Speaking from experience – hunting for a new nest is stressful, and you don’t want any surprises after you’re settled. Here are some simple questions you may not have thought of to ask the landlord, before signing the lease.
1. Are there any safety or health concerns?
Besides scoping the neighborhood, it’s important to keep your health safe as well! If you don’t plan on buying bottled water forever, make sure the tap water is safe to drink. If you’re looking to move to a damp area or one close to water, make sure there has never been an issue with mold or mildew. These may be awkward questions to ask upfront, but you’ll be glad you did.
2. How many tenants have lived here over the past few years?
A typical lease is one year. If there have been many tenants within the last few years, there may be a reason why. You don’t want to be wondering why you’re receiving junk mail for 40 different people. If the last tenants were around for awhile, chances are, they were pretty happy there!
3. What are the terms of breaking my lease?
In the unlikely event you may have to break your lease, it is good to know the terms. Will you be responsible for the rest of the lease? This may also vary by state and is worth looking into. You never know when a big life event may require you to unexpectedly move.
4. Can you tell me about the neighbors?
You don’t need to know specifics, but it is good to get an idea of what the neighbors are like. You don’t want to settle in your first week and find the wild group of frat boys above you got back from summer vacation. If you’re renting a house or moving into a rural area, find out if the neighbors live there year round. Ask if the previous tenants ever had any complaints.
5. How much is the average utility bill?
If utilities are not included, you’re going to want to know how much you’ll be paying each month. This is especially important if you’ll be using electric heat and air conditioning. The landlord may even reach out to the previous tenants to ask how much their average cost was. Check to see if appliances are energy efficient, or when they were last replaced.
Happy hunting !!