Finding a place to rent is a big commitment. The search is something many Americans are all too familiar with.
Rentals account for roughly 34 percent of households in the United States. As renting costs continue to climb, finding the perfect place has become even more difficult.
But let’s say you’ve finally found your dream rental. Now what? Make sure you know what you’re getting into before you sign the lease.
Asking the landlord the right questions upfront ensures your rental experience is smooth.
Here are 10 questions to ask landlords before you lock into your tenant agreement.
1. Is the Rental All-Inclusive?
Before you sign, you must fully understand the full cost of what you are committing to.
Sure. The landlord has told you the cost of the rent. But does that rent include amenities?
It is important to ask your landlord if utilities are included in the cost of rent, or if they will be your responsibility. If utilities are included, confirm which ones.
If the amenities will be your responsibility, try to find out what those amenities will cost you. Do not sign a lease until you have a full picture of what the rental will cost. Amenities for apartments and housing units get expensive.
2. What Is the Preferred Payment Process?
It is beneficial to ask your landlord for their preferred payment method. Try to find out if you can pay rent online, or if they would prefer a cheque. You should also determine the rent due date, and if there are fees associated with it being late.
While it may feel uncomfortable, discussing payment upfront leaves everyone on the same page. You and your new landlord will have established expectations.
By following through on those expectations, you will build a stronger relationship with your landlord.
3. What Does the Parking Situation Look Like?
Even if you don’t drive, it is important to fully understand parking accommodations. After all, you are likely to have visitors.
Find out if there is assigned parking for your unit available on the property. If not, inquire about secure street parking. You should also ask what is suggested for visitors, in case someone needs to park at your place from time to time.
Insufficient parking options will potentially cost tenants hundreds in parking tickets. It can become a nightmare if it is an issue you need to deal with regularly.
Make sure you understand the parking situation upfront.
4. Is Insurance Required?
Before moving in, make sure you inquire about insurance.
Landlords should communicate openly about this topic. You must know exactly what you would be liable for in the case of a fire, leak, or natural disaster. Even if your landlord has insurance coverage, you should purchase content insurance to protect your personal property.
It is also reasonable to be on the hook for some common apartment costs, but most maintenance should be covered by your landlord.
Make sure you ask which insurance is included, and what is required.
5. Is the Unit Pet-Friendly?
Some people are willing to part with pets to land the perfect rental. But for the majority of pet owners, giving up your beloved companion is a deal-breaker.
If you have a pet, it’s crucial to make sure the unit is pet-friendly before you sign. Make sure your pet meets the landlord’s requirements and discuss any rules they might have.
It is not a bad idea to get this included in your apartment rental agreement so that you have it in writing.
6. Will the Locks Be Changed?
Many tenants assume that the locks on their rental unit will be changed prior to them moving in. In reality, this isn’t always the case.
Among the most common questions to ask landlords, this is often overlooked. It is important to get the locks changed. If the landlord is not going to update the lock, talk to the landlord about arranging a time to have it done yourself.
Your security is important. If you ever need to file a claim with your insurance company, you may need to prove that you and your landlord were the only ones who had access to the unit.
7. Will the Unit Be Cleaned?
Make sure you do a walk-through of the unit before you sign a lease. Make note of any repairs, dirt or concerns you have. Let your landlord know.
Ask if the landlord will be cleaning the unit prior to you moving in. This will ensure that you have shared expectations for the space. It will also help you avoid any unwanted surprises on move-in day.
8. What Rules Do You Have?
It doesn’t hurt to ask your landlord about any personal rules or requests they might have.
Most landlords are reasonable, but accommodating their requests will make your relationship with them stronger, and likely impress your neighbors as well.
On the other hand, if the landlord has unreasonable rules and requests, it probably isn’t the rental for you.
9. Who Handles Maintenance?
This is another question that often gets overlooked, and it is particularly important if you live on a property that requires a lot of work.
Make sure you know what maintenance you are responsible for, and ensure you have the means to take it on. This will help you avoid charges and disputes with your landlord and neighborhood.
10. Tenant Agreement Questions to Ask Landlords
Finally, make sure you clarify what your rental term looks like.
You may not plan to break the lease but most people don’t. The reality is, life can through you unexpected curveballs. Find out what will happen if you need to break your lease early.
When choosing an apartment, you should also ask if rent is fixed, or if there are any additional fees.
Finally, find out if the term renews automatically, or if there are opportunities for that.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Before signing a tenancy agreement for a new rental, make sure understand what you’re agreeing to.
Use these 10 questions to ask landlords, and make sure you get all of the information you need to feel confident in your new living arrangement.
If you are looking for a rental in the Memphis area, we can help. Take a look at our properties today, and let’s find your dream rental.