2024 Property Rental Tips: How to Secure Your Security Deposit

2024 is here and what better way to start than with some pretty useful property rental tips that can help not only our clients but every renter in general. Let’s talk about one thing often disputed at the end of a lease – the security deposit.


The security deposit is that amount (often equivalent to a month’s rent) that you hand over to your landlord as a form of insurance. The landlord can use some or all of it if at the end of the rent, the property is not in a satisfactory condition. The security deposit or whatever is left of it is supposed to go back to you at the end of the rental period. However, a lot of landlords seem to develop some sort of supervision when the time comes for the property to be checked and they may find some things that may delay or even prevent you from getting your deposit back. Below are a few tips to prevent such thing from happening:

Check the Contract

Everything starts and ends with the contract. Make sure you understand it clearly and fully. If some terms are unclear to you then ask your landlord for clarification. You can also have a friend read the contract to see if you have the same interpretation. If the contract lists certain requirements for you to get your security deposit back e.g. the carpet needs to be deep cleaned, take note of all of them and hang it somewhere you will see easily.

Make Sure Nothing is Missing

At the start of the tenancy, it is vital that you list all of the items in the rental property. And at the end of the tenancy, take out the list and make sure everything is there. If any item on the list is missing or broken, have it replaced or fixed before the landlord even has a chance to know about it.

Take Photos Before You Leave

Take photos of every corner and part of the property before you leave for the last time. These photos can serve as proof that you’ve left everything in good condition just in case the landlord later claims otherwise.

Have a Total Deep Clean

The property was clean when you started your tenancy. It is only common courtesy that you leave it just as clean. Just to make sure, have a trustworthy friend do a square inch by square inch check of the property.

There you have it, folks. We hope the 5 property rental tips above about securing your security deposit can be of help to you this 2024.

Key Lease and Rental Agreement Terms

lease-and-rental-agreement-termsIn any transaction, it is important that you fully understand the contract, more so in arrangements that involve significant amounts of money. Whether you are looking for an apartment, storage unit, or house for rent here in Minot, you should be familiar with common terminologies that may appear in the contract. Below are some of these key lease and rental agreement terms and what they mean.

Parties to the Agreement – refers to both tenant and landlord. The tenant can also be referred to as lessee or renter while the landlord can also be referred to as lessor.

The Premises – this refers to the rental property address and may include details such as furnishings and parking spaces.

Term of Tenancy – this refers to the duration of the rental along with the date of the first day of tenancy. It should also specify if the rental is month-to-month tenancy or a lease. If it is the latter, the date of the last day of the lease should also be specified.

Rent – this refers to the compensation the tenant pays the landlord. The exact amount, due dates, acceptable forms of payment, and penalties should be specified.

Deposits – refers to advance payments and security deposits.

Utilities – it should be specified which utilities should be paid by the tenant and which ones should be paid by the landlord.

Condition of Rental Unit – the condition of the unit at the start of the lease should be specified and how subsequent changes in this condition should be handled.

Repair and Maintenance Responsibilities – it should be specified which repair and maintenance responsibilities fall on the shoulders of the tenant and which ones will be shouldered by the landlord.

Landlord Entry – it should be specified when and how the landlord can enter the rental unit during the duration of the tenancy.

Extended Absences – landlord may require the tenant to provide notification in case the latter needs to be away from the rental unit for a certain number of days.

Property Use Restrictions – the landlord my prohibit you from doing certain things with and while in the property premises.

Occupant Limit – the landlord may set a limit to how many people can occupy the property.

Pet Restrictions – the landlord may prohibit the tenant from keeping some or all kinds of pets.

No Home Businesses – the landlord may prohibit the tenant from making the property a base of business operations.

Guest Stay Limits – the landlord may set a limit on the number of guests that may stay at the property at the same time and for how long.

Attorney’s Fees – the agreement may specify which party shoulders the cost of litigation in case a disagreement between tenant and landlord results into a lawsuit.

Grounds of Termination – this is one of those key lease and rental agreement terms that can result in massive financial losses when unclear. Factors that can lead to the premature termination of the tenancy or lease should be specified.

If there is something in the contract you do not understand, you should ask your landlord about it. Knowing the key lease and rental agreement terms will give you an edge in getting a better deal for the home that you want.

