Renting a house is a commitment and before doing so, you should be aware about what you're getting into. You don't want to move in to a house and pay overhead charges or fend off nosy neighbours.
All of us know how frustrating that can be. And, this is the reason why you should check, double-check, and ask as many questions as you want before you actually make a decision.
Remember it's easier to find a soulmate these days than a good apartment.
1. What exactly is included in your rent?
Before making a decision, you might want to ask your landlord about the utilities included in your rent so that you have a fair idea of what you're going to pay for. Do you have to pay for the parking? Is it included in the rent? Who'll pay for the maintenance? Figure out the utilities covered in the rent i.e, things looked after and paid by you, and also the things covered by the landlord.
2. When do you have to pay your rent and when will it increase next?
It would be wise to decide on a fixed date to pay the rent. And, while you're at it also decide upon things like mode of payment, grace period from the due date to pay, when and how much will the rent be increased to avoid any inconvenience.
3. How much is the security deposit and is it refundable?
Make sure you are clear on the security deposit that you have to pay and whether or not, it'll be refunded to you after you vacate the house. And, if refundable, by when will you get back your deposit. This is to make sure you get your amount without having to hassle yourself or the landlord. It would be best to get this signed on paper as proof.
4. When should you notify the landlord before leaving the house?
Along with the rent and the security deposit, your notice period should also be mentioned in your rent agreement. It should specify the time you're supposed to serve as a notice to your landlord. Generally, it's between 1-3 months but both of you can decide the same while negotiating.
5. Will there be any construction in-house or near the house after you move in?
All of us know how troublesome it gets to live in an under-construction area. If you get an idea about this then it'll help you make a decision about moving there or not.
6. Is the landlord/locality pet-friendly?
Before you move in, check with your landlord/locality about pet policies. Some have a very strict no-pet policy and in case you're a pet parent then you can look for a different property.
7. What is their take on guests and visitors of the opposite gender?
A few landlords keep a check on who's coming in and out of the house (sigh) so before your landlord/locality turns into a party pooper, discuss with them if they have any rules and regulations regarding the same. See if you or the landlord is willing to adjust.
8. What is their policy regarding smoking/drinking and non-vegetarian food?
Just like guests and pets, some landlords also have a policy regarding or not you can drink/smoke or consume non-vegetarian food in the house. Do consult with them regarding this and then come to a conclusion.
9. If you have to share the house with roommate(s), how are they like? And, how is the house divided?
Ask if you have to share a bedroom with someone and if you'll be provided with a separate bed. You can also ask questions like- how are the roommates like? What is their payment cycle?
10. Is the locality gated/non-gated? How are the neighbours like?
It's one of the worst nightmares to live in a place that isn't safe and also comes with nosy neighbours. So, to avoid getting into this pickle, be upfront about it and get a clarity as soon as possible.
11. What appliances will you get with the house and are they working?
Some landlords provide their tenants with appliances like AC, gas stove, washing machine, etc. See if your landlord will provide you such appliances and if they are not working, who will be responsible for getting them fixed?
12. How old is your locality/building and is the landlord willing to get it repainted/repaired?
This question should be on your list because old buildings/localities need more care and repair. Ask if your landlord will compensate for this in your rent. Will he be open to getting the house repaired/repainted because old houses come with issues of their own such as - damp walls, no parking spaces, crumbling paint, leakage, etc.
13. Is there any application I need to fill to be considered a possible tenant?
Check if the locality/landlord requires you to submit any application form to be considered a possible tenant? And, when that happens, will they do a round of security checks? It would be a breach of privacy if they conduct a background check without your knowledge or consent.
14. What all documents do they require?
Get a list of documents required and see if you have the said documents. And, in case you don't, how much time will you be given to get it made? This is just to make sure you're not caught off-guard.
15. Are you allowed to make any changes to the house? If yes, to what extent?
Since the house will also be your private space, it's understandable to make some changes. But before doing so, discuss with your landlord if they're okay with it and to what extent can they allow the changes to be made. For instance, will they be okay if you repaint the wall or install a split AC instead of a window AC?
16. How is the transportation in the area and are there any grocery/medical shops nearby?
You don't want to live in an area where the availability of cabs/buses/autos is very slim. Similarly, it'll be very difficult and costly to live in a locality where there is no nearby grocery, pharmacy, or hospital in case of emergencies.
17. How soon can you move in?
After all your doubts are cleared, check with the landlord how soon can you move in? Are there any current tenants who have to move out first so that you can move in next? Is there any specific policy set by the landlord/locality for this?
After you discuss these things exhaustively with your landlord or the locality official, you'll be in a better place to make the decision. Thank me later.