You want the best deal for the best home in the best place for you. Talk to people already living in the area and use online guides written by military families to help you make a good choice when looking for a place to rent.


  • Do your research. Determine how much you can spend on rent.
    • Talk to your PFM. Get a realistic sense of how far your money will go.
    • Factor in expenses like commuting costs, utilities, and security deposits.
    • A landlord will look into your creditworthiness. Here are some tips about renting an apartment if you don’t have much of a credit history.
  • Considering a roommate?
    • Talk about finances with potential roommates. What will each person pay? How will you handle utilities?
    • Consider asking for check stubs for proof of employment and a copy of their credit report before you sign a lease together.  They can get a free copy of their credit report every year.
    • Get references from more than one past landlord and previous roommates.
  • When you find a place:
    • Make sure you understand everything in your lease or rental agreement.
    • What does it say about the use and refund of your security deposit?  
    • Does it allow for an early termination if you have to PCS or have an extended temporary duty assignment?  
    • On move-in day, walk through with your landlord. Make sure he or she writes down any existing damages to the property. Keep a copy.
  • When dealing with your landlord:
    • Keep communications open.
    • Get your landlord’s promises in writing.
    • Keep copies of all receipts, notes of conversations, and emails.
  • Good rules of thumb:
    • Buy renters insurance to cover losses from theft or damage – it’s required by most landlords.  
    • Always pay your rent on time. Missed payments can hurt your credit. If your payments are late, your landlord could notify your commanding officer.
  • The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) gives you additional protections:
    • The SCRA requires your landlord to let you out of your lease in specific situations.
    • Before signing, make sure your lease has a military clause which gives you added protections in the event that you are ordered to relocate.


Tools for Personal Financial Managers