In a time like this information is key to find the perfect deal аnd you get that information by asking the right questions.
Signing your apartment lease is a legally binding act which shouldn’t be taken lightly. The fact is, you need to have it all figured out before signing the contract. You need to make sure that “this is it, this is the place” you want.
In order to gather as much information as possible, it’s best if you have all your questions prepared and laid out on paper. If you’re wondering what exactly to ask, consider the following questions.
Lease Term, Extensions, and Termination
The first thing to discuss with your landlord-to-be is your lease duration.
You both need to make sure you’re on the same page on this. You are going to be bound to the period you choose, so it has to suit both your needs.
Other questions you may want to discuss are the possibilities for an extension of your contract, eventual penalties for breaking your lease (in case of extreme situations) as well as the notice you need to provide.
Include all related information in your future contract just to have everything down on paper when you both are signing it.
Let’s talk about money
One of the main questions is the rent.
You have to ask about the due date, way of payment and when it is considered to be late, and what is the fee for that (it’s good to know just in case). Besides that, it’ll be good if you ask about average utility costs (and which ones come with the property) and check if anything is included in the price of the rent or shared with other people in the building.
Most landlords will require an up-front payment for a security deposit from you. It can vary, but the minimum is at least one month’s worth of rent which you’ll have to pay when signing the lease.
There can also be charges for a credit check, and other types of fees, some of them refundable and some – not. All information will be of use when you’re calculating your monthly budget and organizing the payment.
Communication Channels & Emergency Situations
Emergencies and maintenance problems happen all the time without a warning.
It’ll be good to know what to do in those kinds of situations (pipe bursts, the oven breaks, etc. ). Clear that out with your landlord – get his contacts and the contacts of other people who might be responsible for supervising repairs in the building (in-house property manager, for example).
Ask about how often will your prospective landlord come for a property check-up and how much time beforehand will he call you to let you know.
Improvements & Furniture
We all want our homes to reflect who we are. Alterations to rental properties can be tricky but not impossible.
Discuss with your landlord possible decoration projects and get a clear picture about what you can and cannot change and what other conditions need to be present in order to avoid deposit disputes in the end.
When going on your apartment walkthrough, note if there’s any damaged furniture and appliances and include them in a property inventory which both of you will sign. If you can, snap a few photos even.
This will be of use to both you and your future landlord because you’ll be aware of the property’s state in the beginning of your lease.
When considering a potential home, looks and comfort may seem really important to us, but they’re not everything.
Don’t forget to ask about things like parking availability in the area, schools, hospitals, public transportation, and shops. This information will help you envision the life in your new home.
Why not ask the previous tenants for some feedback on the location? They will be able to provide a first-hand information about the property (and maybe even the monthly costs).
Pets & Smoking
If applicable, you can ask your prospective landlord about pets and smoking on the premises.
Some homeowners straight away forbid any animals in their homes while others are more considerate but may ask for a pet security deposit. Make sure you have it all written in the lease to avoid unpleasant surprises.