What To Know Before Signing a Rental Lease

A person holding a pen about to sign a rental lease with a pair of key atop the agreement papers.With the price of housing at an all-time high, more people are becoming and staying renters. If you’re one of those people and you’ve found the perfect apartment for your lifestyle, it can be tempting to rush the agreement process and settle into your new home. However, it’s important you take some time to assess the situation and ask the landlord the right questions before moving in. Being informed protects you from any unwanted surprises down the road or from agreeing to an unfavorable contract. To help you out, we’re here to discuss what to know before signing a rental lease.

Prepare for Your Meeting with the Landlord

Before meeting with your landlord to sign your agreement, it’s important to take some initial steps to ensure you’re fully prepared:

Check Your Credit Score

Request an up-to-date credit report. Leasing agents and landlords often consider their potential tenant’s credit score before finalizing the rental deal. To save yourself any surprises – such as defaulting on a loan or any other items of concern – review your credit report before your meeting to ensure you can clear up any of the landlord’s reservations.

Review the Security Deposit and Renter Requirements

Evaluating your responsibilities and rights as a renter along with the security deposit can be tricky, but knowing this information before your meeting will help you identify any questions or discrepancies in the contract. Discussing these terms with your landlord is vital to ensure all parties agree on the rental lease.

Avoid Future Headaches by Asking the Right Questions

Signing a contract is a big deal, so it’s important to make sure you don’t have any lingering questions after penning your name. Some examples of questions you should ask your landlord include:

  • How is the Property Managed? If something goes awry, you should know who you need to contact to rectify the situation. It’s important to understand the roles the landlord plays vs. the property manager.
  • How Much Notice Will I Have Before You Enter My Unit? Rental leases come with a Right of Entry clause, which permits your landlord to enter your unit. The recommended warning time is 24 hours, but your state may have unique legal requirements.
  • Are There Noise Restrictions? Having to deal with a noisy neighbor can be frustrating. Ask your landlord if there’s a clause in the lease addressing disruptive behavior.
  • Are Pets Allowed? If you have or plan to get a pet, you should ensure there is no clause prohibiting them. Alternatively, if you have allergies to animals, it’s important to ask if pets are allowed in the building.

Also pertinent to know is the length of the rental agreement and your renewal options. Landlords may automatically increase rent at the end of the lease, so it’s also wise to ask if the landlord offers month-to-month tenancy once your lease is up.

Is Renters Insurance Required Before Signing a Rental Lease?

It’s common nowadays for landlords to require renters insurance from tenants, and in some cases, landlords may reduce your rent if you have a policy. You will need to provide proof of insurance in this case. Many property managers have a default insurer, but it pays to look around to find the best one to fit your needs and budget. Fortunately, you can choose when your policy starts, whether it be immediately or three months from now.

Taking steps to prepare yourself before signing a rental lease can prevent you from mistakenly agreeing to an unsatisfactory contract. The last thing you want to do is sign onto a 12-month lease, only to realize you’re unhappy about the living conditions. At TJ Woods Insurance, our agents are well-versed in the intricacies of rental properties and can help you secure the best renters insurance for your lifestyle. If you need help protecting the belongings in your new home, contact us today.