Important Things for Internationals to Know about Renting an Apartment in the United States

So, you’ve finally arrived in the US on your H1B visa and are excited to start your new adventure! However, one of the most important tasks on your to-do list is finding a suitable place to live. As an international on an H1B visa, there may be some differences in renting apartments in the US compared to what you may be used to in your home country. Here are some specific things to keep in mind:

Credit history: In the US, landlords typically check your credit history as part of the rental application process. If you don’t have a credit history in the US, they may ask for your work history or request an additional deposit.

Security deposits: It’s common practice for landlords to require a security deposit, usually equivalent to one or two months’ rent, to be paid upfront. This deposit is like insurance for the landlord, and if you leave still owing rent or with damage to the place, the landlord can deduct the costs from your security deposit.

Utilities: Unlike in some countries where utilities may be included in the rent, in the US, you will typically be responsible for paying for your own electricity, gas, water, and internet/cable services.

Lease agreements: In the US, lease agreements are legally binding contracts that outline the rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and tenant. It’s important to read and understand the lease agreement before signing it, as it sets forth important details such as the rental price, due date, late charges and other penalties, reasons for which your landlord can terminate your lease contract, methods to terminate the agreement prior to the expiration date, and rules and regulations such as pet rules, parking rules, and noise rules.

Walk-through inspections: Before signing the lease agreement, it’s important to inspect the rental property to ensure that everything is in working order and to note any damages or repairs that need to be made. This will help ensure that you are not held responsible for pre-existing damages or repairs when you move out.

Renters insurance: While not required by law, it’s a good idea to purchase renters insurance to protect your belongings in case of theft or damage.

Location: When searching for an apartment, consider factors such as proximity to your workplace or public transportation, safety of the neighborhood, and availability of nearby amenities such as grocery stores.

School districts: If you have school-aged children and plan to enroll them in public schools, it’s important to choose an apartment in a school district that falls within the jurisdiction of your residence. Rent in good school districts can be higher, but it may be worth it for the education quality.

Overall, renting an apartment in the US as an international on an H1B visa may be different from what you’re used to, but with a little research and attention to detail, you can find a great place to call home.