Since the housing meltdown, nearly 3 million new households have become renters. At least 3 million more are expected by 2015. If you’re new to the landlording, this is a great time as rentals are on the rise!
Following are some things a tenant will ask before signing a contract. Determine, ahead of time, what your answers will be!
Questions to ask a landlord:
- How much is the application fee?
- What documents do you require when I submit my application?
- Will you run a credit check?
- Will you run a criminal background check?
- How much is the security deposit?
- Which fees are non-refundable?
- How long is the term of the lease or rental agreement?
- Do you allow pets? What are the extra charges for pets?
- How do I pay rent? (check, cash, money order, credit card)
- What day of the month is rent due?
- What day of the month do late fees begin accruing?
- If I move in before the 1st of the month, will I be charged for the entire month?
- Can I paint any rooms of the property?
- Can I install a security system?
- Are any utilities included in my rent?
- Is the property all electric? If not, which items are gas?
- What are the names, addresses, phone numbers of the utility companies for this property?
- Is cable included?
- Is parking available?
- Are the appliances included and which ones?
- How are maintenance requests handled?
- Are there smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed in this property? (required in rentals)
- How much will rent increase each year?
- Am I allowed to sub-let?
- Can I add someone to the lease at a later date?
- Can I rent month-to-month? Is there an additional fee?
- If my lease ends, does it automatically revert to month-to-month or must I sign a new lease?
- What is the fee if I terminate the lease early?
- What are the requirements when I move out?
- When and how do I get my security deposit back?
Things prospective tenants look for:
- Tenants don’t just check out the property; they check out the landlord to make sure they’re renting/leasing from someone who’s reputable.
- Do they have a website?
- Is the rent they’re requesting reasonable? Get an idea by checking rentrange.com.
- Check crime the area through some of the crime check sites like CrimeReports.com.
- For an idea of utility costs before signing a contract, call the city water, gas and electric companies. Most will give a six to twelve month average for the address you are considering.
Please, leave your questions or comments below, and what questions do your tenants ask you?