BROKER TIPS: What the Tenant Needs to Know Before Renting a Property

June 7, 2020
Things to know before renting a property

BROKER TIPS: What the Tenant Needs to Know Before Renting a Property

Renting your first condominium unit or are you thinking of moving to a new home? Some properties offer great amenities and this could be an advantage. The real estate boom provides plenty of varied affordable options to renters now. Most units offer competitive rates, in fact. More than the rental price and condition of the home, what are the things a tenant needs to check before finally moving in a new property?  There are a lot of considerations to think of. After all, renting a property is still a big commitment that should be carefully studied to ensure a hassle-free time residing in your new home.

We have put together here some of the things that a tenant needs to know before renting a property:

1. Take a walk around and look for basic conveniences and services.

Is the place near your work or school?  If you spend at the very least about 40 hours of your time in the office, then you shouldn’t be spending more time in your commute. It just doesn’t make sense as well to pay for high transportation costs when you can have a place where you can just walk along or nearby. In addition, it is best to make sure that your chosen home will be accessible to places you frequently go to such as the banks, supermarkets. drugstores, fast food restaurants and shopping centers. Perhaps, there’s a higher price for being in a convenient area but the time you would be saving is priceless.

Another thing to look forward to is if the place you are renting has easy access to other parts of the city. Is there available public transport? Thus, a condo unit or apartment that is close to public bus stops, train stations and where taxis are readily available is a great advantage.

Still, another thing is if a hospital or any healthcare facility is nearby in case of medical emergencies.  We all know that safety is an essential factor when looking for a place to stay or live. Even if the house itself or the building is flawlessly built and secure – it is even better and safe that it can be easily reached by the police or fire brigade in case of an emergency.

2. Explore and know the people in the neighborhood.

If you’re looking for a place to rent, it would be great if it’s located in a pleasant neighborhood. If you’re moving into an area you are already familiar with or that’s nearby to where you are staying now, you already have an edge in knowing what to expect should you finally decide on the prospective property.  Talk to people around.  Are there more students than professionals and families living in the area? Perhaps, there would be more students if the place is a mere walk to a big college or university.  Is the vicinity quiet or does it make a lot of commotion and noise during day and night? Have lunch, dinner or coffee at a local restaurant or coffee shop. Have a friendly chat with a resident of the property’s staff to get a different perspective of the neighborhood. You may also schedule visits at different times of the day and at different days in the week.

3. Check security.

Does the place have good security? If you are looking for a short-term or long-term stay, security is very important. It is a deal-breaker, to say the least. If you are looking for a modern condominium, are there guards who would wave at every vehicle going through the property? Are they just casually checking or do they thoroughly do it?  Also, a good point to look at is if the building management requires its guards to escort every delivery or courier personnel to the unit to ensure safety?    Also, does the place have CCTV cameras in place? Are the surroundings protected with a well built-in fence?  It will be helpful to know if there are certain security protocols being implemented in your potential unit or apartment. In this way, you will know firsthand if the measures are lax or strict. Having a condo 24-hour security is one factor that most tenants are considering as a top priority in looking for a home.  You may need to also check the inside of the house – like if there are window grills in place? How about the power/electricity – are there safety nets to ensure that the wirings are properly done and there will be no accidents waiting to happen?  Check all these safety and security details so you will have peace of mind later on.

 4. Know and understand the contract terms.

The first question to ask is “How much is the rent?” Location clearly defines the cost of the rent, as well as space itself, should be considered. You may want to research other similar properties around the area and compare if the rental price is fair enough.  What are the dimensions of your unit and see if it falls within the prevailing market rates?  How much is the deposit is being asked – it maybe one-month or two-month deposit and a one month’s rent in advance before a tenant moves in? In general, it should not be more than this. What are the conditions for the refund of deposit? This should be clearly stated in the tenancy agreement (a tenancy agreement is basically a contract made between 2 parties: the owner-landlord and the tenant/renter with all the terms and conditions in it).  What are the conditions for refund of deposit?  Conversely, the deposit should be forfeited if the tenant fails to settle any outstanding bills during his stay, or if the tenant has caused any damage to the property. If you’re aiming to get the full amount of deposit once your lease contract expires, ensure that everything is in proper condition before you leave.

Note that if you think you’ll be staying in a particular property for more than a year, having a longer tenancy agreement (at least one year) is more rational and sensible. This may probably allow you to bargain for a lower rent. Normally, landlords charge higher for shorter stays or leases. Frequent tenant turnovers, such as 6 months or shorter than that cause higher expenses for the landlord. But be sure to fulfil what was agreed upon: tenancy agreements generally specify that if the tenant fails to complete the lease duration, the deposit will not be refunded.

There are also provisions on lease extensions and rent increases that you need to know. Are you aware that condo owners are allowed to increase rental rates upon renewal of the lease? Or every year? Normally, the increase should not be more than 10 percent of the current monthly rental rate. For some, they tend to negotiate with the landlord for the current rental rate to remain as is should they decide to renew their contract for another year. Many owners would usually give in to this tenant’s request, more so, if you have been a good tenant. A landlord would rather receive a stable revenue for one more year than have an idle, non-earning property.

Conditions for termination should also be stipulated in the contract. Know if termination due to unexpected circumstances (such as property sale by the owner, building damage due to weather/typhoon or unforeseen circumstances like an earthquake) are included. Know the terms so there will be no surprises for you later on.

As you make your final decision on the property you want to rent, go over the lease agreement again and do not wait for the landlord to educate you. It should be your responsibility as a tenant to familiarize yourself well with all the details in your tenancy agreement. You and your future landlord can also agree on adding or deleting any provisions as necessary as you make your final contract.

5. Check and know all the rules.

From knowing whether there are particular visiting hours for guests, or if you can put up frames on the walls, or whether pets are allowed – it pays to ask your questions and know all these rules before signing the agreement to ensure you’re getting the perfect place for you. No matter how trivial a term, rule or provision appears to you – you must take into consideration all these essential items as you read, finalize and sign the tenancy agreement.  

Renting a condo, apartment or any property for that matter, as we’ve mentioned, is a commitment that can cost you much if you have signed a contract that you disagree within the first place. So, study everything, decide and relax. You are moving into your new home sooner than you think.

Lastly, the most important tip is that while is best to be meticulous, don’t waste your time waiting for the next deal. You might be thinking that it’s a good idea to delay your decision and then wait for the next apartment or unit that will be open up for rent.  Mind you, the best deal is the one that was seized at a moment’s notice. Of course, still after careful and thorough consideration. But remember, do not wait for things to happen or you might regret it!