What is the rent amount and what is included in the rent?

Top Questions to Ask Your Landlord

women discussing rent amountSo you found the perfect new apartment to lease – you have the date that you are to be out of your current apartment AND you have scheduled the movers but…. What if your rental is not ready or there are potential time delays for the entire property?  Any potential improvement by a Landlord that will affect a future lease needs to be fully detailed prior to the Tenant signing the new lease.  When a Tenant prepares for and moves in to a new Apartment or home, they need to know that the space is fully functional and their lives will not be disrupted by future changes.  If the Landlord knows in advance that modifications and improvements are scheduled on the Building or the parking area or even the Work-Out Center or Pool, and those improvements will affect the parking spaces or use of the advertised facilities, complete plans and specifications for those improvements should be fully detailed and attached to the Lease showing the Layout of the plans prior to signing and a time-frame of when the work is to be complete.

How exciting is it when you have finally graduated and the day is here where you can find a place of your own to live in?  Imagine the fun you will have searching for that perfect new home to rent.  How many bedrooms do you think you will need?  Will you want to find a roommate?  It must have a pool and work out facility.  With all these new ‘needs’ that you will have in your life, it is important that you find a place that you will be happy in.  Once you have done your research, it is time to talk to a potential Landlord. This is the point where it is important that you ask the right questions.

Prior to making your final decision and way before ever signing a lease contract, you will need to find out some very important facts and be ready to negotiate on details and amenities that you might think you will want in your new place.  Remember that a Lease is much more than just a piece of paper that you will NEED to sign to get your “perfect” new home.  It is a legally binding contract that is designed to protect the Landlord and you as the Tenant.

The first important detail that most Tenants will want to know is how much the rent is going to be.  Can you afford the place?  There’s always the possibility of adding that roommate but regardless, prior to even setting your heart on your first new home, you must determine if it is affordable.   Most landlords will advertise a certain price on their rentals to bring in new potential tenants.  Always make sure that the monthly rent amount is at least what is advertised, if not, be prepared to show where you saw the advertisement and speak up about the discrepancy.  In some larger apartment complexes, during certain times of the year (mainly when students are moving out and Landlords are looking for tenants to take their units); the monthly rent amount can fluctuate throughout a certain time-slot.  Question the landlord on the pricing and if the overall rental amount may reduce before you agree to a set price.

Along with a monthly payment of rent, you will be required to pay for your own Utilities, which will affect the overall cost of the rental.  Certain types of utilities are sometimes are set up by the landlord, however, that doesn’t mean that the landlord is going to cover your cost.  Be sure to find out exactly which utilities you will be billed for by the landlord and the average amount of that bill.  Those expenses may include a water fee, trash pickup, etc.  In the majority of the cases, you are responsible for setting up new place with a Utility Company and most times with a Cable Company.  Does the building provide Wi-Fi?  If not, as a student, you will definitely require that for your studies so you will need to factor in that cost.  You can question the landlord regarding what the average Electric bills would be; however, it is dependent on the location of the unit and the household.  Meaning, if your home or apartment is in the direct sun during the hottest part of the day with little or no shade, your Utility bill will be higher.  Also, if you are not mindful and leave your lights throughout the day, or crank up the AC, your will possibly be higher than the previous tenant.

Rental areas are required to provide parking for their paying tenants.  That may not, however, include covered parking or even a designated parting slot for your rental location.  It is important to find out the provided parking areas and what additional cost there would be if you determine that you want a covered area.  That can be really beneficial if you live in a state that remains at 90 to 100 degrees throughout a long period of time or a state that has frigid temperatures where you have to deal with preparing your automobile before you can rush off to school or work.  Other information concerning parking to ask is what type of parking is available for guests and if there is a ‘towing’ policy for those that do not follow the parking requirements.  You wouldn’t want your bestie to come visit you in your awesome new place just to have their car towed.

As exciting as it is to find your new home in the perfect location close to work or school at the perfect price, it is so very important to talk to your potential new landlord and know this information way before sitting down with them to sign a contract that you will be legally held in for a year or so.  Be smart!  Ask questions!  Don’t make any decisions until you have all the facts.  You will be much happier in your new home if there are no surprise charges.