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Finding That New Home

List your top priorities, do you need or want a particular location close to school or work? Do you need a home that will accommodate pets? How many bedrooms do you need? Do you want something the is in an urban, suburban, or rural area? Listing your priorities ahead of time will save you a lot of time and aggravation later.

Get a map of the city. There a several web sites that can help you with a online map. Try to become familiar with the major streets. Our search pages also have links to maps of the property locations.

Have a pet? Less than half of the rentals will accept pets. If you have to have a pet, we suggest that you create a pet resume. Include prior landlords and neighbors letters of recommendation for the pet. The letters should address your pet's temperament. You should also include a picture of the pet so the landlord can see it. Offer to bring the pet to the landlord so the they can meet the pet. You may also want to offer to pay an additional deposit for the pet.

Get a current list of available rentals from us. Check out the list and choose those properties that most interest you.

Drive by the properties that interest you. Take your checklist with you to help you keep organized notes. Get out of the car and walk around. Is the property well maintained? Is there sufficient parking? Any broken windows or dangerous conditions? Talk to the neighbors about the neighborhood and landlord. Are the residents happy about the building and manager?

Call the manager or owner and make arrangements to see the specific unit that you would be renting. Landlords receive lots of telephone messages. When leaving a message make sure you speak slowly and leave a clear message.

Make an appointment to see the home. Always keep your appointments and show up on time. Landlords get very frustrated with people who don't show up for their appointments.

Make sure everything works: the stove, refrigerator, faucets, lights, outlets, toilets, shower, windows, and locks. Make certain that the landlord changes the locks. You don’t know who has the keys if the locks haven’t been changed since the last resident.

If you are satisfied with the home, fill out the application. You may want to print out our application so you have it ready for them. Before a property owner turns over the keys of a very valuable investment to a total stranger, they will need to feel secure and comfortable with you. Be prepared for likely questions about past landlord relationships, employment, and income. A good tenant is a landlord's most valuable asset, a bad tenant can be his worst nightmare. Most landlords will make every effort to find out which kind you are likely to be, before they rent to you.

Rental agreements less than one year in length don’t need to be in writing, but it is in your best interest for it to be. Check all the terms and conditions of the agreement. What is the duration of the lease? Can the rent be increased, can you have a pet, what are the provisions for lease termination, and what is said about the security deposit? In Arizona, the Residential Landlord Tenant Act governs all rentals. Get a copy, read it and keep it handy. Don’t rely on oral promises, make the landlord make any promises in writing.

Before moving your things into the home, take the time to take pictures in case a dispute arises when you move out as to the condition when you moved in. Make written notes as to the condition and give a copy to your landlord, have him sign and date a copy for your records.