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  • Renters’ Guide to Grilling Landlords – by Mike Ferrante

    [caption id="attachment_9860" align="alignleft" width="200"]Mike Ferrante Mike Ferrante[/caption]

     

    Written by Mike Ferrante

    216-322-5052. Email - Mike@21Mike.com

    Anyone who has rented is accustomed to landlords and property managers asking for in-depth information about their financial history, past residences, income, favorite color, etc.  Prospective renters fill in every blank on the application, even the one for Social Security number.  As a landlord, I am always amazed at how willingly people give up that piece of information!  But if you want to rent my apartment or house, I need it to run your credit.  It’s no different than renting furniture from Aaron’s or getting a credit card.  If you don’t fill out the application, you’re not taking that big screen TV home with you!

    But what about asking the landlords questions?  Shouldn’t renters be gathering information too?  The answer is YES!  Renters are entering into a contract that is typically worth thousands of dollars.  Even if the lease is only for one year at $800 a month, that’s a contract worth nearly $10,000!  Would you sign a contract to rent furniture for that amount without knowing some important details?

    Well, lucky I am here to give you this checklist of the 21 most important questions to ask your landlord before signing that lease (other than “how much is the rent?”):

    1. Are any utilities included in the rent? Which ones? If heat is included, who controls the thermostat?
    2. Are the utilities metered separately (in a multi-unit building only)?  If not, how are they divided?
    3. If water and sewer are paid by the tenant, is a copy of the actual bill provided?
    4. If the tenant pays the heat, how well is the property insulated? How old are the windows?
    5. How much are the average utility bills? (Utility companies will also provide the average 12-month bill amount)
    6. How long is the lease?  What happens when the term is up? Does it go month-to month?
    7. Is the unit air-conditioned?
    8. Are regular extermination services provided? (more important in multi-unit buildings).
    9. Are window treatments included?
    10. Are pets allowed? Is there an additional cost? If dogs are allowed, is there a weight limit?
    11. Is parking available? Is there an additional cost?
    12. Will the unit be ready at the start of the lease?
    13. Who is the emergency contact?
    14. What if I lose my key?
    15. Which appliances are included?  Who maintains them?
    16. Who is responsible for maintenance?  Lawn care?  Snow removal?
    17. Are there sufficient electrical outlets, smoke detectors and phone jacks?
    18. Is the place wired for cable or satellite?
    19. Are laundry facilities included?
    20. Who handles trash removal? Are containers provided?
    21. Do the windows have screens?

    This is not meant to be a complete list of questions, just a good start.  The point is to not be afraid to ask the landlord for information!

    Mike Ferrante is a Realtor with Century 21 Homestar, with over 20 years of experience in construction, property management and real estate investing.  A Cleveland native, Mike has a BS from Heidelberg College in Tiffin, OH and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University, Weatherhead School of Management.

    Rentals in Cleveland. Homes for rent Cleveland.

    Filed under: Forest Hill News & Events, Selling Your House
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