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  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc.

    Everything You Need to Know About Renting an Apartment

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc.

    Understanding Fair Housing

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc. 3

    WHAT IS FAIR HOUSING AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT ME?

    In the late 1960s the U.S. federal government enacted The Fair Housing Act, making it illegal to refuse to sell to, rent to, or negotiate with a person because of that persons race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status or handicap.

    Heres a brief overview of the Fair Housing Act and the federal protections it offers you as a renter or potential renter. Additional guidelines may be in place if there are state or local fair housing laws or ordinances.

    Whats Prohibited

    It is illegal for anyone to take any of the actions below based on a persons race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status or handicap:

    Refuse to rent (or sell) housing

    Refuse to negotiate for housing

    Make housing unavailable

    Deny a dwelling

    Set different terms, conditions or privileges for the rental (or sale) of a dwelling

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc. 4

    Provide different housing services or facilities

    Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection or rental (or sale)

    For profit, persuade owners to rent (or sell)

    Deny anyone access to or membership in a facility or service (such as a multiple listing service) related to the rental (or sale) of housing

    Its also illegal for anyone to:

    Threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with anyone exercising a fair housing right or assisting others who exercise that right

    Advertise or make any statement that indicates a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap

    Protection For Those With Disabilities

    There are also laws in place to protect people with disabilities. The Act makes it illegal to discriminate against those who have a physical or mental disability, hearing, mobility and visual impairments, chronic alcoholism, chronic mental illness, AIDS, AIDS Related Complex, and mental retardation that limits one or more major life activities.

    As it related to disabilities, landlords may not refuse to allow reasonable modifications to a dwelling or the propertys common areas (at the tenants expense) if needed for the disabled person to be able to use the housing. In this case, the landlord may allow these modifications only if the tenant agrees to restore the property to its original condition when the tenant moves away. In addition, the landlord may not refuse to make reasonable accommodations in the propertys policies or services if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing.

    However, a landlord or property owner is not obligated to make housing available to a person who poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, or who currently uses illegal drugs.

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc. 5

    Requirements for New Buildings

    According to the Act, new buildings (specifically, those ready for first occupancy after March 13, 1991) with an elevator and with four or more units, must comply to the following:

    Public and common areas must be accessible to persons with disabilities

    Doors and hallways must be wide enough for wheelchairs

    All units must have an accessible route into and through the unit, accessible light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other environmental controls, reinforced bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars, and kitchens and bathrooms that can be used by people in wheelchairs.

    If a building with four or more units has no elevator (ready for first occupancy after March 13, 1991), these standards apply to ground floor units.

    The Act also states that if a States laws or local laws for new buildings are more stringent, the Act does not replace these.

    Housing for FamiliesUnless a building or community qualifies as housing specifically for older persons, it may not discriminate against families in which one or more children under 18 live with a parent, a person with legal custody of the child(ren), or the designee of the parent, or legal custodian with the parents or custodians written permission. Familial status protection also applies to pregnant women and anyone securing legal custody of a child under 18. There are local guidelines in each area for the number of occupants in each apartment based on the number of bedrooms.

    This is just a basic overview of the protections offered by The Fair Housing Act; to read more about your rights as a renter, go to the United States Department of Justice website: http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/hce/housing_coverage.php

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc.

    The Cost of Renting an Apartment

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc. 7

    APARTMENT LEASING APPROVAL: TIPS FROM THE

    PROS FOR RAISING YOUR CREDIT SCORE

    When it comes to renting an apartment, whether youre a first-timer or seasoned vet, nearly every renter knows your credit score plays a key role in determining your leasing approval. While property managers certainly dont like turning down applicants, if your credit does not meet their criteria, your application will be denied. By following these pointers from industry pros and keeping up with your credit, youll greatly improve your chances of successfully securing a leasing approval.

    Whats the difference between a credit report and my credit score?According to BankRate.com, a credit report is a set of documents that tracks the status of your credit accounts, and also provides a documented history of your bill payments, loans, outstanding debt, etc. Your credit score is a number between 300 and 850 thats indicative of your financial credit history. The better the history, the higher the score, but an average score can be anywhere from 620-680. If your score is lower than 620, you might be considered high risk.

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc. 8

    Where can I get my free credit report and score?Each year, youre allowed to order one free credit report from EACH of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). However, AnnualCreditReport.com is the only source authorized by Federal law to provide you with a free annual update on your credit score.

