Most people know there are questions you should ask about an apartment/home rental property … but are there questions you should not ask about a rental property? This article-written by an author who’s also a landlord-lists 5 questions not to ask when checking out a rental.
1. How much is the late fee if I don’t pay on time?
People who pay on time generally are not concerned about the late fee, and asking this question leads the landlord to wonder if the potential renter is reliable. The late fee information is usually included in the rental property contract, and can be found later by reading through it before signing on the dotted line. This question is a major one on the list of 5 questions not to ask when talking with the owner about a rental property.
2. Can I move in tomorrow?
Think about it for a minute. Doesn’t the landlord need time to check references, previous rental history, and other important information? If a renter’s in such a big hurry, won’t the owner wonder why? One of the first things that might come to mind for the property owner is that the prospective renter is short on finances and may be close to eviction. On the other hand, if he’s not close to eviction but waited until the last day of his current contract to look for a new rental property, it may indicate a tendency toward procrastination.
3. There’s a no-smoking policy but I only smoke outside, so will you rent to me?
It’s possible that a potential renter only smokes outside, but it’s not very probable. When a smoker wakes up in the middle of the night, in the dead of winter, he’s not usually inclined to go outside in the snow to smoke. Most likely he’ll step into the bathroom and open the window before indulging. And even if he does partake of a cigarette outside, his clothes carry the scent inside and a non-smoking landlord can smell it every time. This question will definitely raise a red flag-if there’s a no-smoking policy, the potential renter is better off looking elsewhere for a rental property.
4. Is it okay if we change the wallpaper and paint the walls a different color?
This seems like an innocent enough question on a rental property, and one may wonder why it’s on the list of top 5 questions not to ask about a rental. Here’s why it’s a problem … the owner doesn’t know the new renter and has no clue as to what his remodeling skills are. The last thing the owner wants is for the renter to paint with outrageous colors or to hang new wallpaper that’s so crooked, the owner has to call in a professional to strip it. The question raises a red flag unless asked this way, “After we’ve been renting for a few months, will it be all right if we paint or put up wallpaper? We’ll be sure to get your approval first.”
5. Even though pets aren’t allowed, can I rent anyway? My dog never has an accident.
Of all the statements to make, that one is the least logical and the most annoying. Really now, what dog never has an accident? Or never throws up on the living room carpet after eating five-day-old roadkill? There is more than one kind of “accident” that the renter’s Sweet Foo-Foo can have on that beautiful Milliken carpet that’s in the living room. Unless the renter plans on keeping a dead animal as a pet (eeewww!), there’s no way to guarantee a lack of accidents. Better questions to ask are, “Is an outdoor pet allowed? Or, would you agree to a pet deposit or a small increase in the rent?”
Of course, you’re intelligent and by now you’ve thought of a slew of questions on your own that you shouldn’t ask, and a few that you should. Before you talk to the property owner, write down the questions you should ask, and have them handy when you make the phone call that might eventually move you into your perfect rental property.
More how-to articles by this author:
How-to Rental: The Top 5 Questions to Ask Before Renting a Property
How to Use Color and Background Pattern to Increase Website Traffic
How to Make Homemade Waterless Hand Sanitizer
Embedded links as listed above.
Personal experience as a landlord.