4 Things to Check Before Signing a Rental House Agreement

by Dusty Rhodes on Jun 15, 2022  in 
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You’ve searched high and low, looked at plenty of options, and finally found your ideal house. The next step is signing the lease. In the midst of all the excitement, it can be tempting to sign the lease and secure your new place. However, before you commit to the terms of the contract, you need to be certain you understand exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Even though it’s a temporary arrangement, you could still end up running into big problems if you don’t carefully consider your decision. Here are four important things you should check before signing a rental house agreement.

1. Who Is Responsible for Repairs and Maintenance?

An important item to look for in your rental agreement is who pays for what repairs. There may be certain clauses regarding these issues so you want to read and inquire about maintenance and repairs. For example, the landlord may be responsible for repairing a faulty sink but if you back up the toilet, that repair may fall on you. The same goes for yard maintenance. Some landlords take care of all yard maintenance while others require the tenant to do so. If there are other services that you want the landlord to provide, you have to be sure and negotiate those on the front end. These services might include things like lawn maintenance, pest control, repairs, and utilities.

2. Is the Property Condition Documented?

Before signing any lease agreement, it is important that any and all pre-existing conditions be documented. You should never sign a lease unless you are satisfied that the property is in good condition both inside and out. Most homebuyers hire a professional to do a home inspection prior to purchasing a home but this doesn’t always occur to renters. However, it can save you a ton of money and hassle on the front end to have an inspection done on the property. Even though you aren’t buying the property, you don’t want to be stuck shelling out thousands of dollars in rent for a place that is constantly having problems. You also don’t want to risk getting stuck paying for repairs. Your landlord should provide you with an itemized list of all appliances and components in the home and prove that they are in working order prior to occupancy.

3. Do You Understand the Rental Terms on the Lease?

You want to take the time to read through all of the rental terms so you know exactly what you are agreeing to. Make sure the rent price and all other information is accurately reflected on the lease. You want to pay close attention to things like rent price, lease dates, tenant names, landlord contact information, move-in fees or security deposits, rent due date, late fees, and utilities. Research shows that only 25% of tenants actually read the terms of their lease so don’t be part of that statistics. Remember, once you sign a lease, you are legally committed to the terms of the document.

4. Can the Lease be Terminated?

The last thing you might be thinking about is moving out when you haven’t even moved in, but it’s still important to know these important details should something come up. You need to check whether or not the lease can be terminated, how many months notice you need to provide, whether or not you will lose deposits, and what cleaning or maintenance responsibilities you will have upon termination of your lease. Knowing the lease termination details can help you be prepared should you need to break your lease for any reason.

Dusty Rhodes