    What do apartments look for when they check my credit?Once youve filled out a rental application for the apartment, the landlord will run a credit and background check to review your financial and criminal history. The credit check looks at your bill payment frequency, rental history, and any outstanding debts youve accumulated. However, they will NOT see any of this information, or your credit score, or any details about the approval or denial. Apartment communities use outside reporting companies to run the checks and, based on parameters set out in advance, they return the decisions. Youll be given an answer of approved, denied, or approved with certain conditions, and thats all theyll see as well. Due to Fair Housing laws, the apartment community cannot in any way influence the decision, which is why they use independent outside companies. If you have questions about your approval decision, you will be given contact information for the reporting company.

    How can I improve my credit score?To help you improve your chances of getting approved, there are many resources avail-able that can teach you how to work on improving your credit score. But because your credit score is linked with your total financial history, its hard to change it overnight. By following the following tips, however, slowly but surely it should improve:

    To make sure that you stay up-to-date on all of your credit accounts, make sure youre taking advantage of ordering your free credit reports. Youre legally allowed to order 3 free reports per year (with more provided for a small fee), so try spacing them out 4 months apart to stay as up-to-date as possible.

    Pay your bills on time! Paying your bills on time accounts for roughly 35% of your credit score, so never be late with your payments.

    Pay off your credit card balances immediately! Rather than letting your credit card debt pile up, make sure you take care of the balance immediately. Not only will you benefit from paying on time, but youll also benefit from the lack of debt.

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc. 9

    Limit your use of multiple cards. Not only is it difficult to keep up with a ton of different cards, but opening a new card also creates a hard inquiry on your credit report, which can negatively impact your score if there are too many. That being said, your report will look best if you only have a few cards that are well maintained.

    Please keep in mind leasing agents are not allowed to give you any advice regarding your credit history or credit score under the Fair Housing Law, so its up to you to do your own research. By being responsible with your bill payments and quickly paying off your debts, youre sure to enjoy a healthy credit score.

    APARTMENT FEES EXPLAINED: WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN SIGNING A LEASE AGREEMENT

    In the process of hunting for an apartment home, many first-timers are uncertain about the various fees that are part of the process of securing and signing a lease agreement. All apartment communities are different, but most require the payment of 3 types of fees: application and administration fees, a connection convenience fee, and a security deposit. In fact, heres a brief overview of the most common fees and what they cover:

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc. 10

    Application & Administration FeesThe application fee covers the cost for apartments to run a credit check on prospective residents, the cost to verify his or her employment, and to look into the applicants rental history. For that reason, each person on a lease pays this fee. This also covers the cost associated with preparing and maintaining the lease contract and any related documents and correspondence through the term of the lease.

    Connection Convenience FeeThis fee covers connection of water and sewer services for the resident. This eliminates the need for residents to take the time to set up an account with the local providers and the need to pay any deposits for the services.

    Security Deposit The security deposit, sometimes called a damage deposit, is a fee thats refundable at the end of the lease term, provided some conditions are met (among them: if no damage, other than that noted in the Move-In Inspection checklist, has occurred). This deposit ensures that if damage (not normal wear and tear) is done that requires repair, our costs are covered and they dont need to pass those along by way of increased lease rates.

    Pet Fee Though not every apartment allows pets, those that do usually charge a monthly fee. Units with pets tend to require a bit more work once the residents have moved out, so there is a fee for pet owners to account for the added effort (carpet treatment being one of them).

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc. 11

    WHY DO APARTMENT LEASE RATES CHANGE SO OFTEN?

    In addition to the extra fees, apartment searchers also might have noticed a difference in the way that apartments are priced these days. Nowadays, rather than setting a fixed price for all of their available units, many apartment communities are opting to use a dynamic supply and demand-based pricing model that closely resembles the pricing models of modern airlines and hotels.

    The Variables That Go Into Rental RatesRental rates fluctuate daily because they are based on many variables, the most important being supply and demand for that floor plan in the broader market and in that community, seasonality, and overall market conditions. Other factors that can influence the rates include specific amenities in the particular apartment you are looking at, its location on the property, when you want to move in and how long you want to stay.

