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Key Questions to Ask a Landlord Before Signing a Lease

Updated: Jul 1, 2023

Every responsible tenant only signs on a lease agreement when they have all the relevant information about the deal. However, being diligent in this matter becomes tricky for new tenants. For the most part, it remains difficult because those new tenants don’t know about a set of key questions they should ask a landlord before signing a lease.

In this post, we will share some of the key questions any tenant should ask a landlord before sealing a lease deal with them.

What’s included in the rent?

This is the first question that every tenant should ask a landlord. Assumptions with what’s included in the rent often become a reason for contentions later on. Therefore, get all your rent queries sorted here. Ask if the rent accounts for the utility payments, which one, and if there is any clause for rental increments. Similarly, find out that if you have to pay anything extra to get the parking space. In short, ask every question that comes to your mind in terms of rents and relevant services before inking the lease agreement.

What is the payment method?

Often, landlords and tenants fight just over the payment method. One prefers one payment mode, and the other seeks a different payment method. Therefore, ask a landlord their preferred payment method before signing the agreement. By finding that out in advance, both tenants and landlords can find the common ground for a payment method suitable for both of them.

How long is the grace period for late payments, and if there are any penalties?

Ask a landlord how much time you will get after the rent payment deadline. Also, ask if there are any penalties for late payment and what are their conditions. Having this information helps you streamline your rental payments while avoiding penalties and straining your relationship with the landlord.

What are the conditions for the refund of the security deposit?

Security deposits are usually refundable. However, the conditions that define the use of a security deposit often make it an issue at the end of the lease term. If you don’t want to get caught by any unpleasant surprise, make sure you know all the conditions where a landlord can keep the full or a portion of your security deposit.

What is the guest policy?

Different landlords have a different approach for allowing tenants’ guests in their properties. If you receive guests more often and usually for overnight and extended stays, you must know about the particular guest policy of the landlord you are entering the lease agreement with. For instance, ask them what their occupancy limit for the property is and what they consider an extended stay.

Keep in mind that most lease agreements don’t shed light on those points. Therefore, you may have to verbally talk to the landlord about it and get the agreement revised, if needed.

What is the pet policy?

Like guest policy, the pet policy of a landlord is also not regularized by any state or federal law. Every landlord is free to choose what they consider best for their property. If you have a feline or canine family member, must ask your potential landlord about their pet policy. You may find three types of landlords when it comes to pets.

● Those who don’t allow pets at all

● Those who might issue with particular breeds and the number of pets

How they handle emergency maintenances?

Regular maintenance details are often mentioned in the lease agreement. However, how the landlord is supposed to handle emergency maintenance situations is often missing from the agreement. If that’s the case, simply ask the landlord in person about emergency maintenances. If they don’t have an answer to your question, you may reconsider your decision to sign the lease.

However, if you know that they manage their property through a professional property manager and team, you can rest assured that they will have a well-thought-out plan for emergency maintenances as well.

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