20 Questions To Ask When Renting a House For First Timers

The Real Estate Industry

20 Questions To Ask When Renting a House For First Timers

February 28, 2023

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Renting a house is an exciting yet nerve-wracking experience, especially for first-timers. Before signing the lease and becoming an official tenant, you need to ask the right questions so that you’re making an informed decision. In this blog post, we provide you with the top 20 questions to ask when renting a house.

Read More: Pros and Cons of Renting a House vs Apartment

1. What’s the monthly rent price and what’s included in it?

The first thing you should ask is about the rental price, including ANY additional charges such as utility bills, maintenance fees, or parking fees. This will help you create a budget and avoid any surprises.


2. What’s the security deposit amount and what are the terms to get a refund?

Understanding the security deposit amount and how it’s refundable is essential. Security deposits are generally used to protect landlords from damages to the rental house or missed payments. Most landlords will charge an extra month of rent as a security deposit and will require both the security deposit and the first month of rent when you first move in.


3. Is there a pet policy or a pet deposit?

Pets are not always allowed in rental properties and when they are, there can be fees attached to the smaller companion. If you have pets or plan to adopt one, it’s important to ask about the conditions of having one. Pets can also cause accidents inside a property that could cause you to lose your security deposit.

Read More: 12 Tips When Looking For Apartments That Allow Dogs

4. What’s the length of the lease agreement?

There are different lengths in lease agreements that are determined by the landlord. A month-to-month lease, half a year, or a year-long lease are the most common lengths but it can also vary from those three.


5. Are there any penalties for late rent payments?

In many cases, late rent payments can result in additional charges or even eviction. Make sure you ask about the due date for rent payments or if there are any grace periods.


6. What’s the notice period for ending the lease agreement?

Before signing the lease agreement, ask about the notice period for ending the contract. State laws will determine how many days are required for a notice period depending on the type of lease. Most states will require at least a 30-day notice for month-to-month leases and no notice for yearly leases.


7. Who’s responsible for maintenance and repairs?

It’s crucial to know who’s responsible for what maintenance and repairs, whether it’s the landlord or the tenant. Some repairs may be for the tenant to be responsible for and others may be for the landlord to take care of. Clarify the terms and conditions to avoid any misunderstandings or disputes.


8. What’s the process for requesting regular maintenance and repairs?

For more serious repairs, it’ll require the landlord to be involved to call a professional to help. It’s important to know about the process for requesting maintenance and repairs, including the contact person and response time.


9. What’s the condition of the rental property?

Before signing the lease agreement, inspect the rental property’s condition and take note of any damages or issues. You can even hire a professional inspector but it probably won’t be worth the cost. Previous tenants can be a great resource to understand the condition of a rental property but you can also investigate the property management company.


Photo by Roselyn Tirado on Unsplash

10. Are there any restrictions on decorating or renovating the rental property?

Rental houses typically have a limitation on how much you can decorate or renovate a property. The restrictions should be clearly stated in the lease and any approval process for renovations. Some landlords have specific policies on painting, hanging pictures, or installing fixtures.


11. Are there any noise restrictions or quiet hours?

Depending on the neighborhood or nearby tenants, there may be quiet hours in the surrounding area. Failure to adhere to the quiet hours could result in additional charges or even eviction in extreme cases.


12. What’s the parking situation?

If you have a car, the parking situation is essential to ask about. Your car needs to have a place to park or else you’ll have a huge inconvenience when it comes to driving. The rental house could have a parking space for a monthly fee or may require street parking spaces.


13. What appliances are included in the rental property?

Ask about the appliances included in the rental property, such as a refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, or washing machine. Some may be included with the rental while others you may have to pay for yourself.


14. What’s the internet and cable situation?

If you require internet or cable, ask about the availability and charges for these services. Some landlords may include these services in the rental price, while others may charge extra fees.


15. What’s the policy on subletting or having roommates?

Is subletting or having roommates allowed? Does it have any additional charges or restrictions? Unexpected things can happen and getting a subleaser may become an important option.


16. What’s the guest policy or terms on smoking on the property?

Smoking is not accepted in most places and landlords may have a policy on smoking in a rental property. The smell of smoke can stay in objects and areas for long periods of time, making the property harder to rent out. Also, there can be policies on guests being over. Make sure you ask about both things before signing the lease agreement.


17. What’s the policy on renewing the lease agreement?

Make sure to ask about the policy on renewing the lease agreement, including any changes in the rental price or terms and conditions. This will help you avoid any unwanted surprises when landlords want to change any terms or conditions.


18. What’s the policy on Early Lease Terminations?

In case of an emergency or a change in circumstances, ask about the policy on terminating the lease agreement early. Many landlords will keep your security deposit in return for early termination.


19. What’s the process for moving out and returning the keys?

Before moving out, ask about the process for returning the keys and any additional cleaning requirements. Landlords can have a specific process for a tenant moving out and it should be outlined in the contract.


20. Is Renters Insurance Required?

Renters insurance is an important and often overlooked form of protection for renters who may not think they need to insure their belongings. It provides renters with financial assistance if any of their possessions are damaged by fires, weather events, or theft from break-ins so that renters can avoid having to pay out-of-pocket for such losses.


Bonus Question For New Tenants To Ask When Renting

Renting can be a stressful process, but asking the right questions when renting a house can help you make an informed decision. The last question you could ask is about the contact number for the landlord or property manager in case of an emergency, such as a leak or a power outage. This will help you ensure that you have a direct way to get in contact way with a property manager in a timely manner.

From the rental price and lease agreement terms to the condition of the property and the landlord’s responsibilities, it’s crucial to clarify all aspects before signing the lease agreement. By using this guide of the top 20 questions to ask when renting a house, you’ll be well-prepared for your rental home.