    In days gone by, apartment communities used to fix their rents for longer periods of time because it was a lot more labor intensive to figure out what was going on in the market. Leasing agents had to call competing communities and ask for rent and occupancy rates on each floor plan type. As you can imagine, sometimes the information given was not terribly reliable. Nowadays apartments rely on outside services to provide them with that information. The added benefit to the consumer is that it offers an additional layer

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc. 12

    of Fair Housing protection. The pricing is determined by a computer model and cannot be manipulated to offer preference to one renter over another for any reason other than the ones noted above.

    Tips for Getting The Best DealTo get the best deals under the dynamic pricing model, and the best possible lease terms, its recommend that you:

    Do the research ahead. Because prices can fluctuate on a daily basis, and rate quotes are only good for a limited time, its important that you have a really good idea of what you want, when you want it and how much you want to spend. You have to be ready to commit quickly so you dont miss out on the rate and term that works for you.

    Pay attention to the lease end date. Apartment communities dont want leases to end during slower months because they will be harder to re-lease. So it may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes it may be advantageous to take a shorter-term lease. A 12-month lease might not be the way to go longer or shorter terms may offer better pricing, so ask for options.

    Rent an apartment that was very recently vacated. Rates will often be better if you move in as soon as an apartment is ready. If you ask the community to hold the apartment until youre ready, the rate will go up. Apartment communities have to try to recoup some of the lost revenue from having an apartment vacant for a long period of time.

    Think about the time of year you move. Although you may expect youll get a great rate if you lease during a slow leasing month (November through February in most markets), that is not always the case. Think of supply and demand most communities have a lot of leases expiring in the summer months, creating a glut of supply, meaning rents may be lower. But remember to ask about the lease length to get the best price.

    Apartment leasing is like any other business: they stay in business when theyre able to make a reasonable profit that allows them to reinvest in their communities, and add value and appeal to residents. Their method of establishing leasing rates helps them do that, and knowing how it works helps residents take advantage of the process.

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc.

    Important Factors to ConsiderDuring Your Search

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc. 14

    FIVE IMPORTANT FEATURES TO LOOK FOR WHEN SEARCHING FOR AN APARTMENT

    With so many different apartment options available in any given city, its hard to find the perfect one. Not only do you have to find one thats affordable and in a favorable location, but you want one with 2 bedrooms, in-unit washer and dryer, a pet-friendly policy, central air, walk-in closetsthe list could go on and on. And while the list of preferred features certainly varies from person to person, theres no denying some features are worth paying more for than others. That being said, to help make sure youre getting the best bang for your buck in your new apartment, heres a list of the 5 most valuable features to look for:

    1. The Layout

    Before you make any decisions based on an apartments square footage, make sure youve also seen how the space is used. Does the apartment have a large living area, but tiny bedroom and bathroom? Are any of the rooms oddly shaped? Sometimes the square footage doesnt paint an accurate picture of the apartments usability. Take a walk-through of the apartments youre interested in and make note of the overall layout. Try to envision the space full of your furniture and picture how you would arrange things. Likewise, make sure you pay attention to where the electrical and cable outlets are when picturing where things will go.

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc. 15

    2. Storage

    Walk-in closets are always desirable, but you also have to think about the other storage options in the apartment. Are the cabinets and cupboards big enough? What other closets are there? Better yet, does the apartment come with a garage? These are all questions you should consider when it comes to storage.

    3. Appliances

    One of the most important things to look for when searching for a new apartment is seeing which appliances are provided in each unit. For example, does it come with a dishwasher, or will you have to wash everything by hand? Is there a washer and dryer included in-unit, or do you have to take your laundry somewhere else? What condition are the appliances in? If you pay utilities, are they energy efficient? New appliances can instantly update the look and feel of any apartment, as well as use less energy, so be sure to keep your eyes open for that during your search.

    4. Noise/Light

    Have you ever tried to get some sleep in a loud, bright room? It isnt easy. When looking for a new apartment, you have to make sure youre paying attention to the external environmental factors that could affect you while living there. Are you right next to a busy road with a lot of loud traffic? Were the neighbors loud during your visit? Both are things you should be looking and listening for. Likewise, dont forget about sunlight. Does your apartment let a lot of natural light in, or do you have to rely on electrical light sources? Will the bright, rising/setting sun come through your windows and bother you? These are just a few more things to be aware of.

