Renting a house is a great a way to live affordably and it’s even better if you split the costs with a few housemates. However, it’s important to ask the right questions before signing a lease. Renting houses takes practice and can often mean learning from costly mistakes. Avoid falling into the traps that come with being an inexperienced renter by asking these seven questions before signing a lease.
1. Can I take the lease home and read it properly before signing it?
If you’ve been approved for a house that you’ve applied for, it’s fine to ask for a day or two to properly look over the lease and make sure the terms are reasonable.
Be prompt about it, but make sure you read over it carefully and have a trusted friend look at it too. This will stop you from signing on the dotted line of dodgy lease.
2. Is this a typical amount to pay for a rental property in this suburb?
This is more a question you should be asking before you apply for the house but if you suspect that there’s something a bit off with amount that you’re paying, it’s a good idea to question it now.
Pools may sound like a nice idea, but they will cost you more.
Also be wary of additional ‘extras’. The advertised price of the property and what you actually end up paying each month can sometimes differ so make sure you stay on top of it and question anything that doesn’t seem right.
3. Can we have an official lease drawn up?
If a landlord tries to have you move in to their property without a proper lease, you should definitely be questioning this. It’s important the agreement be documented on paper and signed by both parties, so make sure you ask this question and follow through with having your request granted.
4. Is this a safe area to live in?
Make sure you do your research on the exact location of the property before you start moving your stuff in.
Do an internet search of the area and have a look at surrounding business and houses. You don’t want to find out about that hidden rave club under your building that keeps you awake all night after you’ve signed a 12-month lease.
5. Can we organise an inspection for my housemate?
It can be difficult to get everyone to a rental property inspection at the same time but it’s important that everyone who is moving into the house sees it before they move in.
You need to make sure that everyone is happy before you sign the lease and if that means arranging an extra viewing with the real estate agent, it’s important to ask the question and make it happen.
6. Can you please fix this problem with the property?
If there is a problem you’ve noticed you need to ask the landlord to fix it immediately.
Never hesitate to ask for repairs on a house that you’re renting. It’s in the landlord’s best interest to stay on top of home maintenance repairs, as they can get worse over time without action.
7. Can you wait for a moment while I document this?
If the real estate agent or landlord is giving you a tour of the home and they’re pointing out things that will be fixed by the time you move in, take the time to stop and document the problem by taking notes and a photo.
Paper trails are incredibly important when you’re renting a house so be sure to keep a file of house related documents.