing, though. If they work nights and are simply coming home or are otherwise not doing anything unreasonable, you wouldn’t have a basis to sue.

Sandy asks…

What expenses should I budget for?

I’ll be moving out of my parents house and out on my own soon. What are the expenses I should include in my budget? I know there will be rent, food, church tithes, clothing, and savings, but I don’t know what else and I know there’s a lot missing. And how much should I try to put into savings anyway? I’d like to have a theoretical budget before I jump in head first.

Administrator answers:

Build a budget including all income and expenses. Typical monthly expenses include: Rent, Loans, Water, Cable, Internet, Phone, Electricity, Car Insurance, Renter’s insurance, Groceries, Gasoline, and spending money. The cost of bills depends on where you live. There are lots of free budget forms for download; also check out DaveRamsey.com and mint.com for help budgeting. Rent should never be more than a third of income; many landlords verify this before they’ll offer a lease. If you don’t have enough money coming in to cover these expenses, consider getting a roommate.

Make a savings plan to prepare for moving out. There are lots of “start-up” costs involved in moving out the first time. Deposits for apartment and bills are the largest factor. Other things to save for are: Furniture (bed, couch/chairs, coffee/side tables, TV stand), electronics (TV, Computer, Microwave), Pots & pans, Dishware, Silverware, Bedding, towels, and the list goes on. Buy items that are easy to move before moving to decrease the amount you’re spending at one time. In addition to saving for the items listed above, put some in savings for a “rainy day” in case of job loss, medical emergency or car accident. $1,000 is the minimum, 3-6 months bills is recommended.

A great way to prepare for living on your own is to live by this budget before you move out and put what you expect to pay in bills into a savings account. Not only does this get you in the habit of living off the money budgeted for non-essential items, but it’s a great way to build up savings.

William asks…

who are the best life insurance companies to purchase life insurance from?

Administrator answers:

Carlii said it best: stick with A-rated carriers. There are too many out there to list all; some you have heard of, some you may not have. Not the place to recommend specific companies.

If you know what you can comfotably afford in your budget, most good agents can easily find and structure life insurance that best suits you and your needs.

Www.insure.com is one of many places to start.

And yes, it can be confusing in your search. However, as mentioned in other answers, there are basically 2 forms of life insurance: term life and whole life. There are a variety of kinds of each, but either you can “rent” the life insurance (term) or “buy” it (whole). Depending on where you are in your life; married, children, mortgage, debts, budget, will help determine how much and what kind to get.

Term is the least expensive, while providing the very basic foundation of what life insurance really is: provides tax-free, instant monies to your beneficiary. Whole life is more costly as it is a “committment” and not something you should purchase only drop a few years down the road. Each has it own benefits and costs.

A quick analogy: most people rent an apartment before they buy their 1st house. Rent is usually on a leased-basis and is less expensive and you can either renewal the lease or move.
A house cost more (taxes, insurance, mortgage, maintenance, etc.) and is usually bought when you feel you can afford it. But in a nutshell, they both provide the same thing: shelter and a place to live.

Hope that helps. No, I am not an agent, yet have been in the insurance business for 25 years. Any more detail or advice, email me at azulorl@yahoo.com

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