    5. Bonus Features

    Though the stars of your search should be the unit itself, sometimes apartment buildings offer special amenities and features that go above and beyond whats expected. For example, does the apartment have a pool? What about a workout facility? Is there a common area that you can rent for parties, or an outdoor space specifically for pets? Each of these things can help add to the enjoyment of living in a particular unit.

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc. 16

    THE VALUE OF GREAT SERVICE WHEN CHOOSING YOUR NEXT APARTMENT

    Though its important to have an apartment with nice features, its equally important that you dont overlook the amenities and service. Amenities are the features that help make a place feel special a place you want to show off to friends, like stainless-steel appliances, wood-vinyl flooring, granite countertops, attached garages, etc.

    Service, on the other hand, is a different thing. Service is a whatever it takes attitude toward residents needs, but not really property-related needs these are needs people have related to their everyday lives and stressful schedules. This means helping make residents lives easier by taking care to do things like letting a residents dog out who is stuck away from home because of storms; helping carrying heavy packages to someones apartment; and coming up with helpful suggestions that help folks get settled and familiar with a new city.

    Friendly Approach to ServiceWhy do apartments do these things? Because they know that all the upscale features in the world couldnt make up for a disinterested approach to residents needs. To help give you an idea of the some services you should be looking for, here are a few real examples of ways apartments are offering better service today:

    Swimming pools with outdoor kitchens and grills. Swimming is great, but dont forget to look for other fun things to do around the pool

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc. 17

    Free car care centers. A convenient way to wash your car and top off fluids to eliminate a special trip to get these done

    24-hour fitness centers. Getting in a workout doesnt always fit between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., so some apartments make sure their gym is open around the clock

    Free wireless internet and coffee bar. Some places give you the opportunity to get out of your apartment to catch up on work

    24-hour emergency maintenance response. If your air conditioning quits at midnight, you dont want to wait until morning to get some sleep!

    Flexible lease terms. Because peoples situations dont always align with a 1-year lease, some apartments offer more flexible lease terms

    When visiting a property, the first place a potential resident usually stops is the property office. As you start your search for an apartment you can call home, notice how the property representative greets you (if he or she greets you at all). Is this person eager and welcoming, or are distracted and uninterested? The signals you get here, as youre still considering where to live, are a great indication of how youll be treated as a resident.

    THE IMPORTANCE OF ON-SITE MANAGEMENT WHEN PICKING AN APARTMENT HOME

    As you know, you can never underestimate the value of good service. A person searching for his or her next apartment home may have dozens of viable options, and each apartment community on his or her short list requires an evaluation of its pros, cons, amenities, servicesall of which can make it difficult to decide on the right home. One consideration often overlooked by renters but key to long-term satisfaction is whether or not the apartment has on-site management.

    What is on-site management? Either an apartment community (those with 4 or more buildings on its property) has management with an office on-site, manned at least 8 hours a day, or its management is remote, meaning that to connect with someone responsible for the property, a resident must make an appointment or call someone when an issue or question arises.

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc. 18

    Heres an overview of the 3 most important reasons to choose a community with on-site management:

    1. They Provide More Responsive Service

    Communities with on-site management are far more able to provide attentive service than those whose representatives are off-site. Residents can get help with issues quickly, while residents of communities with off-site management must deal with unresolved issues, unmet needs and unanswered questions as they wait (sometimes days) for a response.

    2. They Know Their Residents

    Having a familiar face behind the front desk makes residents feel more at home, and, more importantly, gives the on-site team a better understanding of residents day-to-day activities, a more detailed grasp of the issues that arise (or could arise) within the community, and the ability to anticipate residents individual needs. All in all, on-site management strengthens the connection between management and residents, and gives management a stronger sense of responsibility to its residents.

    3. Peace of Mind

    Perhaps the most important benefit of on-site management is the overall peace of mind it gives residents. Knowing that a team representing the communitys owners and operators are present and that theyre aware of activity in the community assures residents that someone is eager and available to respond to needs and that the team is keeping an eye on the interests of each and every resident.

    If youre currently looking for a new apartment home, keep on-site management on your list of must haves. Be sure to discuss management with each communitys representative; ask how he or she addresses issues, and about the managements philosophy toward service. The answers will give you a good idea of how youll be treated as a resident of that community.