We at SMC Property Management manage more than 600 apartments and houses and more than 400 storage units in Minot, North Dakota. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about our properties for rent in Minot.

Protect Valuables in Your Rental Home this Christmas

rental-property-valuablesNorth Dakota is one of the safest states in the United States which is one of the primary reasons we at SMC decided to manage rental home properties in Minot, Burlington, Lansford, and Surrey in the first place. We also have various security and safety measures and protocols in place. However, one can never be too safe nowadays especially during the Christmas season where burglars are significantly more active. Here are a few words of wisdom so tenants can better protect their valuables especially if they have plans of leaving their homes unattended any time during the holidays.

Understanding how burglars work is the best way to keep your valuables safe. Always remember that the standard MO for burglars is to get in, find and take valuables, and get out in a speedy manner. They also have some sort of autopilot in the sense that they only go to rooms that usually house the most valuable stuff. Priority targets are the living room and the bedrooms. Areas that don’t usually contain valuable yet easy to carry items are often ignored such as the bathroom and the kitchen. To take advantage of this, form the habit of hiding all your valuables in the bathroom or kitchen whenever you need to leave the home unattended for a night or more.

If you are one of those tenants who love getting expensive decorations to celebrate the holidays you need to keep in mind that such accessories are often not covered by standard insurance policies. So if you are planning to purchase anything of significant value, consider getting it insured.

If, unfortunately, you get victimized by burglars, do not panic. Call the authorities and your landlord immediately so that the three of you can work together to resolve the matter as soon as possible, particularly the insurance claim. Go and make a list of everything that is damaged or missing. It will help in processing your claim faster.

Christmas embodies the spirit of good will. Unfortunately, not everyone shares this opinion. We at SMC prioritize working with our tenants to keep them and our rental home properties safe. Let us work together to better ensure a merry Christmas.

10 Property Rental Tips You Need to Know

property-rental-tipsWe at SMC Property Management have over a thousand properties for rent in Minot, North Dakota. With our years of experience in the industry and dealings with thousands of tenants, there are 10 property rental tips we can provide to make your tenancy or lease easier.

  1. Ready Your Paperwork – bring everything you need to convince the landlord that you will make a good tenant. This will help you standout especially if there are other prospects aiming for the rental unit that you want. Important paperwork you should bring includes:
    • Accomplished rental application
    • Written references from employers and previous landlords
    • Your Credit Report
  2. Review the Contract – review the agreement at least once and make sure you understand everything clearly. If there is something you find confusing, ask the landlord for clarification.
  3. Protect Your Security Deposit – make sure that all the details on how and when your security deposit can be used are included in the contract. Take a tour of the rental house/apartment to identify any existing damage prior to your occupation and make sure that all of the said damage is listed on a document signed by the landlord.
  4. Document Everything – make sure you get any correspondence or oral agreement in writing. For example, when requesting for a roof repair you should send your landlord a signed written request. If he makes a positive verbal response, send her a written confirmation. Make sure you keep a copy each time.
  5. Know Your Privacy Rights – you must be aware of your rights to privacy as a tenant so you can protect the said rights. Know exactly when and how the landlord can enter the premises of the property you are renting.
  6. Know Your Right for Repairs – the landlord is obliged to ensure that the rental property is adequately habitable. If repairs and/or additions are needed to make it so, you have the right to make demands. Being aware of the things you have the right to ask for is one of important among these 10 property rental tips.
  7. Communicate with the Landlord – if you are unhappy with something about the leased property, talk to your landlord about it. An early resolution is always better than a legal battle.
  8. Get Renter’s Insurance – this particular insurance policy will cover everything your landlord’s insurance policy doesn’t. The average renter’s insurance has an annual cost of $350 for $50,000 coverage. There are cheaper variations for lower coverage.
  9. Ensure Your safety – conduct a research of the neighborhood particularly the crime rate to get a general idea about how safe the area is. Check the rental property for possible security lapses and vulnerabilities and ask the landlord to address them.
  10. React to Eviction the Right Way – Only fight an eviction if you believe the landlord is in the wrong and you know that you can prove in court that the eviction is not justified. Fighting an eviction in court and losing will not only cost you a lot of money, it will also greatly damage your credit rating.

There you have it. These 10 property rental tips work for all tenancies and leases and not just on properties for rent in Minot, North Dakota. Just contact us if you have any questions about houses for rent, apartments for rent, or storage units for rent.

