Renting a property is a big financial commitment. From purchasing furniture to paying a deposit, there’s more to renting than just coughing up your rental fee. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, make sure to ask your landlord these important questions before you sign off on the lease.
“May I see your certifications?”
Landlords are only allowed to put their properties up for rent if they’ve acquired all the mandatory certifications which verify that the property is safe for occupancy. Make sure to ask to see a copy of the electrical inspection report, energy performance certificate, and gas safety certificate. If they don’t have it that very moment, make sure to follow up with them through email before you commit to anything.
“How much are utilities? Are they included in the rent?”
Some landlords choose to already combine utility bills with the rental fee. Asking how much an average utility bill usually amounts to and if they’re included in the rental fee will give you a more accurate picture of how much you’ll actually be spending per month.
“Who manages the property? Who is my main point of contact?”
Landlords may either handle the daily operations of the property themselves or hire a property manager to oversee these tasks for them. Ask your manager who is in charge of the property, and who you should contact in case something goes wrong. Don’t forget to get their contact details, as well.
“How much is the council tax?”
Certain landlords may require you to pay council tax. If they do, ask how much you’re required to pay annually. This is important since these fees vary depending on your location. In case your landlord doesn’t know exactly how much it costs, you can always contact your local council to ask or visit their website.
“How much is the holding deposit? What are the stipulations?”
Holding deposits serve as your reservation fee that proves that you’re serious about renting out the property. It also helps your landlord cover the cost of damages that you’re responsible for. This fee is usually paid up-front and costs anywhere from one week to a full month’s rent. It’s refundable either once you move into the property, or when you move out if your landlord finds that you left the property in good condition. Otherwise, you need to ask what circumstances would nullify the ability to refund the deposit.
“What is the neighborhood like?”
It’s always a good idea to ask what the neighborhood is like and who your neighbors are. Some landlords may even offer to take you around the nearby vicinity to show you what amenities there are.
“When is the due date for rent? How will it be paid?”
Rent due dates depend on the landlord. You should ask them when rent is due beforehand so you can plan accordingly, taking your payday into account. Don’t forget to ask what your landlord’s preferred method of payment is, whether they want to be paid in cash or cheque.
Get as much information as you can before signing your name on the dotted line. Making a hasty decision when it comes to renting could end up costing you, so it pays to be a smart tenant.