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc. 19

    RENTERS INSURANCE: 4 THINGS EVERY RESIDENT SHOULD KNOW

    Most apartment communities require you to obtain renters insurance before move-in, although the kind of coverage you need can be somewhat confusing. Every insurance policy is different, of course, so talk to your insurance agent to find if the providers policy meets your needs and the apartments requirements. Landlords are not insurance agents nor experts in insurance policy or law, so they wont be able to adequately answer those type of questions, but heres some general information on common questions associated with renters insurance.

    1. What Kind of Renters Insurance is Required and Why?

    Almost every apartment community will require you to obtain liability insurance, and they will let you know how much coverage is required. Simply put, liability insurance protects the landlord from any damages caused by residents. It covers any damage caused by you to the apartment structure, and may also cover damage in neighboring apartments and their contents due to an incident that occurs in your apartment. If you start a fire, it would cover the cost of fixing up your apartment. If that fire results in water damage to a neighboring apartment, it may cover the neighbors expenses to fix their stuff, but not yours.

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc. 20

    2. What About My Belongings?

    There are two kinds of insurance: liability and personal property. The first protects the landlord and its property; the second protects you and your property. It is imperative that you speak to an insurance agent about personal property protection because every renters needs are different and everyones items are valued differently. Many communities are now requiring some level of personal property protection in addition to liability coverage.

    3. How Do I Know Whom to Contact?

    Most apartments should give you the name of their preferred insurance company. That way, theyll be familiar with them and should already have all the details about their communities and each building, so they will be ready to get you going quickly. However, if you already have a trusted agent who handles your auto or other type of insurance, you can likely add a renters policy as well.

    4. What Do I Need to Do?

    Its pretty straightforward. Contact your insurance agent, or the one suggested by your apartment community, and tell them the amount of liability coverage required. Theyll give you with a quote and if you decide to proceed, theyll ask when you want coverage to begin and details like address, apartment number, etc. Your coverage should begin the day you move in and should cover the entire length of your lease. The agent will give you proof of insurance coverage, which you will need to provide to the leasing team in person or your insurance agent can fax or email the proof of coverage directly to the apartment office.

    Though renters insurance might seem like an annoying additional expense you didnt expect, you can never predict when something will go wrong. If something does go wrong, however, having a policy in place can be a lifesaver. Its one of the least expensive policies you can buy, so make sure you talk to your insurance agent today about putting a policy in place!

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc.

    Welcome Home!

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc. 22

    FOUR THINGS THAT TELL YOU YOUVE FOUND THE RIGHT APARTMENT

    When youre searching for an apartment, wouldnt it be great if a magical bell went off once you entered the right one? Its not uncommon for an apartment hunter to view scores of potential properties before finding the one that suits them best, but the only one who can say if an apartment is a good fit for you is ... you guessed it ... you.

    While youll have your own must have criteria based on your lifestyle, there are also some fundamental qualities an apartment and property should have in order to fully ad-dresses your needs some of which you may not have thought of. Use this list as your imaginary bell and when you find an apartment that fits this description, youll know its the right one.

    1. Convenient and Stylish Amenities

    You want your apartment to be nicely appointed with a selection of amenities pro-viding both convenience and style. Features such as contemporary appliances, upgraded countertops and a patio or balcony create an atmosphere of comfortable luxury youll be proud to call home.

    The apartment community should also include features that help to simplify your busy lifestyle and help you relax away from work. Having on-site facilities like resort-style pools, car-care areas and fitness centers gives you convenient options for both necessities and leisure time.

  • Springs Apartments are owned and managed by Continental Properties Company, Inc. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved, Continental Properties Company, Inc. 23

    2. Friendly Staff

    Dont overlook the immeasurable value added by a friendly, attentive staff. Knowing that theyre ready and willing to assist you with any need provides a peace of mind thats priceless.

    3. Welcoming Community

    The property will essentially serve as your neighborhood, so you want one where residents treat each other accordingly, developing friendships and sharing social ac-tivities. A stellar management staff comes into play here as well, fostering a sense of community by arranging events where people can meet and mingle.

    4. Pet-friendly Environment

    Four-legged residents add a lot of warmth and joy to a home. Pet-friendly properties let you bring your adorable dog or cat along. Even if you dont have a pet now, its nice to have the flexibility for the future.

    Dont hesitate to reach out via phone or email with questions about Springs apartment communities. Were always eager to give tours of our beautiful

    communities and very happy to answer any question you might have.

    p: 262-532-9344 e: SpringsInformation@cproperties.com

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