Renting 101: 11 Questions You Should Ask Before You Rent a House

The responsibility to find the right house lies in the hands of every person looking to rent the said house. There is a tremendous value that comes with being subject to a landlord, and it requires a lot to tap into the benefits. On the same note, it is equally crucial to note that the benefits can become a disaster if you do not follow the due processes. To be a good tenant, you have to maintain the right relationship with your landlord by managing and honoring the lease contract. The same applies to landlords. When the two parties are at peace, the living environment becomes a haven for safety and joy.

Before you decide to rent, you need to ask some crucial questions that will improve your living conditions and create a better relationship with the landlord. Most tenants ask these questions but fail to frame them in a way that is beneficial to them. Most people would want to go for the most common questions on pricing, location, and utilities. This is not to say that they are not essential aspects, but in most cases, that information will be found along with the rental advertisement. What you need to ask has to do with the information that the landlord would not like to share. Here are some of the questions you need to ask before you rent a house.

Could you Shed Light on the Rent, Deposit, and Cost Utilities?

If the listing has been there for a long time, you will want to get the right information, especially if there are any changes and updates to the ones provided at the time of the first listing. This is the opportunity to get your landlord to clarify the information that you may not have understood in the ads. You may also want to raise any discrepancies that you noted and request for changes.

Do you have Non-refundable Fees or Deposits?

Before signing a lease agreement or contract, you should know if there are any non-refundable fees.. Some jurisdictions do not allow landlords to ask for such costs, and it would be good to know what the law says about it within your location.

What is the Lease Duration?

You need to be on the same page with your landlord concerning the duration of your stay. Lease duration is one of the most critical aspects that you should know before signing a lease contract. For instance, if the lease duration is three years and you want to commit to one year, you need to find out if you can agree on common ground or else look for another place that suits your needs.

What is the Payment Method for Rent?

The best way to pay rent is online or direct deposit to a bank account. You need to know the kind of landlord you are dealing with in terms of rent payment. It is advisable to avoid landlords that only accept payment in cash.

What is the Late Payment Fee Policy?

There is always a late fee for tenants that pay their rent late. You definitely should not be thinking about paying your rents late, but you never know what might happen in the future. You might find yourself in that position for one reason or the other. In that case, you need to know what the policy is and how much extra you will be required to pay.

Do You Allow Subletting?

Some circumstances might force you to sublet your space. In most cases, tenants sublet to meet some financial needs. In that situation, you will need to know the subletting policy as stipulated in the lease contract. The criteria should be one that is flexible and allows screening or vetting the subletters instead of going through the landlord.

Do You Allow Early Termination of the Lease Contract?

Flexibility is something that should be part of your life. There are many uncertainties. You need to find out what fate holds for you in case you are forced to cut short your stay before the expiry of the lease agreement. If there are fees involved, then it is better to know it beforehand. Landlords that do not allow breaking lease agreements are dangerous and should be avoided.

What Happens at the End of the Lease Period?

Different landlords have their policies concerning the renewal of the lease. Some allow tenants to continue paying rent month to month while some prefer renewal by signing another lease agreement. Whichever the case, you need to know what it is, especially if you are planning to extend your stay.

What is the Situation Like in Regards to Parking?

Some areas have license requirements to park, and you should be in a position to understand what is required of you. If you have more than one car, then you need the landlord to clarify the parking situation to see if you can fit all of them and still meet the requirements as per the law.

How Do You Communicate Your Notices?

It is important to note that you will have to maintain communication with your landlord or the representative from time to time. On the same note, the landlord is expected to give notices if a situation arises. You need to know the channel of communication. And in the case of late payment, you should also know how many notifications are sent before the landlord shows up at your door.

What is the Procedure for Maintenances?

You need to ask about how you will be able to communicate any request for repairs and maintenance. Additionally, the terms of repair are also essential, especially if you happen to damage something in the house. If there are no set rules and procedures, then you may have to reconsider your options before signing any lease contract.

Final Words

It is advisable to discuss your expectations with the landlords before renting their premises. If possible, always ask for documentation of the rules and policies that regulate your stay and relationship with the landlord as well as your neighbors. Alternatively, you can weigh your options. Sometimes you need to debate on whether to buy or rent and figure out if it would be better buying than renting.


  1. If possible, you might want to talk to the person who lived there before you, too. They can tell you all the things that might be an issue with the home. If that's not possible, I'd at least speak to neighbors.

  2. The questions and lease requirements are most important! This is very useful information! Thank you for sharing!