Top Questions To Ask Before You Rent


The logistics behind renting a new home can be tough to figure out on your own. That is why we have created this simple guide to help you prepare for your move that leaves no room for surprises and gets all your questions answered – before you commit. Here are our top questions you should ask before signing your new rental contract.

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1. How and When Is Payment Expected?

Payments are pretty much all your landlord cares about, and this is something you should be concerning yourself with as well. Many questions can arise when referring to payments and all of them should be laid out and defined before signing a contract. This includes the date of each month you are expected to pay and the type of transfer whether it be a bank transfer, cash, or check.

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Next, you want to understand penalties for late fees – how does the landlord plan to deal with a check that maybe has the wrong date on it? Many things can arise when 12 separate transactions are required so understanding how they will deal with a hypothetical mistake will teach you a lot about who you are getting into business with.

2.What Other Expenses Am I Required To Pay?

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Make sure you understand the other expenses required for your rental. Maybe you found a gorgeous apartment at a great price but didn’t realize monthly building maintenance was an arm and a leg. Understanding the associated expenses and their costs will help with your negotiations on price and allow you to budget for these future expenses accordingly.

Will you be paying the landlord directly for 3rd party services such as water, electricity, internet, cable, and the like? Or will you be required to pay and offer proof of those payments? Clarify this in advance, and your future self with thank you.

3. What Are The Application and Screening Requirements?

To be considered as a candidate for the rental, what details do you need to provide? Do you need 2 years of pay stubs? Referrals? A background check? Understanding what your new landlord requires will allow you to come prepared but can also tell you a lot about the landlord. If they are asking for the moon, maybe these aren’t the people you want to be renting from.

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4. Is Parking Included?

Does your rental come with parking? Is it included in the price? If not, are you required to pay for it? And, if so, is parking available in the building? Parking is expensive. In many cities, without proper due diligence, you could be paying hundreds of dollars a month for a parking spot, and if you fail to find one, even more in parking tickets and fines. Bring this up to your landlord and ask these questions to avoid future headaches!

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5. Can I Terminate the Rental Agreement?

Life changes. Maybe something now is not the most ideal in the future. You want your contract to have a stipulation of what needs to occur or what will be expected of you if you find yourself needing to leave earlier than expected.

Contracts will normally specify that you are entitled to pay until the end of the rental period, that you are required to find a replacement or that you just need to give 30-days notice. Understand what works the best for you and speak to your landlord. Be reasonable in what you ask for, take into consideration both parties, and make sure it is included in the contract.

6. Is The Landlord Able to Enter My Rental?

Can your landlord enter your home? When can they and for what reasons? These questions should be answered before signing and can even reveal information about the rental itself.

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Check the specifics of what is written and come to an agreement of the hours that work for you, if you insist on being in the rental during these showings, and basically what you are comfortable with. When repairs are occurring, do you insist on being in your apartment?

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Landlords have many reasons to want to enter and some are justified while others are less so, make sure it is in the contract and that you are satisfied with the details within the clause.

7. Can Guests Stay In My Apartment?

A friend coming to live with you may not seem like a big deal – so make sure your contract doesn’t make it one either. Landlords have a say in who lives in your rental, it is one way for them to avoid risk. Guests are common, but the time period that turns them from guests into subsequent renters – is one up for debate.

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Each contract will differ, but the norm is that once a guest has been living in the unit for more than two weeks – they should be held liable if any issues arise. It is important to ask these questions ahead of time to make the appropriate amendments to your contract. If not, your significant other moving in or a family member coming to stay could be considered grounds for eviction.

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8. Are Pets Allowed?

Similar to guests, pets can be an unwanted nuisance to specific landlords, neighbors, and more. Understanding where you are moving to, and the pet policy prior to moving in will make your life and the life of your pet much easier. The landlord may have restrictions on animal size or the number of pets you are allowed.

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It is normal to be asked for a pet deposit in case something gets ruined, or a pet rent charge, so don’t be taken aback if this is the case. Not mentioning a pet can be grounds for eviction so make sure to be honest with your landlord – and you can guarantee the whole family truly enjoys your new rental.