5 Questions Every Renter Should Ask
What Tenants Need to Know Before Signing a Lease
It’s exciting to finally find a place that ticks every box in your rental unit wishlist – convenient, spacious, great fixtures, a good neighborhood, and so on.
At this point, a renter may have already obtained basic information about the unit, such as monthly rent and utilities, security deposit, and neighborhood amenities. But before paying that reservation fee or signing the lease, you as a future tenant, should take a step back and find out some of the other details that can cause conflict and misunderstandings in the future.
Here are important questions renters should clarify with their landlord or property manager before entering into a lease agreement.
- “How many people can live here, and what’s the visitor policy?”
- “What’s the pet policy?”
- “How many days’ notice will I be given before a landlord enters my rental space?”
- “Is the security deposit refundable?”
- “What are the consequences for moving out early or breaking the lease?”
Renters who have a large family or are planning to live with roommates should know the number of people that are allowed to occupy the rental property. This is to ensure compliance to tenant occupancy standards. For example, in Texas, property management specialists and landlords can only allow a maximum of three adults in a one-bedroom house or apartment.
For renters who have frequent or long-term guests staying in their unit, ask about the guest policy. This is especially important if you’re renting in a condominium or apartment building, as these properties often have security regulations when it comes to receiving guests.
When shopping for rental units, ask about the pet policy. Take note of any restrictions in the kind of pets allowed, as well as the breed and weight of the pet. Some landlords and management companies may charge a pet deposit, a pet fee, or monthly pet rental fee as part of the lease agreement.
This is an important question both the landlord and renter should agree on. The lease agreement should indicate the list of reasons when a landlord can enter the property to protect tenant privacy.
Landlords or property managers may need to enter your rental unit when performing inspections or making repairs. In such cases, it’s recommended for landlords to give their tenants at least 24 hours’ notice.
Security deposits are generally refundable if the renter does not break the terms of the lease and there is no damage to the unit.
Before signing the lease and moving in, renters should ask about the conditions for returning the security deposit – when it will be returned, what kinds of damages the deposit will be used for (vs. damage repairs that should be shouldered by the landlord), and other fees that might be deducted from it.
The consequences for breaking a lease vary depending on state laws and the individual landlord or property manager. In Texas, if a renter ends the lease for any reason other than the ones listed on the Statutory Rights to Terminate a Lease, the penalty may include forfeiting their security deposit. The landlord or property manager may also demand paying several months of rent or a percentage of the amount of rent left in the lease term.
Renters need to ask and understand what will happen if they need to move out sooner than anticipated. They may negotiate with the landlord or property manager about the associated penalties and indicate the adjusted terms in the lease agreement.
Finding the right rental unit in College Station, TX
Searching for the right house or apartment to rent takes time and patience. You may need to check out more than a few rentals and negotiate with their landlords before you end up with a rental you’re happy with.
Renters can fast track the process by working with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Caliber Realty, an award-winning brokerage firm specializing in real estate buying and selling as well as property management in College Station, TX. With the help of experienced agents, renters can find their “perfect match” much faster.
Call Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Caliber Realty today at 979.694.8844 or send an email to learn more.