Shared Housing

Questions To Ask A Landlord Before Signing A Lease

Alcove Team · 6/3/24

Questions To Ask A Landlord Before Signing A Lease

Digging for information is not just for homebuyers. In fact, asking questions before signing a lease agreement to rent is a must. So, we’re going to give you a list of the top questions to ask a landlord before signing a lease agreement so you don’t end up in a sticky situation.

While the US rental market is becoming more affordable, there’s no better time than now to rent. But make sure you have the right questions to ask when renting an apartment before signing any paperwork.

Without getting all the information needed, you might end up renting somewhere that’s too good to be true.

Signing A Lease - No Going Back

Q:1 How much is the monthly rental amount, and is it set in stone?

Some landlords may ask you to pay one month in advance, plus a security deposit, or even up to three months.

Make sure you have these funds available; there is nothing worse than getting all the way to sign a lease and then not having enough funds for the security deposit.

Also, query whether the rent is set or could increase in price at any point. This shouldn’t be the case, but it’s always a good idea to ask.

Q:2 Why did the last tenants move out?

There’s really no way to sugarcoat this question, but it’s one of the most important questions to ask a landlord or property manager.

This can reveal a lot about the property, such as the bar next door is too loud, the roommates are a nightmare, or there was suspected mold.

Yes, it’s quite likely the landlord could lie, but if you're a good judge of character, you’ll be able to tell.

Q:3 Is there any existing damage to the property?

Imagine ending your lease only to find that your landlord is accusing you of damaging the room or property while you were residing there.

That’s why a walkthrough at the beginning of signing a lease is so important; you and the landlord can both document any existing damages.

Q:4 Is the accommodation pet-friendly?

You might wish to get a pet in the future, but does the property allow this? Before you sign the lease, ask for complete clarity on their pet policies.

Q:6 Is subletting the property/room allowed?

Some landlords might allow you to have an extra roommate or sublet the room, so ensuring you are both clear on the rules around this is important; otherwise, you may break the lease and be penalized.

Q:7 What is the policy for late rent payments?

If you're struggling to make rent that month or need to pay later, you will want to know if there are going to be any repercussions. There may be a late penalty fee to pay.

Q:8 Who is responsible for the maintenance of the room/house?

Although it will be in the lease, it’s worth double-checking what the landlord expects you to pay, whether it's for minor repairs around the house/room or the weekly gardener.

Q:9 What about early lease termination? Are there any fees?

If you need to end your lease early, then check the agreement. Do you need to buy your way out or find a qualified renter as a replacement?

Q:10 What alterations are allowed in the space?

One of the most overlooked questions to ask when renting an apartment is what customizations can you make.

You want your space to feel homely, right? Well, unfortunately, some landlords don’t allow their tenants to change any of the decor, especially those offering furnished apartments. So make sure to clear this up before you put pen to paper.

Finding A Room Rental With Alcove

At Alcove, there’s no need to guess what utilities are included in your rental, ask what gender the housemates are, or if you can bring your cat.

We streamline the renting process for you and present the important information upfront to avoid you having to wonder what to ask a landlord before renting.

Our selected properties have vetted landlords who lease and manage their properties on Alcove. We specialize in shared housing, helping you save 40-50% on rental costs and weeks of time spent finding roommates.

Take the stress out of renting and take a look at our beautiful listings here.