By Sameer S Panjwani
Apartment hunting is not the easiest thing around. You may find places not suited to your tastes or those which do are not to your budget. Eventually, you may have to settle for something a little less than perfect or if you’re lucky, you may just find a home you love. However, before you finalise on the apartment, there are a few questions you need to ask the landlord so that there is no reason for disagreement later on during the lease period. In fact, some of the points mentioned below may also be included in the agreement for your safety so that the landlord doesn’t go back on his word.
When will the unit be available for occupation? If it’s ready to occupy and it’s impractical for you to move in immediately, you may have to negotiate with the landlord so that you don’t pay for unoccupied time.
How much is the rent payable and when is it due every month? How much is the security deposit and is it fully refundable?
Is there a penalty fee for late payment of the rent?
What are the terms for renewing the lease?
Are pets allowed and if not, would it be possible to have pets if you paid a pet deposit? If a pet-deposit policy is in place, is it refundable if there’s no damage caused to be found when you move out?
What are the conditions if you have to move out before the lease expires? Even if you may think you won’t have to move out for a long time, it’s better to keep your options safe and negotiate secure terms should you need to move out earlier than the expiry of the lease period.
Are any utilities included in your agreement? What are typical bill amounts in different seasons?
Are you allowed to share your unit with roommates and what is the policy on subletting the place?
Can you paint the walls or make other decorating changes?
Are you allowed to run a home business from your apartment?
Who will be responsible for property maintenance?
Who are your neighbours?
How close is the nearest post office, grocery store, bank, restaurant and public transportation?
Asking these questions only avoids any cause for disagreement in the future between you and your landlord.