7 Questions to Ask a Broker or Landlord Before Signing a Lease

Getting a new apartment can be a stressful process. About 37 percent of the U.S. population lives in a rental as opposed to an owner-occupied home. Depending on the market, you can be in competition against other people, which increases the stakes. You just want the best possible apartment for your budget. When you think you’ve finally found “the one,” don’t lose your cool. Appearances can sometimes be deceiving when it comes to real estate. There can often be extra costs or pratfalls involved in apartments.

Here are seven questions to ask a broker or landlord before signing a lease.

How Do You Pay Rent?

This might seem obvious, but it’s something that often gets lost in translation. You need to know how to pay rent and when it’s due. Otherwise, you’ll get hit with late fees. The method often varies greatly between rental companies. Many places will still have tenants mail or drop off a personal check. However, many landlords now utilize online portals for rent payment.

How Do You Pay Utilities?

You won’t have a good time if the utilities get shut off in your apartment. It’s essential you learn what is and what isn’t covered by the landlord. Many leases don’t include trash removal and water. You’ll need to find out which utility companies operate in your area and sign up with them directly.

Do You Need Renter’s Insurance?

Renter’s insurance is always a good idea. In fact, many landlords require their tenants get some form of renter’s insurance to protect against unforeseen damages to property. Get renters insurance quotes online to find the best policy for your needs.

Can You Break the Lease or Offer a Sublet?

Sometimes unexpected occurrences will require you to move, such as a career change or family issue. No matter the cause, you should check the procedures for ending your lease early if that’s necessary for any reason. And if that isn’t allowed by the landlord, you should check to see that they at least allow you to sublet.

Can You Alter the Walls?

Most people want to add a personal feel to their living space. This can involve painting the walls or putting up artwork. Both things will require you to alter the living space. Some landlords are not okay with this. Make sure you understand what you can and can’t do ahead of time. Otherwise, you might have a significant chunk taken out of your security deposit.

Are Pets Allowed?

Do you have a cat or a dog? Then you will need to check that they are allowed in your new apartment before signing the lease. It’s not uncommon for landlords to ban pets from the premises. That’s because pets can be messy, destructive or stinky. You may face heavy fines or eviction if your landlord discovers you have a pet against their will.

How Does Maintenance Work?

At some point, something is going to break in your apartment. When this happens, you’ll need to file a request with the maintenance team. It’s important you know how to do this before anything gets broken.

Sometimes you want to rush through things if you find an apartment that you really love. However, it’s a better idea to take things slow and ask these questions to the broker or landlord.