Apartment hunting is I really tough right now. You may find places not suited to your tastes or those which do are not to your budget. Eventually, you may have to settle for something a little less than perfect or if you’re lucky,you could find a home you love. However, before you sign the lease, there are a few questions you might want to ask your prospective landlord so that there is no reason for disagreement later on during the lease period. In fact, you might ask if some of the points mentioned below might also be included in the lease agreement for your safety so that the landlord has a binding written reminder of how he answers.
- When will the unit be available for occupation? If it’s ready to occupy and it’s impractical for you to move in immediately, you may have to negotiate with the landlord so that you don’t pay for unoccupied time.
- How much is the rent and when/where is it due every month? Will the landlord accept electronic transfer, check or other forms of payment? How much is the security deposit and is it fully refundable? Will the security deposit be held in an interest bearing account? If so, when is that payment?
- Is there a penalty fee for late payment of the rent?
- What are the terms for renewing the lease?
- Are pets allowed and if not, would it be possible to have pets if you paid a pet deposit? If a pet-deposit policy is in place, is it refundable if there’s no damage caused to be found when you move out?
- What are the conditions if you have to move out before the lease expires? Even if you may think you won’t have to move out for a long time, it’s better to keep your options safe and negotiate secure terms should you need to move out earlier than the expiry of the lease period.
- Are any utilities included in your agreement? What are typical bill amounts in different seasons?
- Are you allowed to share your unit with roommates and what is the policy on subletting the place?
- Can you paint the walls or make other decorating changes?
- Are you allowed to run a home business from your apartment?
- Who will be responsible for property maintenance?
- Who are your neighbors?
- How close is the nearest post office, grocery store, bank, restaurant and public transportation?
Some of these might not apply to you right now. Maybe not ever. Circumstances change as time goes on. Asking these questions only avoids any cause for disagreement in the future between you and your landlord.
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