Pet-Friendly Apartments: What to Ask Before Signing the Lease

by Kari Lloyd

For many people, an apartment doesn’t feel quite right unless there’s a pet to come home to. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, it’s estimated that there are 70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats currently living with pet parents across the United States. Given that, many apartment communities have pet-friendly policies, and some even boast dog parks or other perks for pets.

Despite this, there may be certain restrictions or financial implications when it comes to renting an apartment with a pet. Here’s our top list of questions you should always ask before signing the lease for your new apartment if you’re renting with a pet:

1) Are there any breed or size restrictions?
Though it may seem unfair, particularly to dog lovers, many pet friendly apartment communities have a list of “banned breeds” when it comes to man’s best friend. Typically breeds that are deemed “aggressive” or “dangerous,” such as Pit Bulls, Dobermans or Rottweilers, often make the list. There may also be size restrictions for both dogs and cats based on weight. Ask the leasing agent for a specific list of any restricted breeds and be sure to voice any concerns at the beginning.

2) Do you restrict any additional types of pets?
While you may be excited to install a 6×10 foot boa constrictor enclosure in your new apartment, your leasing office may not. Some communities have policies on exotic animals, such as snakes, birds, lizards or even some rodents. Additionally, some residential properties have restrictions on larger fish tanks for fear of floor warp or water damage. Read the fine print and if there are restrictions, ask for a full list.

3) Is there an additional deposit or monthly fee involved in having a pet in the apartment?
Like it or not, pets can cause damage to a rental apartment. From your cat insisting on using the blinds as his own personal scratching post to unsightly pet stains on the carpets, leases are more frequently asking for an additional “pet deposit.” Additionally, some communities also charge a monthly “pet rent” per animal in your apartment. Clarifying this before you sign the lease is essential, as it can add up on your monthly expenses. Also, ask how the pet deposit is handled and if any or all of it will be refunded should there be minimal damage.

4) Are there any additional cleaning fees that will be charged upon move out?
If you’re already being asked to pay a pet deposit, chances are that will cover any cleaning fees your community will want to take on after your departure. However, some rental properties instead add clauses that indicate additional carpet cleaning, allergen cleaning or deodorizing fees that will be charged before you move out, or added to your last bill. Find out what cleaning procedures they will be engaging and what, if any, additional costs will be levied to you.

5) Are there any additional pet policies that I should be aware of?
In order to ensure the comfort and safety of everyone on the rental property, community managers often have a list of rules for pet owners to follow. Breaking these can occasionally result in fines, or in extreme cases, termination of your lease. Some typical rules might concern:

  • Barking dogs
  • Outdoor animal dropping fines
  • Leash and dog park facility policies
  • Outdoor cats
  • Collar, ID, vaccination and spay/neutering requirements

Remember, when in doubt, it’s better to ask before you sign the lease than have the disappointment of being told that your particular pet does not meet the community’s requirements or being forced to make the difficult decision between your new apartment and your beloved companion. Read your lease thoroughly. If your community does not currently have a pet policy in place, ensure that they are aware of your pets and have something written into the lease.

Living With Roommates

While having a roommate isn’t the easiest task to take on, it’s one way to significantly lower your cost of living. But, living with another person, or multiple people, can be a daunting task when you realize all of the different habits that people have. But there are ways to prevent awkward situations from arising and tactics to keep in mind when addressing any issues that may arise. Below are just a few of those tips to help make sure you and your roommate have the best living experience possible.

Make Sure To Have ‘The Talk’
It’s important to set aside the time to have a discussion with your roommate before you start living together. Many times conflicts can be avoided by understanding the other’s personality or habits. If there’s something that you absolutely know you wouldn’t be able to live with, make sure to express it and be ready to hear the same from your roommate. Setting key rules can help make the transition to living together easier.

Find A Way to Divide Chores
Chores are never fun and it can be hard to remember who took the trash out last or who swept the floors. But, when one person starts realizing they are the only one washing the dishes, they tend not to be very happy. One of the easiest solutions is to create a chart for each week detailing who is responsible for what ensuring no one is stuck doing the same thing week in and week out. If that doesn’t work for you and your roommate, just make sure to find a system that doesn’t leave one person constantly doing the work.

