It happens to the first-time renter, the seasoned renter, and all the renters in between. The signing of a lease, before asking important questions, not being happy, and unable to get out of it without hefty fees.
Before you sign your next lease, consider asking the landlord these questions:
How long is the lease term?
This question is important because you need to know if you’re on a month-to-month, 6-month, year, etc. commitment to space.
Are any utilities covered in the rent costs?
It used to be common for landlords to cover the water and sewer fees for the property owned. There has been quite a shift in the landlords asking renters to pay these fees. If you come from a time where utilities were included in rent, make sure to ask. It’s not safe to assume yes.
Rent due date and when late fee’s kick in:
Most states have laws that require grace periods. In some states, if rent is due on the first of every month, there is a 4- 5-day grace period allowing rent to be paid by the 5th/6th before late fees strike. Make sure to ask.
The ways rent can be paid:
Many of us are used to money orders and checks but times are different. Many property management companies/ landlords, require that rent be paid online and/or via an app now. Having a money order in hand on the 5th, when the method to pay is online, can cause trouble.
The security deposit amount and if it’s refundable:
Usually, security deposits are refundable but ask anyway. Is it fully refundable? Is only a portion refundable? What makes the security deposit non-refundable?, etc.
Are renters required to secure renter’s insurance?:
Sometimes, this requirement is in the fine print. Make sure to ask if this is required and the limits required. You may already have one worth $5,000 but in this new place, the requirement could be $10,000. Renter’s insurance is always a good idea regardless of whether it is in your lease. Contact us today to explore your options.
What kind of notice needs to be given before vacating at the end of the lease?:
The end of the lease term doesn’t automatically get you out of the commitment. Many landlords require a 60-day notice, to advise that you will not be renewing the lease. If that notice isn’t provided, the lease automatically renews at the current rate and other requirements.
What are the pet and guest policies?:
You’ll find that many landlords want no pets and no guests. Though, guests are a little less likely to be restricted. When people live somewhere, others visit. But pets, that is more likely to be a restriction. If the landlord does allow pets, ask for breed and size restrictions because in many cases, landlords will allow pets but restrict a certain type/ breed.
Before you sign that lease, ask important questions. Signing that lease is like a committed relationship. You want to be sure that you can handle the terms, the area, the unit, and beyond.
The landlord should be fine with you getting clarification and starting off your tenant-landlord relationship on the right foot.
About Travis Etheridge
Travis, the co-owner of The Insurance Alliance, joined the insurance industry in 2011. He is married to his lovely wife Anica, and has an amazing son Henry. Travis is passionate about helping people, so the insurance industry is a natural fit. The thing he loves most about the industry is being there for his clients at their most trying times. He believes everyone is an individual and they deserve an individual plan best suited for their situation.