Deciding to rent a home is a life choice that requires much thought and consideration. A lot goes into renting a home, from creating a budget to purchasing renters' insurance and encountering landlords who set their terms and conditions, etc.
As with any major decisions, you would want to be sure you're well informed. There are few things to keep in mind to avoid being conned. Here is what you need to be aware of your rights as a tenant:
Know the Fair Market Rent
The rental value of a house is determined by various factors such as location, property's age, construction qualities and amenities. The Fair Market Price (FMR) is the gross amount of rent one can pay to rent privately owned, safe, existing, sanitary housing.
Knowledge of the Fair Market Rent (FMR) helps determine if a potential property is listed at a fair price. If a property appears to be listed excessively high, you can use the FMR as a bargaining tool for a lower rent.
Who Supplies the Basic Amenities
The responsibility of ensuring basic amenities such as electricity and a regular water supply is on the landlord. If the landlord disconnects the electricity or water supply, the tenant can file a complaint to the police or approach the court or agent. If the apartment is under a housing society, the tenant can approach the residents' welfare association for meditation when there is a dispute.
The landlord bears the cost of maintenance of the property and other related charges except in cases of normal wear and tear. However, it would be best if you considered what's included in the lease, including who's responsible for maintenance and home repairs.
If the landlord agrees to pay for or personally makes repairs, you are otherwise stuck with the bills. Either way, it's crucial to find this out before signing a lease to save yourself from unexpected costs.
Negotiate the Lease Terms
Many tenants are usually unaware that they have the power to negotiate some terms within their lease contract. For instance, assuming your lease is scheduled to begin in early January, but you can't move in until late January, you may request a 1/15 move-in date with a prorated rent.
You can also find out the length of your lease and plan appropriately. If you're planning to stay more than a year, request if you can sign for a longer lease to protect yourself from raised rent or updated terms and conditions.
Most landlords request a security deposit. Sometimes the deposit might be as high as a year or six months of the rent. The deposit amount depends on the kind of property you are renting and also the fair market price.
Landlords ask for deposits to safeguard their interest if the tenant vacates the property leaving some utility bills pending or causing damages. Ensure the deposit amount is stated in the lease contract.
Once the lease agreement is signed, the property belongs to the tenant for the agreed tenure, and the landlord has no access to the property without the tenant's consent. If need be to carry out repairs on the property, they should be done with the mutual consent of both tenant and landlord.
Renting a house isn't always easy, but you can be in control of your lease agreement with the information you have at your disposal.