As a potential tenant, you will have to make sure that the property you’re renting doesn’t come with any hidden or unexpected costs. While you’re surveying the home, you are already aware of the basic questions you might want to ask, like rent, tenure of the agreement, basic amenities like water heater, furniture, electrical appliances, etc. Check out our list of other equally important questions you might not remember to ask while the house-hunting process.
Is the security deposit amount fair?
There’s no standardised legislation for rental security deposits. But landlords usually charge between two to six months of rent as a deposit, depending on the landlord’s inclination, furnishings, and amenities in the house and the location of the property. If the amount is higher than six months of rent, you must negotiate with the landlord.
When is the rent due? How often does it increase?
Agree upon a date of rent payment that’s mutually convenient for you both, along with the method of payment (cheques/NEFT). Also, determine the grace period for payment. Landlords usually allow for a 7-10 day grace period from the due date. Rent is usually raised by 5-10% after a year.
What amenities does the property have?
Inquire what facilities are available for tenants to use on the premises, such as a gym, pool, sports complex, etc. If yes, ask about the rules, charges, restrictions, and timings for use.
Does the house have a gas pipeline?
Check if the house is equipped with a gas piping connection or has an LPG cylinder system. The former is ideal for a tenant, if not, check with the landlord if they’d provide you with an existing LPG registration that you can use during your tenure.
What is the penalty for breaking any clause of the agreement?
A rental agreement lists the number of items and fixtures in the house before moving in, such as furniture, electrical fixtures, electronic equipment, etc. You’ll be responsible for compensating the landlord if you damage anything. Before moving in, check if everything is in working condition. If the damage occurs due to other reasons, you can have it fixed yourself and present the landlord with the invoice. Similarly, if you break the lock-in period (3-6 months), you’ll have to forfeit a certain amount from the deposit.
What are the neighbors/neighborhood like? How safe is the building?
Confirm if there’s a guard on-duty 24/7. Also ask about the neighbours (type of people on your floor) and any special instructions you need to know about the neighborhood, e.g. ongoing construction work, nearby public transportation, etc.
What are the rules for guests/visitors?
Single tenants are often bothered by society to not invite guests overnight while others may be restricted to have get-togethers after hours. Find out if your landlord imposes such conditions on your stay.
When will the security deposit be returned after vacating the property?
Ideally, the landlord should return the deposit amount on the same day of the tenant vacating the house, however, if the landlord asks for a grace period for returning the deposit, include that as a clause in the agreement.
Is there free parking space available?
The tenant is entitled to get the landlord’s parking space.
Are the utility bills paid?
Make sure that the landlord agrees to pay any pending light, gas, or water bills from previous tenancies. Even if it’s a previously unoccupied home, there will be a monthly bill that the landlord needs to clear.
What is the extent up to which I can make changes within the rented house?
This doesn’t mean minor changes like moving furniture around or putting up new drapes. It means structural changes to the house of small and big kinds. For instance, if you have a split AC and the house is pre-designed with a window AC set-up, you’ll need the landlord’s permission to install the split AC. Drilling, installing your own fixtures, meshes, etc., will need to be pre-approved by the landlord.
What is the landlord/building’s policies on pets?
While some landlords may not have a problem with pets, society and the neighbours may take issue. Or it could be a pet-friendly building but the landlord may not want pets ruining their furniture and assets. There may also be a restriction on the number of pets and types of pets allowed in society.
How old is the building?
Landlords of older buildings may charge lesser rent but there may be problems associated with the building, like damp walls, broken fixtures, no parking space, etc. It’s better to know if you might face any trouble arising out of ill-maintained buildings.
Is the landlord willing to repaint/repair the house?
Upon the previous tenant’s vacancy, the landlord is expected to clean up the house and at least give a mini makeover to the house like repainting it or repairing any distressed parts of the house. If you find it’s in disrepair, such as leaky faucets, missing bulbs, damaged water heater, ask the landlord to fix it before you move in.
Be alert during the surveying/questioning stage and get a legally binding agreement made so that there’s no reneging from either party. Also, ensure that the landlord agrees to pay his share of the agreement registration fees/stamp duty at the registrar.
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