Questions to Ask the Landlord
For millions of people, rental property is a convenient, affordable alternative to homeownership. However, it does come with its own set of caveats, challenges, and restrictions.
Want to make sure you don’t end up agreeing to something you’ll regret? Here are some key questions to ask your landlord the next time you’re out looking at apartments or houses for rent in Austin, TX.
How Much Is Rent & What Does It Include?
One of the first things a person should find out about a potential rental is how much staying there will cost them. This includes finding out not only the price of rent but also how often it is to be paid, when it is due, and what the preferred method of payment is. Many landlords require a monthly rent—usually paid on the first of the month—but every landlord is different, so exceptions aren’t uncommon.
Also worth asking is what rent actually covers. Though in many cases rent is rent and nothing more, some landlords include the cost of certain utilities and other services in their asking price. Finding a rental where things like water, electricity, heating, garbage pick-up, and parking are covered is a great way of saving money in the long-run.
What Are the Terms of the Lease Agreement?
Depending on the length of your stay and the preferences of your landlord, you may be required to sign a lease before moving into a new rental. In such cases, it’s essential to know the terms of your lease agreement before you put your name down on the dotted line. The main question you’ll want to ask is how long the lease period is.
While most leases are 12 months, some are longer and some are shorter. Either way, you’ll also want to find out what penalties you might suffer for breaking the lease early, as well as what options exist for extending the lease, if need be. You should also find out how much notice you’re required to give before vacating, as well as, in general, what your responsibilities as a tenant will be.
What Is The Policy For Maintenance & Repairs?
Knowing what is expected of you as a tenant is important. Knowing what rights you have and you can expect from your landlord is equally important. Specifically, what is your landlord’s policy regarding maintenance and repairs? While landlords are generally responsible for such things, how fast and how well they respond to such issues is another matter entirely.
If you’re concerned about maintenance and repairs, ask about the best way to go about reporting issues that need fixing. You should also inquire about how long it usually takes for maintenance and repairs to be resolved, who normally performs such tasks, and if there are 24/7 options available in case of pressing emergencies.
How Much Freedom Do Tenants Have Here?
The biggest thing that separates property you rent from property you own is how much freedom you have to do what you want with it. After all, a landlord has to be able to rent out their property to someone else after you leave, so it’s not surprising that they’re picky in limiting what you can do to the property and what you can bring onto it.
Before moving in, find out exactly what you can and can’t do. Are you allowed to repaint? Put nails in the walls to hang pictures? Replace appliances like the fridge or oven? Are pets allowed? What about visitors? How will these things affect your security deposit? It might seem like a lot of questions to ask, but knowing the answers can save you a lot of money and headaches in the end.