Johnson City, TN, December 23, 2011 --(PR.com
)-- So, that rental property looks like a perfect fit for your situation in life. Congratulations. But, as with all major decisions in life, it’s good to ask a lot of questions before signing that lease. Your lease is a binding legal agreement so it’s important to make sure the tenant and landlord are a good “fit” before signing. Here are five common questions tenants should explore with their future landlord:
1. Decorating - Hang pictures? Hang curtains? Paint walls? The answers to these questions may not be what tenants expect. If the landlord says “no” and decorating is done anyway, be prepared to lose the security deposit. The premise that “it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission” does not work in a landlord/tenant relationship.
2. Maintenance - What does the landlord consider an “emergency” maintenance item requiring immediate attention? If the toilet is clogged at 3 a.m. in the morning will someone come out and unclog it? Does the landlord have a full-time maintenance staff to handle common repairs quickly? Many smaller apartment complexes do not have a full-time maintenance staff making repairs much longer to resolve.
3. Parking - Are there assigned parking spaces for each apartment? How many vehicles can each tenant have in the parking lot? What about visitors? What is the policy regarding towing vehicles that don’t have a parking permit? Can the tenants do car repairs in the parking lot? Having a vehicle towed is not fun and can be very expensive so make sure there is a good understanding of all parking policies.
4. Pets - Can a tenant have a pet Python snake? How about a dog or cat? Do cats have to be declawed? Does the landlord allow large dogs and what is consider “large”? Most apartment complexes have restrictions regarding breed and size of animals and most will not allow any pet that may be considered dangerous to other tenants or to the apartment staff. Some may think a Python is a great pet but not everyone would agree.
5. Roommates - Can tenants have a roommate? What is the process for getting a roommate approved? When does a “visitor” become a “roommate”? The rental rate is probably tied (at least in part) to the number of tenants in the apartment so if more tenants are added the rent may go up. Adding a roommate may reduce costs for each roommate but make sure each roommate understands the responsibilities before you allow that “visitor” to become a “roommate”.
As in most relationships, creating a great landlord/tenant relationship is all about expectations. Tenants have expectations. Landlords have expectations. The more questions asked before signing the lease, the better each person's expectations will be met and the tenant can expect a better relationship with the landlord.
As already mentioned, the lease is a binding legal agreement placing requirements on the tenant (the landlord’s expectations) so please read the lease carefully before signing it and make a list of questions to ask the potential landlord. Don’t short-cut the process and it will avoid potential issues down the road.
About the author: Chuck Rich has over 30 years of experience in residential property management. He operates one of the largest private residential property management companies in the Tri-Cities, TN area including six apartment communities and many rental homes. You can reach him at 423-926-2100 or on-line at www.JohnsonCityApartments.com.