You’ve searched hundreds of places online, looked at a few of them in person, negotiated with the landlord, and got all your documents together. However, once you’re at the finish line and ready to put pen to paper, stop for a second.
Upon signing a lease, you should be aware of everything revolving around the terms of your new home. What happens if you break the lease? What are the utility costs that are included in the rent? Will maintenance be taken care of? There’s a lot to keep track of, especially if you don’t have an expert agent in your corner. This guide will help you determine what to ask before signing on the dotted line.
What Are the Lease Terms?
Even though lease terms are pretty standard for most rentals in New York City, there are some that differ.
Firstly, make sure you find out what happens if you break the lease. Some landlords might keep your security deposit or charge you for rent, even though you’ve moved out already.
Obviously, most of us don’t plan on breaking our lease in the first place, but you never know when life could throw you a curveball. You might have to move out early because of professional or personal reasons. Knowing what will happen if that’s the case is essential.
What’s Included in the Rent?
Rent is not the only expense that’s going to leave your account every month. Gas, electricity, and WiFi are just a few examples of charges that are not accounted for in your monthly rent.
Make sure you’re aware of every single fee that needs to be paid. Nobody likes a surprise and if you have a very specific budget, calculating the grand total of rent plus expenses should be your number one priority.
How Can You Get Your Security Deposit Back?
You know that scene in How I Met Your Mother when Marshall reminds Ted of all the damage he’s done to their shared apartment and points out that there’s no way they’re getting their security deposit back? That doesn’t have to happen to you.
As a rule of thumb, landlords will want to see the apartment in the same condition it was when you first moved in. The only exception to this are regular signs of use that just happen over time.
However, read the lease agreement closely and make sure you didn’t miss anything. This is particularly important if you plan on doing some renovations in your new home. Some landlords will either forbid you to do so altogether, or they’ll ask you to return the apartment to its original condition when you move out.
Are Pets Allowed?
In many buildings, pet policies are strict. Luckily, the majority of listings include information on whether or not pets are allowed as roommates.
Even if your new landlord isn’t very fond of pets, you’ve still got a chance of taking Fluffy with you. Negotiate with the owner and offer to pay a special deposit for your pet.
The main reason why some landlords prefer tenants without pets is that pets can cause damage to the apartment. By putting down an extra deposit, your landlord will feel better about the pet situation.
Whatever you do, don’t try to sneak your pet in! If the apartment owner finds out, you could be evicted.
How is Maintenance Handled?
Like with many things, you start appreciating good maintenance once you don’t have it anymore. When your faucet leaks or you can only take a shower with freezing cold water in the middle of winter, you want to have an expert who can help you at short notice. That’s why on-site maintenance support is so valuable.
It’s also worth it to follow up your initial question about maintenance by inquiring about more details. For instance, what exactly is included in the maintenance service and how long does it usually take to fix an issue?
Follow the tips above (or hire an expert Triplemint agent who can do all of this for you) and you’ll be ready to sign on the dotted line!