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Important Questions to Ask Your Landlord

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Before signing the lease to that amazing new apartment you discovered, there are many things you need to learn about your potential home that can affect your finances — and your quality of life.

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Before signing the lease to that amazing new apartment you discovered, there are many things you need to learn about your potential home that can affect your finances — and your quality of life. Consider these questions to ask your potential new landlord before you sign the lease:How much is rent, and what does that include?
Sometimes certain utilities are included in the rent or other fees.

When is rent due, and how is it collected?
Sometimes landlords allow you to pay rent with a credit card or personal check, but others may require cash or a cashier’s check. If you’re late, landlords may strap you with fees or even dings on your credit.

What can you do to lower that amount?
Depending on the type of landlord, there may be things you can do to lower the rent. For example, shoveling snow and cutting grass may lower your rent. Some landlords may be receptive to negotiation while others, especially managed by a larger company, won’t be flexible at all.

What is the average cost of utilities?
If these utilities aren’t included, you’ll want to factor in how much they will cost you when figuring out which home is the best for your bank account. Ask the landlord what the average cost of each utility is.

What other fees will there be?
Other fees could include garbage pick up, pest control, property maintenance, parking and pet fees.

Can you terminate your lease?
If you wanted to leave your apartment before your lease is up, you need to know your options. You may be able to sublet your apartment or pay a fee to end your lease.

What is the laundry situation like?
If there is not a laundry room in your unit, find out if there is one on-site or nearby. Consider the cost and amount of hassle involved in doing your laundry.

What is security like?
Find out who has access to your building and who will have a key to your apartment. While you’re walking around, notice if there are lights outside for safety at night or any security cameras.

When do you change the locks?
Make sure that the locks are changed before you move in so past tenants don’t have a key.

What is the deal with maintaining the property?
Know what you are responsibilities are and what your landlord will be taking care of.

What is the application process like?
Depending on the residence, you may need to show proof of income, undergo a credit check and background check and pay an application fee.

What is due at the time you are signing your lease?
You may be required to pay a security deposit, first month’s rent, last month’s rent and even administrative fees.

Is there any construction projects planned for the building?
Ask ahead of time to prevent a surprise disturbance.

What condition are the appliances in?
Do an inspection of the appliances to see how they are running.

Are any amenities offered?
Having a gym or swimming pool on the premise can save you money on a fitness center membership.

Have there been any complaints about pests, mold or other unwanted apartment features?
If the answer is yes, find out what has been done to address these issues.

How long does it take to have something fixed?
Some landlords may guarantee your item is fixed in 24 or 48 hours. Find out what happens if something goes wrong in the middle of the night, such as a pipe bursting.

By getting these important questions out of the way before you move in, you’ll be ready for any extra surprises that may pop up.

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