PEMCO Insurance: What renters need to know before signing a lease


SEATTLE- Over the past year or so, apartment supply has finally started catching up with demand, at least in some neighborhoods.

Q13 spoke to the experts at PEMCO Insurance about how to get the best possible deal on a place.

"What renters don't realize is you can actually negotiate a lease," Internal Communications Director Sharlyn Petit said.

"In that sense, it's more like buying a car rather than buying groceries; so if you think about the sticker price, it's not necessarily what you'll have to pay. The trick is knowing how to negotiate and what to negotiate for. "


The experts at PEMCO say the trick is to make sure you have something to negotiate with:

-If you don't have a car but the apartment comes with a dedicated parking spot, offer to exchange it for something you do want

-If you plan on staying awhile, offer to sign a longer lease in exchange for lower monthly rent

-If you know someone looking for a place, see if you can negotiate a finder's fee if your friend signs a lease, too

-If you have the money, ask what kind of deal you can get by paying for a few month's rent in advance


The experts at PEMCO say safety should also be a top priority; your new place may look beautiful, but it won't matter if you don't feel safe living there.

"Drive around and see if anything looks different than when you first visited the apartment that is something to look for," Petit said.

"Lighting is huge, so if you think about entry ways, hallways, shared spaces like laundry rooms, you want to make sure everything is well lit. Overall security, an onsite manager and security cameras are great, but really look for basic things like well-made doors and windows that lock."

Another important thing to get is renter's insurance.

The experts at PEMCO say one of the biggest regrets they hear from people is that they did not get coverage.

If you don't have renter's insurance and something happens, you're pretty much on your own.


Renter's insurance covers:

-Items stolen from cars

-If someone sues for slipping and falling in your apartment or your dog bites them

-added living expenses such as emergency hotel rooms and takeout meals if your apartment is damaged


Renter's insurance only costs about fifty cents per day for most people.

PEMCO suggests getting renter's insurance from the same company that insures your car because it will likely give you a price break.