Deciding to lease an apartment is a huge decision. It is one of the largest financial decisions you will make next to actually purchasing a home. Make sure that you are comfortable with your landlord before agreeing to sign a lease because they ultimately own the property you are looking to occupy. You want to make sure that all your bases are covered and you won’t be throwing your money away. Here are some questions you will want to ask your potential landlord before signing any lease paperwork.
What utilities am I responsible for?
If you are new to leasing an apartment, you may think that the rent is all-inclusive. This is not always the case. If you have a detailed and itemized lease agreement, then you can see for yourself which utilities are included in the rent amount. But if utilities are not mentioned in the bill, then it’s prudent to get clarification.
Fees and other payments
There are a lot of expenses that are involved with renting an apartment that are outside the scope of the rent check. First, deposits are usually required upfront before you can move in. This could come in the form of both refundable and non-refundable deposits. Make sure you know whether this money will be returned to you or not. When you fill out a lease application, many leasers require you to pay the application fee. Make sure you are also aware of the late fees and how they are applied, just in case. Finally, early termination fees are important to know beforehand. If you get into a situation where you have to move out, it’s good to know what the cost will be.
Lease time and renewal process
It’s important to establish the initial length of the lease contract for both parties. This allows you to know how long you will be required to make payments, and at what price. Even though it may seem like a long way off, it’s important to get the renewal process squared away now. Will you go month-to-month once the contract is up? Will you need to sign another long-term lease? Will rent increase once the contract is renewed? This helps you plan for your future.
Other important policies
There are things you may not even think of that could affect your living situation. The first is the pet policy. If you have a pet, you will definitely be asking about this. Some apartments don’t allow pets, while others required additional money each month to have a pet. A guest policy could also be in place at your apartment that you aren’t even aware of. The landlord could put restrictions on how many guests are allowed at your apartment at one time, and for how long a guest can stay. This may be due to the size of the apartment or the availability of parking spots. In any case, make sure you find out so that someone staying with you from out of town doesn’t get you in trouble with your landlord. Finally, establish a notice policy for your landlord to come to the apartment. Yes, they may still own the property, but it’s common courtesy to give you a heads up before letting themselves into your apartment. It’s not outrageous to ask for a 24-hour notice before a landlord can come into your apartment.
Are the locks changed after each new tenant?
This is important for your safety and should be done each time a new tenant occupies an apartment.
Repairs and maintenance
One big question people forget until it happens is about repairs and maintenance. The benefit of leasing is that someone else owns the property and should be taking care of the repairs and maintenance. It’s important to find out the process of requesting repairs, and what specifically the landlord will cover. Make sure it’s in the contract that the landlord has to respond within a certain amount of time when something breaks. Especially plumbing because a burst pipe can ruin your personal belongings. If your house has a plumbing issue, make sure to use an expert, like the staff at Henrik Plumbing.