12 Things You Should Know Before Renting a House
Before you make a commitment you may regret, check out this list of the things you need to know and the questions you need to be asking before renting a house!
More Americans are renting houses now than at any time since 1965
And just like buying a house, finding one to rent is a huge decision that will affect both your life and lifestyle.
From where you sleep and eat to where you buy groceries and your commuting time, your choice of rental apartment affects everything.
Before you make the final decision about where to rent a house, make sure you know the questions to ask when renting a house. It’s very important to do your homework because it can be difficult to cancel a lease once you’ve signed it.
Here are things to know before renting a house as well as questions to ask before renting.
Have a look at Your Credit Report
Checking your credit report will help you find out whether your credit history will be a complication when trying to rent an apartment.
The Credit Report website recommends that you submit your rental application with a letter if your credit report shows late payments, bankruptcies, foreclosures or other debt issues.
Consider Location Before Renting a House
Before you select a house to rent, be sure to give serious thought to its location. In an ideal world, you’ll live near all the essential services and stores you need, including shops and restaurants.
Your lifestyle determines how close these areas should be. If you’re okay with driving to most places, two miles should be fine. If you prefer to walk, try to ensure you aren’t more than one mile away from essential services.
Due Dates of Rental Payments
Before renting a house, find out whether the monthly payment is within your budget. Ask how much the security deposit is if there’s one.
Discuss with the landlord the due date for your rent each month, where you to pay and what payment modes the landlord or rental office accepts.
Are There Utilities? If Yes, Who Pays for Them?
Most rental houses cover the cost of water and trash collection, but you’ll need to pay for gas and electricity. However, some houses require that you pay for all the utilities.
Water bills can be anywhere from $50 to $500 per month, so make sure to:
- Ask the local service provider to give you the average water cost for the house you’re considering renting
- Ask who pays for water and sewerage
The last tenant will have provided all those records. The same goes for gas and electricity. You have no idea how frugal or wasteful the last tenant could have been but you’ll have a clue at least.
In most cases, tenants are required to pay maintenance fees to the management of gated communities or resident welfare associations.
So, make sure to ask your landlord who’s going to pay the maintenance fees, to avoid any future conflicts. Ask what happens in case of major repairs, like seepage or other repairs. Make sure the property owner bears the cost.
What’s the Policy on Roommates?
Are you an occupant or tenant? In other words, whose name is on the lease agreement? And is rent on you if one of your roommates absconds, or is everybody equally responsible?
If you stay with 2-3 roommates, and one bails for some reason, who will pay their rent? If your name is the only one on the lease, are you allowed to sublet the house or even bring in roommates?
You may start living alone, fall on hard times and decide to bring in a roommate. So does that mean paying extra?
How often can guests come over? How many folks can live with you at a time? Can there be sleepovers?
The stuff you take for granted when living in the college dorm or at home changes drastically. Some property managers don’t give a hoot unless the situation gets out of control. Others are super strict about occupancy matters.
Keep asking about the above situations until you’re certain you’ll be fine.
Who will foot the bill for a faulty electricity meter, broken washbasin, or faulty switch? Is it the landlord? Or the tenant?
Am I Allowed to Decorate my Place?
Some landlords won’t let tenants even knock a nail into the walls. Find out from the landlord if you’re even allowed to hang stuff on the walls. Ask if you can change the tiles or paint the walls whenever you want.
If the landlord refuses to let you hang items on the wall, assure them that you’ll patch the walls up before you leave.
How Many Parking Spots Am I Allowed
In some apartments, each tenant gets a parking place. Some apartments have only one parking spot and ‘free street parking’. Others don’t have parking for visitors and some don’t give a fig.
Determine which situation suits your apartment, especially if you’ll be having friends over for studying, dinner, or parties, etc. Nothing kills the party buzz quicker than your friends not finding a place to park.
Even if you have no pet, some of your friends do have one. Can they bring their favorite pet over?
You don’t want any pet left in a vehicle–is there any policy about unattended pets on the property or in vehicles at all?
Safety and Security
Ask the property owner what safety and security measures are in place for the property, including a security guard, CCTV camera or double door lock.
You can also find out the level of security in the neighborhood. Is the area relatively safe?
Can I Cancel the Lease Early?
While you might be planning to see out the lease, there’s no way to tell what curve balls life will throw your way.
Ask what happens in case you want to cancel your lease, as well as if you can sublet to somebody else to see out the rental contract.
Make sure to read more in your lease for any useful information.
Some of the things to look for when renting a house and questions to ask when renting a house can be tricky, but they’re essential if you want to find your dream apartment.
It’s our hope that you find a nice place when renting a house. And for some useful pieces on renting, property management and home d?cor, be sure to take a look at our blog.