Last updated on June 4, 2014
Rental properties are taking on a larger portion of our housing market these days with all the problems and foreclosures that the home buying market is facing. The more people that lose their homes, the more renters that seem to flood the market. With these added people to the rental market, it has become much more competitive. With that competition comes plenty of room for people to be taken advantage of as with any business. If you are looking to rent a home, there are a number of questions that you should ask first. Here are five vital questions you must ask before renting that home:
1. What repairs are needed in the home and who is responsible for them? Property management is the number one thing to ask about. Many landlords are sketchy on these details, and if you do not put this in the lease, then you will not have a foot to stand on when the pipes freeze or the roof leaks. Common problems are the landlords responsibility, but you still should get this in writing.
2. Will you allow modifications to the property? If you want to change anything at all, you must have the landlords permission. They are quick to make agreements before you sign the lease, and not so quick after. If you are planning to paint the walls and plant that flowerbed, it is a good idea to get the okay before the lease is signed and have it added in there.
3. Have you ever had a problem with insects, rodents, or pests of any kind? This is a very important question that often is overlooked by renters. If the house once had a roach problem, for example, the chances are decent that the roaches could just be waiting in the wings for the next tenant to bring in dinner. Ask about this, and confirm that the landlord handles all pest control expenses.
4. Will the lease go to month to month upon completion or will you require another year/two year lease? This is another common catching point with tenants and landlords. Month to month renting is ideal after you have completed a lease, but the landlord will have the right to raise your rent at any time. Having a lease offers you the protection of a locked in rental amount for the duration of the lease.
5. What is your policies on late payment of rental dues? If you do not ask this question, it is sure to come back and bite you eventually. Most landlords charge a late fee for late rental payments. If the fee is ridiculous, then you need to move somewhere else. When a landlord charges super high late fees, chances are they less than honest with business. This is supposed to be regulated but is rarely enforced.
Rental properties are a wonderful way to shake off some of the costs of living if you find yourself in the position to need to do so. Asking the right questions when you rent a home can mean the difference between a smooth rental agreement and a nightmare. Take the time to write down the questions and the answers you are given, and make sure they are included in the lease and rental agreement.