If you’re about to move out from your parent’s home, it’s an exciting time. While it’s tempting to decide on the first place that looks good, there’s more you need to consider besides the initial showing.
During your showing, you’ll want to check that the space is safe for you to live in and whether it suits your needs and the people you plan to live with. There are also many details you should ask your landlord before coming to a decision.
Utilities – In your home, you use water, electricity and heat in your day-to-day activities. You should always ask the landlord what type of utility is used, such as gas or oil, along with the average monthly cost of the unit. If you’re renting a condo, sometimes utilities are covered in the condo fees the landlord pays, which means it could be covered in the cost of your rent. Also, if you’re sharing a space with other renters, you’ll want to know how these costs will be split. Some living arrangements also come with Internet and cable, which may or may not be included in your monthly rent.
Lease agreement – In Ontario, landlords and tenants aren’t required by law to have a written lease agreement, but this could protect you in the long run if you are ever involved in a dispute with your landlord. Ensure that your lease agreement covers all these terms about your stay and you might want a lawyer to look it over before signing.
Restrictions – Some landlords may be very particular about the space they’re renting out. For example, some landlords won’t allow you to paint the walls or hang paintings since you will need to put nails into their walls. Also, you may not be allowed to own pets or smoke and it’s important to establish the rules before signing a lease.
Current tenants – There’s no harm in learning more about the previous tenants. If it’s due to a dispute with the landlord or another building issue, this might make you think twice about living there.
Neighbourhood – You’re likely searching for a place that’s near to either your workplace or school, but you’ll also want to consider your lifestyle when choosing a place to live. If you enjoy eating out, are there a lot of restaurants in the area or if you don’t own a car, are you near transit. Also, the neighbourhood’s safety may also play into your decision.
Amenities – Some rental listings include fully furnished properties, while others provide no furniture at all. Depending on your living situation, this may affect what you bring. Also, if you’re looking at condos or apartments, you’ll want to know if there are any extra perks, such as a gym, a bbq area or a party room. If you own a car, you’ll want to know if the property comes with parking and if not, where you could park your car, along with where any guests can park.
Property maintenance – If you’re looking to rent a house, ask who will be responsible for chores such as mowing the lawn or shovelling the snow. Also, inquire about how minor or major repairs should be handled and where can you reach the landlord if you have any issues or questions.
While the answer to these questions may take you longer to find a place to rent, you’ll be glad you did when it saves you time, money and hassle in the long run.
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