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Things To Ask A Landlord Before Signing A Lease

Signing a lease can be very exciting, but there are things you should ask before signing that could save you a lot of stress later!Renting for the first time can be terrifying; maybe you’re getting out of your parent’s house for the first time (congrats!) or maybe you’re just a first-time renter. Either way, the entire ordeal can seem overwhelming, and it’s easy to miss some critical, but simple things. Fear not, we’ve got some often overlooked questions to help make sure you’re asking the important questions before signing a lease.

Have The Locks Been Changed?

Let’s get to what may be the most important question you’ll forget to ask. Don’t feel bad if you’re reading this article after the fact; I didn’t ask it when I signed my first lease. A friend, however, recently sent me a link over Facebook about a tenant that had had his apartment broken into twice by a former tenant. Luckily for him, it was only a thief who entered, and only items were taken.

Why should you ask? Because your landlords and superintendents are human too; a very innocent mistake led to the tenant in that article having hundreds of dollars stolen from him. So please, always ask—even if you think it sounds stupid.

How Do I Pay Rent?

Its 2015, are we really asking this question? Can’t we just install computer chips in our wallets that automatically deduct all our bills? Unfortunately not, but you may be even more surprised to find out how ancient some building’s payment methods are.

Why should you ask? What’s the worst that can happen, you have to go buy checks from the bank? Oh no. Well actually, it can get worse. A friend of mine rented an apartment where he was required to pay by check in person. It took an hour and a half for the whole ordeal as the office was a bus ride away from the apartment.

To state the obvious, it was a major inconvenience.

Had he known, he likely would have reconsidered, he could not wait for that lease to end.

Does The Building Have A History Of Bed Bugs?

The first question may have scared you, and truly, that’s what I was hoping it would do. Relatively speaking then, bed bugs may not scare you. Think again, dear reader; bed bugs are terrifying, and they suck (pun 100% intended).

Why should you ask? You’ve had ants before, right? Bugs aren’t a big deal. Well, I’ll spare you the disgusting details, and give you the most critical piece of information: bed bugs spread easily and are hard to get rid of; you cannot coexist with these monsters.

The worst part is the price it often costs to rid yourself of them. The price ranges, depending upon the level of infestation (yeah, there are levels), between $250 and $10,000. And if your infestation is leaning toward the high end of that scale, it’s likely that you’ll have to leave your home to be fumigated; in that case, I hope you have somewhere to stay, or some extra funds to spend on a hotel room.

Hopefully this article has helped you feel a little bit more relaxed; maybe it’s even made you feel a little more confident about speaking to your future landlord. Either way, it’s important to remember that you’re interviewing your landlord as well. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a building you hate while you count the days until your lease is up.



  1. So many pop-overs to close before I can read or leave a comment. Yikes! In any case, one thing I think I might add is to find out how quickly apartments turn over. If it’s a smaller complex (just a few units) you could likely ask why the previous tenant left.

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