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Five Essential Questions to Ask When Looking to Rent

Finding the perfect home to rent can be somewhat of a minefield for renters. Knowing what to look for in a property and thinking of the right questions to ask can be overwhelming. However, learning as much as possible upfront can help you avoid moving into a property that isn't suitable for you. It can also prevent you from overlooking any details in your tenancy agreement that don't align with your standards or expectations.

Before signing a lease, be sure to ask the five essential questions below.

What Is Included in My Monthly Payment?

When looking to rent, you need to know if the property you're considering is affordable. You can determine this by asking what exactly is included in the rent.

Most of the time, your monthly payment covers just your rent. However, your payment may sometimes include garbage removal, water, electricity, and internet. Typically, apartment rentals do not include utilities, but some do.

Each landlord will have different expectations for your monthly payment, so make sure you know exactly what is covered upfront and what additional bills you can expect to pay prior to signing your lease.

Which Activities or Places Are Nearby?

If you're new to the area, asking what there is to do can help you decide if this is a good location to put down roots. Of course, what's fun for one person won't always appeal to another, but inquiring about popular locations will help you uncover hidden gems.

Do your research and ask if you are close to grocery stores, shopping centers, movie theaters, theme parks, restaurants, and other facilities. Knowing there are fun or convenient places nearby can enhance your experience if you want to make a rental your home.

Is the Rental Already Furnished?

As you prepare to rent, you should determine if you plan to acquire any furniture or if you’d prefer to rent a pre-furnished space. 

Before signing a lease, ask the landlord if any furniture or appliances are included. By law, all landlords must include a stove or an oven for a property to be habitable, and if a kitchen is designed for integrated appliances, these, too, must be included. But generally, even an unfurnished property will still include a washer/dryer, a fridge or fridge freezer, the oven/stove, and potentially a dishwasher.

Generally, sofas, tables, and chairs are included in a furnished property. If you require items like soft furnishings, bed linens, and storage containers, you will be responsible for acquiring those yourself.

What Are the Terms of the Lease?

Asking about the terms of the lease is vital to ensuring you do not violate any rules during your tenancy.

Typically, leases are year-long, but you may also have the option of renting month-by-month. It’s important to know which tenancy you are signing for and how much notice each party must give upon leaving the rental or asking the tenant to vacate the property.

Be sure you understand all fees associated with damage or late payments. Ask about turnaround times for repairs and what constitutes normal wear and tear. Clarify the condition in which the landlord expects the property to be left once your lease ends, and discuss when you should receive your security deposit.

Be aware of any mandatory checks and visits your landlord will perform. In most states, landlords must give at least 24 hours' notice before conducting an inspection. Also, ask if you should be expecting regular, periodic checks or if you will only receive visits for maintenance requests.

Other questions to ask about your lease when looking to rent include:

  • Are there application and move-in fees?
  • How much do you require for a security deposit?
  • What are your income or credit requirements?
  • Am I allowed to have a cosigner or guarantor?
  • How many occupants can reside in the property, and how many must be on the lease?
  • Am I allowed to sublet?
  • What happens if I need to terminate my lease early?
  • What is the pet policy?
  • How should I handle disorderly conduct from neighbors?
  • Am I allowed to run a business from this property?
  • Where should I park? Where should my guests park?

What Are the Decorating Parameters?

Before decorating, you should be aware of any rules you might unintentionally break that can put your tenancy at risk or leave you with a fee.

Some landlords will expect you not to decorate the property, hang pictures, or make any other changes, while others might give you free rein over what you do to the interior. Knowing your landlord’s expectations upfront can help you avoid making costly mistakes and having to reverse the changes you make.

Whether you intend to replace or cover flooring, hang wallpaper, or paint, know what you are allowed to do before you do it. Ask if you can hang pictures, replace the fittings and furnishings, hang curtain rods, or add additional locks.

Contact Rooftop Rentals

The more you know about what the landlord expects of their tenant, the more informed a decision you can make. Be thorough when viewing a rental, ask the right questions, and check your tenancy agreement extensively to ensure you're aware of any limitations and caveats that can impact how you live in the property.

If you're looking for an amazing rental property in Idaho, we can help. Explore our selection of rentals currently on the market, and contact Rooftop Rentals today to schedule a viewing.

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