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Congratulations! You found an apartment that you absolutely love, and you can’t wait to move in. But before you jump to sign a lease, there are some important questions that you should ask your potential landlord. Luckily, we’re here to help guide you through the process. Here’s our list of the 5 questions every tenant should ask their landlord before moving in.
1. How long is the lease?
Typically, most apartment leases are for 12 months. However, you shouldn’t assume that this landlord is looking to rent for a year. In some cases, a landlord may want a short-term tenant of 6 months so that the space is available for family and friends the other half of the year. On the other hand, some landlords look to get tenants to commit to an 18-month lease and offer incentives like the first month free etc. Make sure that this is one of the first questions you ask so that terms are crystal clear and you’re not shocked when it comes time for you to sign the lease.
2. What am I responsible for financially?
Moving is expensive. Whether you decide to hire a professional moving company or embark on an ambitious do-it-yourself move, it will certainly cost you. After moving into a new apartment, the last thing you want to do is incur additional fees for things you didn’t expect to pay more. This question is important because it determines what things you’re responsible for in your apartment. If a bulb is out, are you responsible for replacing it? Get clarity on everything from an air filter to a broken dish washer. In a lot of leasing agreements, the tenant is usually responsible for anything that costs under $100 to replace/repair.
3. What are my options for breaking the lease if needed?
While we understand that you may not want to give your landlord any negative ideas about you, this is an important question because life does come with unexpected circumstances at times. What if you need to move home suddenly to take care of your parents? Or what if you lose your job and need to move in with a friend for a while? Will you be expected to pay the reminder of your lease or can you break your lease by paying two months rent or something comparable? While this may be a difficult conversation for you to have, it is definitely an important one.
4. What are the specific rules of decorating?
We fully get it. When you move into a new apartment, decorating and making it your own is a huge part of the excitement. From the minute the professional movers unload your belongings, you get to figure out everything from the color you paint the walls to where you place your plants and how you hang your wall art. This is all a great part of the process unless your landlord informs you that you’re not allowed to change the color of the walls. Be sure to ask specific questions about decorating so that you know whether you have the power to transform your new home into your dream home or not.
5. Are there any rules relating to house guests?
Imagine being excited about having family and friends visit you in your new place only to find out that the lease only allows one guest at a time. This would be a major disappointment, right? This is one of the main reasons why this question is so important. Ask detailed questions and get any details you need on everything from visiting loved ones to pets.
Now that we have outlined some of the most important questions for you to ask your landlord, you should be excited about moving into your new place.