What to Keep in Mind and What to Check When Renting an Apartment
Looking for a flat is a task that demands responsibility. In addition to the excitement of moving in, one always has concerns: What if the owner is unreliable or the apartment does not match the advertisement? It is always better to be prepared for any possible pitfalls. To do this, you need to consider several criteria that will help you select the perfect housing.
What to Keep in Mind When Renting an Apartment
First and foremost, your first impression matters regardless of whether you're renting for a day or planning to rent long-term. You should feel comfortable and safe in your new home.
Once you've established that you're in agreement with your inner voice, you can move on to the more formal questions.
What You See Is in Accordance with the Advertisement
Carefully inspect the premises for suspicious cracks in the walls, holes in the ceiling, mould and fungi in the corners. Such inconveniences may cause you a lot of hassle later on. It is inconvenient to live in such conditions, and the owner may always blame you for the damage.
Be sure to check that the equipment and furniture corresponds to what was stated in the ad. Do not hesitate to point out any discrepancies or make inquiries. Landlords like to sugar coat and make it sound real.
But do not be in a hurry to refuse an offer because of minor defects or little details. Instead, try to negotiate a better price with the owner.
The neighbourhood where the flat is located plays a huge role in the pricing of the housing. If you are unfamiliar with the area, ask the owner to explain the pros and cons of the location.
- Availability of shops, educational institutions and healthcare services;
- The proximity of the underground and public transport stops;
- Parking in the vicinity;
- The neighbours (young families, elderly people, students etc.).
The Rights of the Landlord
It is crucial to know who you are renting from in order to avoid the risk of getting scammed. You are entitled to ask the landlord for proof that he/she is the lawful owner of the property. In that case, the landlord will be obliged to provide:
- A title deed;
- A copy of the land and mortgage register;
- A power of attorney (if the landlord is a relative of the owner or if the transaction is being handled by a broker);
- A sublease agreement (if another tenant lets the flat with the owner's consent).
With these details in possession, it is easy to do a quick online check yourself and make sure you can trust the landlord.
Agreement and Lease Period
Signing the agreement is the most important part of the process, since it is your defence during any legal procedures. A lease agreement not only regulates the rights and responsibilities of the parties, but also ensures that you won't be evicted without due reason.
Make sure that you include the following points in the agreement:
- The lease period;
- Amount and conditions of payment;
- Utility expenses;
- The deposit amount and the refund terms;
- Personal details of both parties and the property titles;
- Furnishings and equipment in the apartment
- Transfer and Acceptance Act;
- Maintenance T&Cs.
If the landlord refuses to conclude the agreement in writing, it is worth doubting his legitimacy. In such cases, it is better to refuse and look for a more reliable landlord who will respect your rights and fulfil his obligations.
Agreeing on Maintenance and Renovations
Home is a place of comfort and tranquillity. You'll probably want to make a few finishing touches in your apartment, surround yourself with appealing objects and make it homely. However, some landlords are overprotective of their property and belongings, and they might not want you to make any alterations.
Verify beforehand if you can repaint the walls, change the kitchen cabinets or put up shelves in the bedroom. If you make changes without the landlord's consent, you could get into a tricky situation: you could be asked to pay a fine or dissolve the agreement altogether.
The same goes for emergency maintenance due to equipment breakage. Clarify who is responsible for repairing the damage. If you covered the repairs out of your own pocket, ask for reduced rent to compensate the costs.
Transfer and Acceptance Act
Before you move into your dream apartment, draw up an act of endorsement of the premises. It is then attached to the lease agreement as an appendix and usually contains the following information:
- Furnishings (equipment, appliances);
- Condition of the flat (defects and damage);
- Meter readings.
It is a good idea to attach photographs of the flat to the documentation. Such a complete Transfer and Acceptance Act will provide you an irrefutable guarantee that the landlord will not hold you liable for any existing damages.
List of Receipts
Most likely the flat had been rented out before and more than once. Ask your landlord for copies of receipts of settled bills and unpaid cheques for the past few months, so you won’t have to pay your previous tenant's bills.
But don't rush into signing the agreement until you are sure that the flat is the one. Once the formalities are dealt with, it's just a matter of getting the details right.
Questions Worth Asking the Landlord When Renting a Flat
Every landlord has his own set of rules for leasing. If you want to rent long-term, it's best you adhere to these rules. Use this 10-question checklist:
- How often does your landlord plan to visit with check-ups?
- Is it possible to stay with children or pets?
- Are guests allowed?
- Is there a chance someone else will be renting together with you?
- Who were the previous tenants?
- Have the locks been changed since the previous tenant moved out?
- Are the neighbours decent?
- Will you get your deposit back if you move out before the agreed date?
- Is there good soundproofing or is the flat noisy?
- When can I move in?
If the answers match your demands, sign the agreement and move in. Choose wisely, though, so that you're prepared for the unexpected. By being vigilant you will avoid putting yourself and your bright future in your new home at risk.
In order to be as sure as possible in the owner and not get into trouble when renting an apartment, you can contact the Chekashoff Estate real estate bureau. The company works only with trusted landlords, and our brokers are professionals in their field who will help you draw up an individual lease agreement for your needs to protect against any unforeseen situations.