What to Ask Before Renting That Apartment

I wish I could say the renting process is easy, but it can be complicated for all parties involved.  Save yourself some frustration by getting the answers to these questions before signing a new lease.

Questions to ask before you rent

Save yourself a lot of heartache!

Where Should I Park?

Durango is all over the map as far as parking goes.  If your apartment is in the country, you probably don’t need to ask this question.  In town parking is a different story.  There may only be one space and guests may have to park down the street.  Find out now so you’re not taken aback later.

 

What Fees Am I Responsible for in the Renting Process?

Background checks, credit checks, application fees are commonplace these days.  The landlord is just trying to protect themselves so it’s easy to see why these screening processes are in place.  Sometimes the application fee you pay to see a place covers these checks, but sometimes they’re extra.

 

How Is Rent Paid?

With modern technology, a lot of property managers have websites where you can submit your rent payment.  Some require that you drop a check off at the office, get a cashier’s check, mail a check in, etc.  Find out if there is an early pay discount, what late fees are, what days are considered “late” for paying rent, etc.

 

What’s the Guest Policy?

Can you have people stay overnight?  What’s considered too many guests?  Or too long a stay?  Be truthful about guests.  If your guest is more of a roommate, know that it will most likely bite you in the butt if you lie to your landlord.  It’s better to be up front with them to not break your lease and risk eviction.

 

Are Pets Allowed?

And if they are, am I responsible for a pet deposit?  Is the deposit refundable?  Do I have to carry umbrella insurance in the event a pet damages property or hurts a person?  What about Renter’s insurance?

 

How Much Notice Do I Have to Give Before Moving Out?

In Colorado, renters are required to give 30 days’ notice.  That does not mean you have the right to break the lease (or leave before the lease is up).  Colorado law also says that outside of certain conditions (military leave, domestic abuse, etc.), a tenant is responsible for rent the length of the contract.  Granted, your landlord must make reasonable efforts to re-rent the apartment and not just sit on their hands until your contract is up.

 

Does Lease Renew?

A lot of leases transform into a month-to-month lease at the end of a lease’s contract period.  So this is why it’s important to know how much notice you must give before moving out.  Even if the lease ends on a certain date, it’s still a good idea to give your landlord or property manager notice so they don’t assume you’re staying and have ample time to rent it out to someone else.

 

Can I Sublet?

If life throws you a curveball and you cannot stay in your apartment anymore, find out if it’s acceptable to sublet for the remainder of your lease.  Landlords often address this in their lease and pending approval, may require you to pay for a new background check and credit report for the sub letter.  They may also not allow it all, so find out beforehand!

 

What Utilities (if any) Are Covered by Rent?  What Utilities Am I Responsible for?

Some states require certain utilities like water to be covered by your landlord.  Some landlords just cover it or include it in your rent as a courtesy.  Find out exactly what’s covered and what you are responsible for.  If you’re responsible for electricity and you’re sharing a condo or house, find out how it’s calculated.

 

How Are Repairs Handled?

Sometimes tenants take it upon themselves to call repairman over without consulting their property manager or landlord first.  Then they are surprised when the landlord doesn’t cover the expense.  That is because the owner or property manager is responsible for the majority of repairs to their property.  This is even outlined in many leases. Part of the benefit of renting is that you have little responsibility when it comes to repairs (unless you caused the damage).  The only exceptions are emergent situations where you called your landlord first and gave them a “reasonable” amount of time to respond.  If they do not, then document everything.  That is your best chance of getting reimbursed for any out of pocket expenses.

 

I know this seems a little overwhelming, but I promise it will be even more overwhelming if you rent first and ask these questions after the fact.  If you have any more questions or would like to apply to rent with us, please fill out an application or give us a call at:

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/trulia/2014/10/20/when-to-call-your-landlord-for-repairs/#6ff5927c5b7e

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/tenants-right-break-rental-lease-colorado.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/09/01/things-you-should-ask-when-renting_n_4823559.html

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