When people look at a home or apartment to rent, it’s easy to get caught up in just checking out the physical space. If it “feels” like home, then you’ll want to rent it as soon as possible.
While going with your gut isn’t always bad, it’s important not to get so caught up in the excitement that you fail to really consider what signing that lease means. Here are a few questions tenants should ask landlords in advance:
- Will the rent be pro-rated if you do not move in or out on the first of the month?
- Does the lease have a natural end date?
- If you want to re-sign at that time, do you get the first option over anyone else?
- If you have to break the lease — maybe you get a job in another city — what are the penalties?
- Can you have pets in the home or apartment? What other house rules are there?
- Do you need to put the utilities in your name and pay them separately, or are they included in the rent?
- What is the best way to pay the rent?
- When moving out, what is the system for determining if the entire security deposit goes back to you, as the tenant, and how does that happen? If approved, how long will it take? Why might you get less than the full amount?
Certainly, these are not all of the questions you should ask, but they will get you started. They help both sides be well aware of their legal rights and obligations.