What Questions Should I Ask Before Signing a Lease? - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Jul 21, 2023

What Questions Should I Ask Before Signing a Lease?

Ask These 7 Key Questions Before Signing a Lease!

Deciding to move into a new apartment can be exciting! Chances are, you’ve already received a majority of the information you will be needing such as the monthly cost of rent and what utilities may be included. Unfortunately, amidst all the excitement, some important details may be overlooked. It is critical that you ask your potential landlord about these details before signing a lease! 

Are There Any Additional Move-In Fees?

You might think that you just need to pay the first month’s rent in order to move in. In actuality, you will often need to pay additional costs upfront such as your last month's rent, a security deposit, administrative fees and possible maintenance fees. If you have animals, you may also be charged a pet deposit. It’s important to ask about all the additional costs before signing a lease so that you are not caught off-guard when move-in day arrives.

To What Extent Can You Decorate Your Space?  

One of the downfalls of renting an apartment, is that oftentimes personalization will be restricted. These restrictions will vary from landlord to landlord, however, most often they will ask you to refrain from painting the walls and hanging art or shelving. Although some landlords may be more strict than others, it’s good to know what the rules are, before being penalized for breaking them. 

Are Pets Allowed? 

This is huge, especially if you are already a pet-owner. You will want to know what limitations your lease may have, as well as any additional fees that may come along with having a pet on premises. Pets can often become a point of conflict between landlords and tenants, so is it important to learn everything you can about their pet policy before stepping anywhere near a lease. 

How is Maintenance Handled?   

This too will vary from apartment to apartment, so you will want to find out what your building’s specific policies are before something goes wrong.  For example, it would be unfortunate if a pipe were to burst, leaving you scrambling to figure out what to do next, while your apartment is flooding. If your landlord doubles as your contact for maintenance, make sure to have their number handy, and if not, ask who you should call specifically in the event something goes wrong. 

What Safety Precautions Have Been Put in Place? 

One of the most important questions you can ask when it comes to a new apartment is whether or not the locks will be changed between your move-in date and the prior tenants’ exit. You might be surprised by the answer! Unfortunately, if the locks aren’t changed, that can mean strangers who may have created copies of the previous tenant’s keys would have access to your new home. You will also want to be sure your unit has a deadbolt lock and that you are aware of any additional safety features. For added security, you may consider purchasing your own alarms and/or doorstop. 

What is the Lease Renewal Process Like? 

Many landlords will build automatic renewals into your lease or contract. Oftentimes, they will require you to give notice within a certain timeframe if you wish to leave after your initial term. If your lease is broken it can lead to hefty fees.

Is Renters Insurance Required? 

It’s important to know that some landlords and leasing offices will require you to obtain a renters insurance policy. If it is something that they require, they will likely ask for proof of your policy prior to your move-in date.
Whether or not it's required, renters insurance is always a good investment. Renters insurance is surprisingly inexpensive and extremely cost effective. It provides liability coverage, world-wide contents coverage and can assist with the necessary additional living costs you may acquire if you were to be displaced in the event of a covered loss. Check out the link below to learn more about obtaining a renters policy through NYCM Insurance and find an agent near you.