Once you've found your ideal apartment or house, the next step is signing a lease. Pictures: Pexels
Once you've found your ideal apartment or house, the next step is signing a lease. Pictures: Pexels

7 questions to ask your estate agent or new landlord before signing an apartment lease

By Nneka Jonas Time of article published May 14, 2020

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It is important to understand what to look for in an apartment lease, how to actually negotiate terms, and what sort of documents you may need. 

Above all, a lease is a legally binding contract that lays out the laws agreed upon between the landlord and yourself. It is intended to protect both you and your landlord, so ensure that everything reads correctly.



Before signing a lease, here are a few questions you might consider asking your real estate agent or potential landlord.

When is rent due?

It's good to know when rent is considered "late’’. Lease terms normally specify that rent should be due on the first day of the month. however many times landlords would give a waiting period until you'll be penalized for paying rent late.

How is rent paid?

make sure that you are well aware of how the landlord collects rent per month. Initially find out this information before you move in, and also try to keep records of all your rent payments for your own documentation.

Does the rent include utilities?

Review your lease agreement and see if there are any services included in the contract, and call your real estate agent or property owner and find out how you can set them up. Ask and always know what you will be paying for.

What are the move-in fees? Move-in fees usually involve rent and security deposit for the first and last month, which will cover any damage done by the tenant to the building's common areas for the period of the lease. Check with your landlord to make sure that you don't get any surprises when it comes to moving day.

What is the policy on personalization?

Individuals who like to design their room may want to look into certain terminology related to apartment upgrades or alterations. Some properties may allow tenants more freedom to paint or redesign their rooms than others.

How are maintenance requests handled?

One of the questions you should also ask before you agree is who should be responsible for the maintenance, whether it's a faulty door lock, broken key, or something as heavy as an appliance.

What does the renewal process look like?

Make sure you also know if your landlord wants notice before you renew. Landlords and management companies aren’t always reliable about reminding their tenets when it’s time to renew, so be vigilant early and get this in writing.

What happens if the apartment lease is broken?

Things happen and you may need to move out before your lease is up. Your landlord may be understanding, and not penalize you, based on your reasons. However, breaking a lease without legal grounds to do so may result in you having to pay the rent on your lease for the remaining months, This may even lead to your landlord's court action or a negative mark on your credit record, should you owe some outstanding debt.


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