Rent what you can afford
Most experts suggest that your rent shouldn't exceed 30% of your income. Landlords may also have their own stipulations regarding how much you must make to rent from them. Always pay your rent and pay it on time. Use checks or electronic payments so that you have proof of your payments.
Take detailed pictures when you move in and when you leave
When you move in, record any damage you see thoroughly. If you don't record the damage, you could end up responsible for the damage. Take pictures of any damage that you see no matter how small it may seem at the time. Save the photos electronically and back up the files. Also, send a detailed report to your landlord so that they are aware of all damage.
Read the lease carefully
Read your lease carefully. The lease explains the agreement between you and your landlord. The lease supersedes any verbal agreements. If you disagree with your landlord, you will be responsible for the lease you signed. Do not sign a lease that you do not understand.
Know your rights
Your rights as a tenant vary from location to location. Certain rights remain consistent, though. As a tenant, you cannot be denied residence due to your race, gender, sexual orientation, a disability, or religion. You also have the right to a habitable home. The laws on what constitutes a "habitable home" vary, but you should have access to running water, proper electricity, and no infestations. Landlords also have a responsibility to keep the security deposit a reasonable amount and return it within a certain amount of time. You also have a right to privacy that prohibits the landlord from coming into your home without letting you know.
Know your responsibilities
Just as the landlord has some responsibilities to you, you have responsibilities to your landlord. As the tenant, you must keep the place reasonably clean. You must also maintain all safety and health regulations. This included maintaining smoke detectors and preventing mold. You must also refrain from drug use and loud noise that would disrupt other tenants. You must also permit the landlord into your home when he must attend to repairs.
Contact a realtor for assistance with residential listings in your area.