You buy a pair of gorgeous shoes online, but when they arrive, there’s a buckle missing. So you’re a bit bummed, but at least you can return it, no questions asked. You and your best friend have had each other’s backs since preschool. You know you can tell them anything and they’ll be there to support you, no questions asked. Basically when you trust something (an online commerce company) or someone (your best friend), you can accept what they give you aas you know they have your back. But if there’s ever a time to ask questions, it’s when you’re about to enter a new relationship – like choosing a rental accommodation in a new place. It’s a universally acknowledged fact that moving is stressful, so the least you can do to mitigate that stress is ensure that the place you move to is the best for you. And to ensure that you can have a healthy landlord-tenant relationship, and have all the information you need about your new home, it’s best to ask some questions right off the bat.
But perhaps this is your first time living away from home and you have no idea what to ask for. Or maybe you’re a seasoned pro sure that you can suss out everything you need to know about a flat just by looking at it. Whatever the case may be, talking to your landlord about certain rules and expectations can help you start your tenancy on the right foot. That’s why we recommend asking these questions before you sign a lease agreement.
What does the rent cover?
Whether you’re moving into a rental flat or a PG in Chennai, your landlord is going to quote a certain amount of rent. But that rent may not be an all-in-one package, so make sure you ask them about which utilities are included in the amount. Some accommodations may include water and garbage disposal, but leave electricity, internet and others for you to cover. A professionally managed place like Stanza Living makes this process easy since their rent is all-inclusive of utilities and other amenities. If your landlord does not include utilities in the monthly rent, ask them what the approximate cost will be. Without factoring in these costs, you might not know whether you’ll be able to afford a particular place until it’s too late.
When is the rent due and how to pay it?
Most of the time, rent is due each month. But if you’re living in a PG or a hostel, there are chances that this frequency may shift to weekly or quarterly. So make sure you ask your landlord about it beforehand, so you don’t have issues with budgeting later. Even more importantly, ask what mode of payment your landlord will accept. Online payments are usually a good bet since they can be automated, secure and convenient for both parties. If your landlord accepts only cash payments, avoid them at all costs as they may be trying to loop you into a rental scam. Better to be safe than sorry!
Is the security deposit refundable?
Generally, any security deposit on an accommodation is refundable provided you stick to the terms of your leave and do not damage the property. So if your landlord insists on a non-refundable deposit, this may be a red flag. Asking this question ensures you know what to expect when you sign a lease as well as what to expect when your rental period is over. Transparency is super important in a good tenant-landlord relationship.
What is your pet policy?
If you’re trying to find a home for yourself and your furry friends in one of the hostels in Chennai, it may not be as easy as you think. Landlords and managed accommodation providers can have different policies where pets are concerned. So find out if the place you’re looking for doesn’t allow pets, or only allows cats, you and your puppy might have to rethink your choices. And once you find a pet-friendly place, ask if there’s any additional cost or deposit you have to pay for your pets.
What if I need to break or renew the lease?
Look, life is unpredictable. Whether you land a dream job opportunity unexpectedly or have a family emergency, plans can change and you might find yourself having to get out of your lease early. So it’s a good idea to ask your landlord what the repercussions of doing so will be. Perhaps there’s a provision for early termination in your lease agreement which might require you to keep paying rent until your landlord finds another tenant. Or perhaps you’re required to give two months notice before you break a lease. Either way, make sure you find out the landlord’s expectations before you sign anything. The flipside is possible too. Maybe you’ll absolutely love your new place and can’t imagine anything better. Why not ask your landlord their policy on renewing a lease as well, whether on a yearly or monthly basis? If they’ve already planned on selling their apartment at some point or moving into the property themselves, at least you’ll be prepared to start looking for a place again.
With these questions in hand, you’re now ready to begin searching for a place to rent. Talk about all of this with your landlord so that you can start your journey in your new accommodation on the right foot. And if the place you’d been considering isn’t the right one for you, at least you’ll know well before you commit to anything. In any case, there’s no harm in asking!