In order to rent a place, whether it is run by a property manage company, or by a private owner, one thing you have to be very careful about is the lease, or contract for the renting. For an apartment community run by a property company, you do not need to worry about the legality or credit about the lease, it is usually fair and completed. You only have to sign on wherever the leasing agent told you. The general procedure for a apartment that close related to the school and students (see "Apartments for students" later) is pretty simple and quick:
1. Go to leasing office with your Passport, I-94, I-20, and some cash or check;
2. Talk to an agent; he or she will let you chose from several floor plans and show you the suite;
3. After you decided one to rent, you need to fill out an application form, and pay some application fees;
4. Then sign the lease, and pay for deposit (usually equal to one month's rent), the agent will help you with all the things you need to know;
5. Then you are ready to move in!
If you are renting from a private owner, or a realtor, the procedure will be much complicated. In this case, not only the landlord’s credibility but also your credibility is under question. So, please note that, require the landlord to go through the formal procedure, and remember never pay any deposit before signing a lease.
1. Visit the house, investigate carefully about the house’s condition;
2. Talk with landlord, make clear all terms or rules, all utilities need to pay, as detail as possible;
3. You need to prepare several documents: your passport, visa, I94, I20, 3 months bank statement (if you do not have credit record). Usually you need to fill out an application form, provide copies of your documents, and maybe some application fee.
4. The Landlord need to run a credit check of you, but if you do not have credit, you need to provide evidence that you can afford the rent, for example, bank statement.
5. Before you reach agreement with your landlord, please check the lease carefully, especially the responsibilities of the both sides.
6. Then sign the lease and pay security deposit, you are ready to move in.
Important tips: 1) before you look at the lease, you had better check on the Delaware Landlord and Tenant Code, to see if the lease is legal and completed.
2) When you are looking for homes, you can use this government website to obtain the property information, and verify the identity of the landlord.
New Castle County Parcel Search: http://www.nccde.org/parcel/Search/default.aspx
3) A formal lease will include a checklist, which is the detailed house condition form that you need to fill out at the time you move in. Before you move in, you shall bring the list, and check carefully entry by entry. For example, check the window locks to see if they are working normally. If you find anything broken down or does not fit with the description on the checklist, write down or photo it down and report to your landlord so that they can fix it. Once you have everything in the house checked and there is no problem, then you can filled out and sign the checklist, then move in. This is very important.