10 Questions to ask a landlord before you sign a lease
This list is timely for me as I'm looking to sign a lease soon! Here are some questions I've been asking about.
1. What are the conditions of the deposit, and what do I need to do to get it back in full?
I want to make sure the deposit is held in escrow, in an interest-earning account.
2. Will we do a walkthrough together to verify the state of the apartment upon move-in?
This was a critical and unavoidable part of moving in anywhere in France, where I used to live, but I've come to realize that many landlords don't do a walkthrough upon move-in. I always make sure to take a video of the state of the apartment and email it to my landlord on the first day we get there, specifically highlighting existing damage, to protect myself.
3. What utilities are included in the lease, and what do I have to pay for myself?
Most places I've visited include gas and water, but not much else. It would be the dream to find a place with heat and electric included.
4. Any other fees that will be added on top of my lease?
E.g. a broker's fee. The worst and sneakiest fee because it's often a significant sum that isn't disclosed early-on in the rental process.
5. Is additional storage available somewhere else in the building if we need it?
6. What's the process for paying rent?
When do I need to pay rent, and in what way? The worst would be to have to pay in-person or, *shudder*, by check.
7. What's the best way to get in touch with you?
And how often do you like to communicate? I always prefer over-communicating with my landlord vs. under-communicating.
8. Where's the nearest [pizza restaurant; grocery store; CVS; etc]?
9. Is there parking? Is it included?
This is hard in cities.
10. Have you heard of our Lord and Savior...
Kidding, obviously. Probably a bad idea to proselytize your landlord from the get-go.