Communication is Key
No one is a mind reader. If you feel a certain way about something, make sure to say it. Keeping your thoughts and feelings bottled up will only lead to disaster. But before you bring anything up, it’s important not to point any fingers or try to place the blame on someone else. Approach it like you are addressing a concern and have a solution to it. At the end of the day creating a discussion will be the easiest way to fix any problem.

Always Ask
As a general rule of thumb, always make sure to ask before using something that doesn’t belong to you. For example, if you are thinking about having your friends over, make sure to ask your roommate first. It’s important to keep them in mind when you are planning because while you may not have to be up early the next morning, they might have an important presentation at work.

Having a roommate can be a challenge but keep in mind the benefits you get out of it. Not only are you saving on your living expenses, you never know if they could become your best friend or at least someone you turn to for advice or just to talk when you need it. Keeping these tips in mind can help contribute to a positive living experience with your roommate.

How To Handle A Noisy Neighbor

How To Handle A Noisy Neighbor

We’ve all faced it at one point or another during our time renting apartments: noise.

by Kari Lloyd

Noisy Apartment Neighbors

We’ve all faced it at one point or another during our time renting apartments: noise. While some are perfectly okay popping in a pair of earplugs and ignoring it, noise can become a real problem for some neighbors. So what do you do when your neighbor is making such a racket it’s infringing on your rights to a relaxing space?

The best thing you can do is start at the beginning of your search:

During Your Apartment Search:

Be up front during your viewing.
Do you regularly go to bed early, have small children or are concerned about late night noise? Be sure to make that clear when you go to view an apartment. Oftentimes leasing agents will know which buildings or areas are quieter, or can offer advice on best locations for you and your family.

Aim for an upper floor.
Being in a lower level apartment may mean saving on cooling bills in the summer, but it also means you’re likely to be disturbed by an upstairs neighbor. High heels, large dogs and sliding furniture can all contribute to a noisy environment below. Think about aiming for a higher floor if you’re concerned about the potential of noise.

Many times, noise can happen when you get a new neighbor, or discover you’ve got a rowdy bunch living upstairs after you move in. Now what?

After You Move In:

Be reasonable.
It’s understandable that you might be annoyed at an all-night party on a Monday, but general noise during reasonable hours is expected when you live in an apartment. Determine what’s reasonable so you have something you can propose to your neighbor if you eventually need to speak to them. For example, lowering the noise level after 10pm on weeknights.

Talk to the offender directly.
Chances are your neighbor might be unaware that they’re disturbing you, particularly if they’re a newer resident. Very few people set out to be difficult neighbors. Stop by and speak to your neighbor directly about what’s bothering you in a calm, friendly manner and be sure to give specific examples. Also offer to swap phone numbers so you can call or text if the noise is getting too loud for either one of you.

Start a paper trail.
If the problem occurs regularly, it’s a good idea to start documenting it so you have something to show your community manager or leasing office. Make a note of noise problems, including time, date and any action you took (for example, knocking on the door, asking for the noise to be turned down, etc.).

Speak to your apartment community manager.
When you’ve spoken to your neighbor a few times and the issue doesn’t seem to be getting any better, it’s time to involve your apartment community’s management. While this may make relations between you and your neighbor slightly frosty, it’s important that you’re allowed to enjoy your apartment as much as they’re enjoying theirs. Additionally, there may be clauses within the lease or apartment by-laws that allow for more formal measures to be taken should the neighbor refuse to comply.

Ask other neighbors.
If your noisy neighbor is particularly bothersome, it’s likely they’re also disturbing other residents. Speak to your surrounding neighbors and ask. If they indicate that they have also had trouble with noise, encourage them to also contact your community manager.

Dealing with unexpected noise is a part of apartment life. While some noise is fairly common, if it becomes a problem you need to take action. What are the most common noise experiences you have in your apartment? How did you handle them?

Perfect Apartment

8 Keys to Finding the Perfect Apartment

8 Keys to Finding the Perfect Apartment

So when you are looking we hope you turn to SMC.  We have a great selection of units available in all shapes and sizes, 1 , 2, 3, or 4 Bedrooms, Luxury, Pet-Friendly, Certain location, just ask because we more than likely have the place for you.  And right now we have some great incentives happening as well as Military discounts.  So give us a call at 701-839-4200 or stop by and see us at 1408 20th Avenue Southwest-Suite 10