5 Important Things You Should Always Do Before Signing a Rental Lease

Story Highlights
  • #1 - Keep in mind: it is a partnership
  • #2 - Visit the apartment at different times of the day
  • #3 - Ask about alterations
  • #4 - Understand the rules for subletting
  • #5 - Talk to your new neighbors

Finding a new place to stay can be very exciting, but be sure to hold your horses before you sign that rental lease.

You need to make sure that you know the entire picture before you sign that piece of paper.

The perfect rental unit can be a very tricky thing to find especially if you consider all the scouring you need to do before you are eventually happy with one.

But before you initial here, there and everywhere, be sure to know exactly what you are signing for.

Here are a few important boxes to check:

#1 – Keep in mind: it is a partnership

Landlord-tenant relationships are often strained but they can be very friendly if they get off to a good start.

Presenting yourself in the best way possible on the viewing day will definitely be the building block of this partnership.

They are probably showing this unit to many other potential tenants and you have to be the one that stands out in showing that they can trust you with their property.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions or request repairs and note the response: this will indicate whether or not you will be able to trust them in return.

#2 – Visit the apartment at different times of the day

The master bedroom might get beautiful sunlight in the morning, but it could also sit right under a streetlamp, reflecting unwanted light into your sleeping routine.

Visiting a unit at different times of the day will give you a better idea of what it would be like living there during the day and night.

You can also ask your landlord what the environment is like during different weather conditions. They might just give you a few tips on how to survive the hot or cold months.

#3 – Ask about alterations

Most lease agreements will specify what you can alter on a rental unit, but it won’t hurt to ask about smaller changes.

Whether you want to put some patio stones down in the backyard or hammer a few nails into the walls, you need to be 100% sure that it will be allowed.

Landlords can differ greatly in what they allow to be customized and you don’t want to lose your security deposit because you didn’t clear it up before moving in.

If there are repairs that need to be made before you move in, you should also discuss with your landlord when having the same conversation.

#4 – Understand the rules for subletting

Subletting can be a great option for tenants who might need to move out earlier than expected.

Maybe you are renting and planning to buy when your dream home pops up in the middle of your agreement.

Subletting can thus make you avoid the penalties for breach of contract by letting someone else take over from you.

You need to make sure that your landlord allows this and that he approves the new tenant. Be clear about in order to avoid fines or eviction.

#5 – Talk to your new neighbors

The best way to get to know the area is to talk to the people who stay there: the neighbors.

They can provide you with valuable information about the neighborhood and you will be able to get to know the type of people you are living next to.

If you are moving into a shared building or property, they can tell you what to expect from the landlord, the cost of utilities and any tips they can give you for when you are moving in.

You can ask how long they have been living there – this should be a sure sign of the type of person the landlord is!

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