5 Must-Dos Before Renting A Home
Be it a house, an apartment or a condo unit, get the lowdown on the property before signing a contract
Much like buying a car or getting a new job, renting a home is a big decision that can make your life turn 360-degrees. From finding a comfortable space where you can eat or sleep, to the distance from your work or school and where you shop or do recreational activities, it affects every aspect of your lifestyle.
Before making up your mind about a place, remember to do your homework as a renter—after all, it can be very difficult to cancel a lease once you've signed it. Here's a list of things you can do to help you make the right choice:
1. Study the area.
Before moving in, take a stroll around the vicinity or drive around within a 10-block radius. Is it near a hospital? Are supply stores—pharmacy, supermarket or hardware—within walking distance? Is it close to bars and restaurants? If so, is it a noisy part of town? It's not up to the landlord to check the surroundings so make sure to allot a day to do it before you agree to anything.
2. If you share space with pets, let the landlord know in advance.
Save yourself the trouble of falling in love with a property, making arrangements to move in and then having to look for a new place because you didn't tell the landlord about your furry friends. If the homeowner doesn't allow pets, start looking for new prospects—a breach of tenancy can lead to conflict or worse, eviction.
3. Inquire about repair.
If the walls of the house are looking a little tired or there are minor leaks in the pipes, you can ask the landlord about the terms and conditions of renovation. Most of the time, they work on the repairs before letting anyone settle in. Just remember to check that everything is done before you sign the tenancy agreement or issue cheques of payment.
4. Don't be afraid to negotiate.
If there are clauses in the contract that you're not happy with, don't hesitate to challenge your landlord to tweak or change it. It is very important that you're both confident and comfortable with the terms of tenancy to avoid disputes in the future.
5. Ask for everything in writing.
Whatever it is, as long as it is for your security as a tenant, you can ask for a printed and signed copy. This includes the tenancy agreement, landlord information, agent information (if any), gas safety certificate, and emergency numbers.
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