It’s time to sign your rental agreement, and you’re either excited or nervous. Whatever the case may be, don’t be too eager to pick up the pen and sign. The house itself may seem wonderful and fit nicely within your budget, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to renting a home.
- The Neighborhood
Of course this seems obvious, but how in-depth was your research of the neighborhood? You’ll want to know what you have easy access to. This includes the distance to your preferred grocery store, the school district, the local colleges, and your closest hospital. If there’s active nightlife nearby, is the booming bass going to keep you up all night? Investigate the neighborhood from all angles, not just the surface.
- Make Sure the Price is Right
It may be within your budget, but what are other people in that neighborhood paying for similar houses? Check out the situation on sites like Gumtree. Make sure you’re actually paying a fair price for the house you’re getting. You don’t want to be paying 25% more than what someone in a similar house on the next street is paying.
- Inspect Your Appliances
Do a check of the “white goods” – the refrigerator, dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, and stove. You’ll be responsible for any damages these appliances may experience during your lease. If there are any damages before you move in, you need to photograph them and acknowledge them with your future landlord to make sure you aren’t held accountable for someone else’s mistake. While you’re at it, check your water pressure. If it’s weak, that’s a talking point.
- Don’t Pay to Paint and Clean Yourself
Before you move in, you can request that the landlord takes care of these things. If everything needs a new coat of paint, now’s the time to mention that. Carpets may need to be steam cleaned, and floors may need to be polished. These things will get your house ready for your arrival, and you deserve to start in a fresh, clean house. Do this before you sign the lease to make sure it’s actually done on time.
- Negotiate If Necessary
If there’s anything in your lease that’s worded loosely, make sure it’s clarified. If you feel terms are unfair, talk with the landlord. Discuss these points beforehand. Don’t sign based on word of mouth that your requests have been acknowledged, because if you need to prove these things later, they aren’t part of the record. Make sure you agree with everything on the paper first.
- Clarify Where Your Deposit is Going
Your deposit should not be going into your landlord’s pocket. Your landlord is required to keep this money protected, where it will continue to belong to you unless you fail to uphold your end of the deal. Be aware of your rights as a tenant. Though you cannot access it until the end of the lease, that money is still yours. If your landlord doesn’t protect your deposit within a specified time limit, they have to return it to you. In some cases, they’ll have to release up to three times the amount of your deposit.
By: Cindy Boesel works at BizStats.co.uk. She is interested in the British startups scene and the ways mobile is changing business globally.