Your lease is a legally binding document so you must fully understand all the details before you sign on the dotted line. Even if you think you understand it all, always check with your landlord or real estate agent to make sure you have no niggling little doubts in the back of your mind about some aspect of it. Don’t ignore the doubts, make sure you’re happy with it.   

Here are some handy tips on how to ask open-ended questions that should assist you in comprehending your lease agreement:

What is Included in My Agreement?

There are some properties that include electricity, gas, and water in the rent payments, but the majority don’t do this unless they’re granny flats without a separate meter box. These places use the utilities attached to the main house and working out what you’ve used would be difficult. Sometimes a lease will include garden maintenance. Leases have no set standard for leases, so always ask the agent or landlord which bill you will need to pay.

A nice park is a good thing to have, even in the colder months!

Does the Landlord Allow Me to have Pets or Children?

This is probably the first question to ask. In some leases, every person over a certain age who will be living in the property will have to be included on the lease and some have very strict ‘No’ policies around pets. Others will allow pets and children but will want to know the size and breed if it’s a dog, and you will be responsible for any damage caused by your children or pet. Some landlords only need one person’s name and details on the lease. If you’re considering having children or more children, it’s always good to inform your agent or landlord or ask if it is allowable.

What if my Rental needs Maintenance?

Most managing agents and landlords use a preferred repair person or contractor to call in an emergency and will get quotes but always ask beforehand to make sure you know what will happen if your rental needs maintenance.

How do you check my History as a Tentant?

Real estate agents managing rental properties have a responsibility to their clients to check your tenancy history and a cluey landlord will do the same to protect the investment. If you personally check out the rental property it will be the first step in assessing whether you will be suitable or not. You can ask your agent or landlord if they use a credit checking system to find out if you’ve ever breached a lease or been evicted from a rental. You can check it yourself on any of the online agencies.

Will I need Contents Insurance?

Yes. To protect their investment property, landlords will only generally have home insurance to cover the house or flat itself, but not your contents, so you will need to take out that kind of cover if you want to protect your belongings.

How Long is the Lease?

Most landlords like long leases with good tenants, especially if they took out an investment loan and need to pay the mortgage on it. So if your landlord wants to keep tenants for two years, but you only want a 12-month lease, tell the agent or landlord first up. If you’re honest, it will put you in good standing if they still want to reconsider your application.

What if I fall behind on the Rent?

Your agent or landlord will probably let you know what will happen if you don’t pay your rent on time and will provide you with a clear outline of their policy with regard to rental arrears. If you have to ask this question it might not be a good idea or you’ll be seen as a bit of a worry if they’re looking for a tenant who can always pay on time.

What Payment Methods do you Accept?

Most agents and landlords accept online payments and make it easy for you to pay your rent regularly. Always ask how they want you to pay it, however, and remember they like direct debit payments or bank transfers for the convenience and security of both you and the landlord.

the lease and some have very strict ‘No’ policies around pets. Others will allow pets and children but will want to know the size and breed if it’s a dog, and you will be responsible for any damage caused by your children or pet. Some landlords only need one person’s name and details on the lease. If you’re considering having children or more children, it’s always good to inform your agent or landlord or ask if it is allowable.

Authored by Alex Morrison from Intergral Media

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