Renting a home use for the first time is often a big and scary decision. But you can determine whether or not the house fits your lifestyle by asking the right questions before you sign a lease. In addition, you can prevent hidden lease scams with these 15 questions to ask before renting a house.
1. What is the cost of monthly rent, and which payment methods are accepted?
The first question you should raise with your landlord is the cost of monthly rent. Furthermore, finding an acceptable payment method, such as paying rent online, can better your communication with the landlord. Avoid landlords who insist on cash payments.
2. Is the cost of utilities included in the rent?
The cost of utilities is a question that can affect the house budget. Be sure to ask whether utilities are included in the rent.
3. Who is responsible for maintenance and repair fees?
Maintenance responsibility is a frequent cause of arguments between landlords and tenants. In order to avoid conflict, it is important to clearly state what your responsibilities are concerning repairs.
4. What is the lease term, and is it renewable?
While most leases last for 12 months, some landlords prefer a two-year lease. Others are willing to offer a month-to-month agreement. Knowing your lease term protects you from rent raises. Also, it is essential to ask if the landlord is open to renewals.
5. What are the late fees and early lease termination policies?
Most landlords demand late rent fees if you don’t pay rent by the agreed time. However, sometimes they are willing to give an extension. In addition to that, be sure to read the release clause in your tenancy agreement to learn about any penalties for early lease termination.
6. How much is the security deposit?
Most landlords in the US require security deposits in case of property damage. The amount can vary from state to state, but it is usually one month’s rent. Also, it would be wise to research local laws and regulations to determine when your landlord can withhold the deposit and when they are obliged to return it.
7. Are there any additional and non-refundable fees?
Knowing your monthly expenses is necessary when figuring out which rental home fits your budget. Before signing a lease, make sure to ask about extra fees and if they are refundable.
8. Is tenant insurance required?
Some landlords insist on tenant insurance in order to protect their property, while others simply advise it. Be sure to check with your landlord on where they stand regarding this matter, as it can include additional fees. Every now and then, this expense can sway your decision on which house fits best, money-wise.
9. What are the screening measures during the application process?
Your landlord will surely run a credit check. If they deem you financially unstable, they can demand a guarantor as additional insurance. In order to avoid uncomfortable situations, you can ask what their screening measures are during the application process. For instance, some landlords include background checks in addition to calling your references.
10. How much notice do I get before the landlord visits?
Most countries have established notices before a landlord is allowed to enter the property. To keep clear of misunderstandings, you should discuss acceptable timelines for visits.
11. What is the subletting policy?
In some instances, you might need to move out of your rental home, and subletting will look like a reasonable solution. However, your landlord may be against you leasing the property to a third party. Before signing a lease, discuss the subletting policy with them.
12. What is the guest policy?
If you plan to invite someone for a longer stay in your new house, make it a priority to check your lease. Some landlords allow guests for a certain period of time and only with their approval. However, the landlord may charge an additional fee, so it is best to inquire beforehand.
13. What is the pet policy?
If you have a pet or plan on getting one, make sure your new home allows pets. If a pet policy exists, double-check with your landlord about breed bans and pet deposits. Furthermore, when reading the lease, look for additional fees a landlord may charge for your furry friend.
14. What appliances and furniture come with the house?
Some houses come fully furnished, while others require tenants to bring their own appliances. You can discuss possible agreements in case you’d prefer to bring your own couch and TV. Also, what if you can’t live without a dishwasher, but the kitchen doesn’t have one? It would be wise to bring a checklist of all the things you may need to the house viewing.
15. What is your ideal renter?
You can gather a lot of information about your landlord from this simple question. Are they prejudiced? Are they reliable? Depending on the answer, you can decide if you are on the same page.