So you've finally decided to make your way through the busy metro life on your own, starting with looking for a new place to crash. Lucky you, condominiums are a dime a dozen these days. There's one every three paces in flourishing business districts. However, before even thinking of placing your signature on a rental contract, there are things that you have to consider beyond how much you'll need to shell out every month. Here are seven things you need to take note of before accepting the key and moving in.

1. Your landlord
As much as the lessor is probably giving you a background check, so must you also learn all that you can about who you're renting from. There have already been so many horror stories about tenants being dragged into the mess of unit owners, so doing your research can save yourself a lot of trouble.

2. The physical issues of the place you're renting
You'll also need to study the state of the unit. Check for any leaking taps, exposed wires, or if the place comes fully-furnished and if there are appliances and pieces of furniture that need fixing. Coordinate with your lessor on how you'll go about repairs.

3. Important spots within the vicinity
Before deciding to rent, get to know the area you're renting at first. What are the closest establishments to your prospective condo? Is there a nearby hospital in case of emergencies? Are stores at a convenient distance?

4. The fine print
Renting a place often means binding yourself to a contract. Before you sign anything, double-check if there are any hidden charges or clauses on yearly rent increase. If there are terms or statements that you don't understand, don't be afraid to ask. After all, it's always better to be in the know than to get in a bind with no way out because you've already signed the papers.

5. The house rules
Every building has house rules. Ask the building administration for a copy of the list and study them well. This is especially important for those who have pets, as not all condos allow them.

6. Your schedule of rent payment
Always be a good tenant. If you and your landlord have come to agree on payment terms, respect them and always pay on time. It'll be to your benefit, after all, as you won't need to pay for late charges (in case your lessor gives penalties), and you won't be bothered by compounding expenses.

7. Your rights and responsibilities as a tenant
There is such a thing as RA9653 or the Rent Control Act, the validity of which is extended up to December 2015. It states that units rented for P10,000 and below can increase their rent only up to seven percent once every year. Landlords are also not allowed to demand any more than one month's worth of advance payment and two months worth of deposit. In turn, damages to the unit caused by tenants will be deducted from the deposit. Tenants are also not allowed to sublet the unit without the knowledge of the lessor.

The law can protect you. Knowing what you can and can't do can clear up the worry in your head and help you enjoy your newfound independence more.

PHOTO: Instagram @apartmenthterapy; GIF: Giphy

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