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May 27, 2019

5 Questions to Ask When Renting a House

When you are looking to rent a house, you are investing in your future. Whether you commit yourself to months of headaches or to a period of peace will depend on how much information you gather before you sign the lease. The following questions are only a few of the many you should ask, but they are some of the most important.

1. What does the rent cover?

Your rent may pay just for the house, or it may cover more. Does it include utilities, for example? If there is a neighborhood pool, will you or the landlord have to pay for access? Also, consider whether you will have charge of lawn care or whether the landlord will be hiring a service.

2. What do I have to pay when I sign the lease?

Usually you will have to pay a certain amount of rent plus a deposit, but there is not a legally fixed amount. You may have to pay in advance for a month, for six weeks or for more. Find out what you will owe to eliminate unpleasant surprises and to ensure that you are capable of meeting the demand.

3. What appliances does the rental include?

The law varies from state to state as to what the landlord must provide, and you don’t want to move into a house only to find there is no refrigerator or washing machine. Be sure to discuss what your lease will cover and, equally important, who will be responsible for repairs.

4. Does the lease allow pets?

Some landlords simply do not want pets on their property. Pets increase the risk of serious damage and the amount of wear and tear. If your landlord does permit pets, find out whether there are restrictions on type. Sometimes landlords only allow cats, for example, but will not permit dogs. Be warned, however, that if you have a pet and your lease allows for it, you can expect an increase in the amount of the security deposit.

5. Are there restrictions on decorating?

You may have no restrictions on what you do, or you may not be allowed to do anything. Many landlords don’t mind if you paint or put in nails as long as you restore the original paint color and fill in the holes when you move. Just be sure to find out before you sign the lease, and be sure to get the answer in writing.

Renting a house is a big step, and you don’t want to rush into it. Take the time to find out everything you can first to ensure a pleasant experience in your new home.

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