Are you planning on moving to a rental? Better to be meticulous in doing so. Sure, finding a rental can give you such a hard time. What more when you’re already reading through the lease contract?
When signing your lease contract, stop for a second. Apply a little bit of forethought and preparation prior to signing the contract. Some or all lease contracts are sometimes meant to protect the landlords more than the tenants. You should know enough before signing along the dotted line. The next thing you know you’re locked in.
The following are the things you should know and understand before signing a lease contract:
1. Rent and lease terms
This is the perfect time to listen attentively and talk to the leasing agents. Make sure you’re on the same page; don’t be afraid to ask for clarifications regarding anything you don’t understand. Here are some other things that should’ve been made known in the contract:
i. The monthly rent and due date
ii. The dates the lease begins and ends
iii. Lease renewal rules
iv. Subletting rules
v. Rules for raising the rent
2. Rental coverage / Utilities
Some landlords include utility fees when apartments do not have separate meters. Double check with your landlord or lease agents what covers the rental. Some of them are:
i. Utilities included in the rent
ii. Appliances included in the rent
iii. Parking spaces if included (if not, the parking fees)
It’s true what they say: the landlord’s insurance does not include the tenant. You, the prospective tenant, are accountable for your own property against fire, theft, water damage, and individual liability damages.
Your landlord may have agreed to allow you to improve or alter some features in your apartment. Make sure that it is in writing in the lease contract. If not, you will be responsible for the cost of bringing back the apartment to its original condition.
5. Pets allowed?
Having pets within the rental space can be troublesome for others. If you intend on welcoming a pet in your apartment, let the landlord know about it ahead of time so he/she wouldn’t be withholding the consent to do so.
6. Maintenance and repairs
Thoroughly scan the contract for maintenance and repairs. The following should be stated:
i. Your responsibilities for maintenance and conduct
ii. Dates for promised repairs and improvements
iii. How and when you can terminate the lease and how much notice is required
iv. When the landlord can access your space
v. Landlord’s responsibility for maintenance and pest control
7. Deposit details
Your security deposit will be difficult to get it returned to you. As a precaution, you may want to add a provision to the lease which specifies how many days your security deposit shall be given back to you once the apartment passed the concluding inspection. You may want to learn more about some of these things:
i. What deposits are being made
ii. When, and under what conditions the deposit be returned