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If you’re about to start looking for a house for rent because you’ve either outgrown your apartment or you’re moving out of your parents’ home, you are probably very excited as renting a house offers so much more than apartment living. But before you rush out and sign a lease, here are four important questions you should ask every prospective landlord.
Are Utilities Included in the Rent?
Before signing your name on a contract, ask if the utilities are included in the rent. If they are not, then ask what types are used such as natural gas, oil or electric heating. Then find out what the average costs are for the utilities. In addition to paying rent every month, you must be sure that you have enough money to cover the monthly utility bills including TV and internet fees.
What does the Tenant Background Check Consist Of?
While most landlords do check the backgrounds of prospective tenants, there are laws in every state governing what can be checked and what can’t. This is why you should ask a landlord what his or her background check consists of. You should know that all three of the national credit bureaus in the US offer “tenant reports” to landlords. A tenant report is a lot like a credit report as it contains credit information. However, a tenant report also can include your criminal history background, driving record, employment history, entries on sex offender lists and more. And, it could even contain information obtained via personal interviews with your neighbors and former landlords. If you do not like what the tenant background check consists of a particular landlord uses, then simply don’t proceed in trying to rent from that person.
What is Allowed and What Isn’t
Before you rent a house, you should ask some important questions like if you can have a pet or whether or not smoking is allowed in the house. You should also ask the landlord if you can make changes in the house like painting rooms. It’s also a good idea to ask what the policy is for long-term visitors and whether or not it’s allowed for you to do some general maintenance work around the house yourself such as fix leaking pipes. The goal is to be very clear on the property rules before renting. Don’t forget to ask who is responsible for cutting the grass and the general upkeep of the property outside the home.
What Types of Security Systems are Used
When you live in a house, you want to be very sure that good locks are used on the doors and windows (if necessary) so ask the landlord if good quality locks are used and when they were last changed. If the home is in a gated community, ask about the security company that watches over the neighborhood. It’s not only important to find out the name of the company providing security but also to inquire about the habits of the security personnel. In short, you don’t want to be fooled by an intruder who is posing as a security guard. Find out what the uniforms look like the security personnel wear and how and when they make their rounds.
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