Here are some quick and easy questions to ask the landlord before signing the lease that can save you a lot of headache later.
1. What are the penalties for terminating the lease early? Don’t assume that you will only lose your security deposit. I once rented an apartment where if you ended the lease prior to its end date, you were responsible for finding a qualified tenant to sublet the apartment or be responsible for paying the rent for the remainder of the lease.
2. Will the landlord have access to the apartment when you are not present? When repairs are needed the landlord, or his or her representative will need to enter the property. If you are uncomfortable with that you may want to include in your lease agreement that you be present or given a 48 hour notice.
3. Are there any repairs the tenant is responsible for? According to WORLD Law Direct, “landlords must repair problems that make a rental unit unfit to live in, or “uninhabitable.” Before renting a unit, a landlord must make the rental unit fit to live in, or “habitable.” Additionally, while the unit is being rented, the landlord must do maintenance work and make repairs which are necessary to keep the unit livable. However, a landlord is not responsible for repairing damages which were caused by the tenant or the tenant’s family, guests or pets.”
4. Is the apartment smoking or non-smoking? If you are a smoker you want to know if you can freely smoke in your residence. It also will affect you if you are not a smoker. I once lived in a place where the neighbor smoked and the smoke entered my unit through the ventilation system. This made it difficult for me to sleep or enjoy my apartment. The landlord is not responsible for another tenants legal behavior, no matter how irritating it may be to you, and currently there is no law against smoking in a private residence. If this is a problem for you, it is best to ask before you sign the lease.
5. Is noise a problem? Unfortunately, I didn’t find this one out until after I moved in. Every morning the garbage truck picked up the dumpster on the road not far from my window. Fortunately, earplugs did the trick. But if you ask the landlord, he or she may be able to tell you the noise level of the neighbors and activities outside.
While this list does not address every issue, it is a start in helping you think of the type of living environment you want prior to signing the lease. Happy renting.
Source: personal experience, World Law Direct