Choose

Choosing the right rental home can mean a healthier, affordable stable household in a community that is rich with opportunities.  

Choose 
means making a sensible decision about where you live and what you pay.  Planning can make a difference for a long time


  • Remove the barriers that are under your control, eg. credit, rental image, criminal background, bad rental references.
  • Compare the health, education and employment opportunities in the community you choose.
  • Make a choice based on all the costs of renting...not just your monthly rent payment.  Check utility costs and transportation costs to work, school, shopping. Watch out for "hidden" fees.
  • Be ready to challenge unlawful denials based on who you are instead of on how you act.
Homesearch basics (thanks to CodyC)
Things to ask before you sign http://www.zillow.com/rent/checklist/

Avoid getting screwed when you rent: advice from a landlord  

Do you need a reasonable modification because of a disability?

Resources for making reasonable modifications

Beware of restrictive "child" rules
Overly restricted rules on children have brought another HUD charge. "The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has charged Blackacre, L.L.C. and Alishia Ritchkey, the former owner and manager of Pebble Beach Apartments, a 61-unit complex in Universal City, Texas, with violating the Fair Housing Act by imposing overly restrictive rules on children under 16 who lived there.HUD also charged Implicity Management Company, the current management company, and Pebble Beach Apartments L.L.C, the current owner of the complex, with discriminating based on familial status."
    just last month, Miami Valley Fair Housing announced settlement of a case in Columbus in Columbus where the owner tried to disguise the number of "bedrooms" in order to limit the number of children.
    Another example of discrimination against families with children include clustering families with children is a section of a multifamily estate.

 Tips for Finding a Family-Friendly Apartment
  • Washer/Dryer hookups or laundryroom facilities. Close, cheap, accessible and safe laundryroom facilities are good.  In unit, washer and dryer hookups are good but you should factor the cost to purchase (or rent) machines into your total cost of occupancy.
  • Storage space. Having closets and storage areas in the unit is good. Safe, secure storage elsewhere in the building is good. Storing stuff in the utility closet is dangerous and may be a lease violation.

  • High-speed Wi-Fi.:Think homework. Think home office. Think buffering when everyone is searching at the same time. Take a tablet or smart phone with you to test the network before you sign a lease.
  • Outdoor Space. Did your folks ever tell you "Go get the stink blown off you " while pushing you out the door? Nowadays, think safety and being able to lightly supervise outdoor activities. Got a balcony? OK for potted plants, but you can't cook out there. Probably not safe and a lease violation. What about a secure community garden area?
  • Location.  Family, friends, schools, public transportation, parks, libraries, grocery stores and day care centers can be very handy to have nearby.
  • Pay attention to neighborsBefore you sign a lease, meet the neighbors. Many families wish to move into apartments that are next to a renter with kids of similar ages. Of course, living next to a single couple may also work (helloooooo babysitters!). Are your adjacent neighbors smokers or do they cook cabbage weekly?  Check on line for renter comments (just google the name of the property).  See if there's a renters' Facebook page. Is there a tenants organization that meets regularly to discuss community concerns?
  • Check windows. When checking out an apartment, make sure that every window locks– especially low windows that can be hazardous to small children.

  • Look at stairs Are they well lit and clear or dark and cluttered. Are the stairwells used as a "hangout" for young adults and/or smokers or worse?

  • Ask about fire safety. Fire safety features, escape routes, proximity to fire departments. Not sure? Ask the local fire department about their experiences with the building.

  • Ask about the apartment building staff.  Are they bonded?  Are they uniformed and name tagged?  Are they supervised by the on site manager or someone at "corporate"?