Landlords have shown their house or set of apartments many times over – they know what they’re doing. Do you? If this isn’t your 30th time searching and looking at rental homes, (at least, we hope it’s not) then you are probably missing a few key questions you should be asking your potential landlords. It doesn’t hurt to be thorough in your questions – your hard-earned money should not be taken lightly! Check off this list before ever signing your rental contract:
- Noise: One of the biggest complaints about rentals are the thin walls. If the property is sitting right next to a major highway, make sure you can’t hear each car that passes or swerves to miss a possum. You should not be able to hear every single word the person next door is saying on the phone to Uncle Jim, either.
- Look for cracks. Cracks in the foundation or on important beams within the rental could mean that the property is not up to code. If you see these, it probably means the landlord is skipping out on other safety protocols.
- Always be on the lookout for mice, roaches, and spiders on the inside of the rental, as well as moles or snakes on the outside. If you do see pests inside the house or apartment, immediately ask how often the place is inspected (if at all). While you may not actively see snakes or moles on the outside, you can look for tell-tale signs of them – soft spots in the ground, large firewood piles for snakes to hide in, etc.
- This might seem a little trivial, but you will want to know if you can hook up your TV to a certain spot in the living room, or where you can plug in your toaster. While some places seem to have an overabundance of outlets, others will have the bare minimum. With how important technology is today, outlets can be incredibly important.
- AC/Furnace. Make sure you ask when the air conditioning/furnace has been serviced last – ideally, it will have been checked every year by a professional to insure it is running properly.
- Feel for any air movement within the rental – this could mean the windows are not sealed properly or they have been damaged by previous tenants. This leaks also mean higher utility bills for you.
- If the apartment complex you are considering has 200 tenants and only 100 parking spots available, where can you park? If you will have to park a long distance away, consider if you are willing to walk that amount in the dark when you get home from work at night.
- Before meeting the landlord to tour the apartment or house, drive around the neighborhood. It doesn’t hurt to see what other homes and businesses are around, and will help you get a feel for the type of people that live there.
- With how much the internet has taken over real estate, it’s really just a click away that you can see exactly what other people think about your potential rental. Especially with apartments, search for what previous tenants have to praise and complain about. It also doesn’t hurt to ask friends if they have heard anything about it as well.
- Have there been any burglaries or robberies in the area recently? Do people feel safe walking in from their cars? To check this out, you can call your local police station for more information.
If you decide that your potential rental passes this checklist and go on to the contract phase, we have one last tip for you: Always read the fine print – shady landlords can sometimes sneak in extra fees without properly going over them with you. A trustworthy landlord will explain a rental contract line by line and answer any extra questions you have. However, never be afraid to tell a landlord no. The ultimate decision to rent is up to you and no one else!
C.A.B. Group is a professional property management company that offers tenants a wide selection of rental options in one place. With rentals throughout the New Jersey, New York City, and Philadelphia areas, you have more choices in location and can check off each line of this checklist! To check out our available listings, click here: /available-properties/.