The Bekins Blog
Don’t Sign a Lease Until You Ask These 9 Questions
In a previous blog post, we talked about a few things renters need to know before signing a lease. Although this article provides a few tips, there are still several things you as a future renter should know before you grab the pen and put your signature on a legally binding document.
Below, we go over several other questions you should ask a landlord or property manager before you apply for an apartment and sign the lease. Read on to discover which additional tips will help you in your hunt for a new home.
- What Forms of Payment Are Acceptable for Rent?
Our other article advises you to ask how much rent is and who to turn rent into. Another question you should ask, however, is what forms of payment the landlord or property owner accepts for rent. Some landlords only accept money orders, while others accept personal checks, echecks, or credit card payments.
Before you sign the lease, know what forms of payment you can use so that paying rent is as easy as possible.
- Is There a Grace Period for Rent?
Additionally, you should ask if there is a grace period for paying rent. Most leases state that rent is due on the first of each month. Sometimes, though, a grace period is offered for tenants to pay rent a few days late without being charged late fees.
You’ll want to know if there’s a grace period so you can plan your budget accordingly and always pay rent on time.
- How Long Does the Lease Last?
Some leases run for six months, while others last up to a year or more. Before you sign the lease, know how long the landlord or property owner expects you to live in the unit.
If you still want to live in the unit but don’t want to fulfill the length of the lease, find out if you can sell your lease or sublet the unit to another individual.
- Can I Renew My Lease? How Will I Do That?
Are you planning on living in the area long term? Some property owners or landlords require you to sign a new lease before your current one expires. Other property owners may move you to a month-to-month contract once you’ve fulfilled your original lease.
If you want to renew your lease, ask the appropriate entity how you will do so and when.
- How Do I Submit a Maintenance Request?
When the power goes out in your apartment or an appliance breaks down, you’ll need to get the issue fixed fast. Know how to submit a maintenance request so you can get any problems repaired as soon as possible.
You should also ask about emergency maintenance services in case you have a problem outside of regular business hours.
- Who Pays for Pest Control?
If mice ever enter your apartment during the winter or you have ants inside your kitchen, you’ll want a pest control expert to remove the pests. Ask your landlord who is responsible for paying for these services. You’ll want to know ahead of time if you have to pay for pest control services out of pocket or if someone else will cover the cost.
- What Appliances Come With the Apartment? Do They All Work?
When you looked at the apartment, it likely seemed well put together and included a kitchen full of appliances. But what you see might just belong to the current tenants. Find out if the kitchen comes with any appliances or if you need to buy your own.
If appliances do come in the unit, make sure they all work properly before you sign the lease. The property owner should repair or replace any broken or faulty appliances as soon as possible.
- Does the Unit Come Furnished?
Another good question to ask is if the apartment comes furnished. Some properties are filled with couches, chairs, tables, and bedroom furniture. Other apartments are empty and require you to bring your own.
When you know what (if any) furniture comes with the unit, you can better plan ahead as you pack and prepare for your move. After all, you don’t want to bring your furniture with you if the apartment already comes furnished.
- How Do I Document Damage to the Apartment?
Previous tenants may have caused damage to the apartment. They may have broken the blinds, put holes in the walls, or stained the carpets. They may have even tried to cover up this damage. You don’t want to get charged for previous damage to the unit, so find out how to document and submit damage reports to the property owner.
Before you sign a new lease for an apartment you’re going to rent, ask these questions to the landlord, the property manager, or the appropriate entity. Gather all the information you can ahead of time so you can determine if the unit you’ve looked into is truly the best option available for you.
When you get ready to move into your new apartment, give Bekins a call. We’ll help you pack and transport your belongings so you don’t have to stress over the move. Let us manage the transition so you can focus on more important things.