Frequently Asked Questions

How can you offer your service for FREE?

Management companies pay us a commission from their marketing budget. We never charge our clients one single cent!

Will using your service effect my rent?

No! Using our service cannot effect your rent in any way. The Fair Housing Act states clearly that rent must be the same for ALL applicants who meet the same standard qualifying requirements for the property. We can’t get you a better price, but we do know about all the current specials and incentives. We offer one-stop shopping with all the information you need under one roof!

How early should I start my apartment search?

It depends on where you want to live. At the larger complexes in the suburbs, you can pre-lease months ahead of your move-in date. In the city itself, particularly in downtown and southside, apartments rent very quickly and management companies typically won’t hold a unit more than two weeks even with a deposit submitted.

How can I schedule an appointment with you to visit properties?

Piece of cake! Just click here to fill out the Get Started form, or better yet, give us a call at 205.440.2345

What are the qualifying criteria to rent an apartment?

There are four basic items every management company will consider when making the qualifying decision: Credit, Rental history, Income, Background. At RentMonster we always ask “How’s your CRIB?” Each management company has it’s own criteria and way of weighting each of these factors. We know which ones have higher income requirements, which ones have lower credit requirements, etc. Be sure to talk with your RentMonster Agent about your particular situation so you can get the best possible advice on qualifying.

What should I bring with me to our touring appointment?

The best apartments don’t stay on the market long, so it’s important to be prepared to reserve your perfect home as soon as you find it. Bring your photo ID, and two most recent pay stubs. Application fees vary from $35 to $100 depending on the management company and number of applicants. The most common application fee is $50.

What are typical lease terms?

Most apartments will prefer a 12 month lease. Some will also offer leases as short as 7 months for a small increase in the rental rate. In Alabama, leases of 6 months or less are taxed as hospitality (very high) so it doesn’t usually make sense to pursue a lease less than 7 months.

I’m relocating from another city/state, and am unfamiliar with the Birmingham area. Do you have any relocation information I can check out?

Absolutely! Not only will your RentMonster Agent tell you about all the cool restaurants, bars, parks, and entertainment venues near your new home, we can get you in touch with local groups of people who share your interests. You’re going to love living in Birmingham!

What if I can’t travel to Birmingham before my move? Can you still help me find an apartment?

You bet! We can send you photos and information on apartments that fit your needs and your budget. We can even make custom videos or schedule a live online video tour with an agent. Once you’ve chosen your favorite apartment, your RentMonster Agent will walk you through the application and leasing process. When you arrive in Birmingham, you just pick up your keys and settle into your new home.

Will I be required to buy renter’s insurance?

These days most management companies will require renter’s insurance. Many will offer this insurance for a small additional charge, usually about $10 per month. If the management company doesn’t offer an option, feel free to ask your RentMonster Agent for suggestions. We’ve been through this process many times and have found a few agents and agencies we consider to be honest and reliable - and no, we don’t accept any kind of referral fee from them or any other service we recommend.

How much will I have to pay for deposit?

Deposit for in-town properties will typically be based on credit. The most common deposit amount is one month’s rent. In the suburbs (and occasionally in the city), management companies will have a set deposit amount that will vary based on seasonal specials. Remember this: There is NO single answer. There are many management companies and the policies vary widely. If deposit amount is important to you, be sure to mention this to your RentMonster Agent.

What’s the difference between a pet fee and a pet deposit?

Not all properties allow pets. Some allow cats, but not dogs. Some have breed and/or weight restrictions. All properties that do allow pets will have a pet fee, pet deposit, or some combination of both. A pet fee is non-refundable. A pet deposit may be refundable depending on the state of the apartment at the end of the lease. Sometimes there will be a pet fee and deposit, for example: $200 pet deposit and $200 pet fee. In this situation, the renter pays $400 upon lease signing and $200 is refundable at the end of the lease.