Ask the agent - What you need to know when Renting Property

When renting a property, how do I determine what I can pay?

Before hunting for a rental property, draw up a budget and take a hard look at where your money is going. If you’ve got some time before hitting the market, run the numbers using services such as the RERA rental index. It is recommended that people spend no more than 30 per cent of their income on housing costs. Does that seem doable to you, factoring in debt, commuting and grocery costs, savings and other expenditures? Have a look outside the garden and check what kind of maintenance is required. Ask whether you maintain the garden or if there is a gardener that comes around. If so, check what their duties are. If you have a green thumb and want to set up a veggie garden, ask if it would be fine to do so. Keep in mind that in addition to rent, you’ll need to budget for utilities and other potential extras such as parking, storage and others. And that’s in addition to fees for moving and furnishings.

What do I need to consider when checking out properties?

What neighbourhoods do you travel to and from, daily or weekly?

Do you drive to work or take public transit, or would that vary depending on your choice of neighbourhood?

Consider what you do on weekends and ask yourself if you want to live near those places and activities. Or, is it convenient to live elsewhere?
If you work late or if you rise early, are there grocery stores and pharmacies open during the hours you need to shop? Are there hospitals, clinics or structures offering emergency care nearby?

In terms of education, choosing a rental property in a specific school district is important. You may also want to evaluate schools/kindergartens to narrow down your list of potential neighbourhoods to check out.

What features should I seek in the property I am renting?

Beyond a basic bedroom and bathroom count, ask if there is other “nice-to-have” versus essential features.

Do you want an outdoor garden or balcony, or access to a backyard or common pool?

Will you be setting up a home office? Do you need a play area for the kids or a nook within one of your home’s rooms where you can place your workstation?

Would you be willing to live on the ground floor, use stairs or take your chances on street parking? Measure the rooms. Ensure that not only will your prized designer dining table or antique bed fit in the room, but that you’ll actually be able to get it through the door.

The location of the television antenna, power points, telephone and outlets can make a difference in the way you lay out your furniture and electronics. Make sure that you’re happy with where you are going to place them.

Which rental type should I choose and why?

This will depend on which lease term you prefer and how much space you require.

Depending on your market and your needs, you can choose from a wide variety of homes offered by different landlords.

If you’re looking for a short-term rental (six months or less), you may want to investigate a holiday home or timeshare brokers (taking over someone else’s lease or renting direct from an owner). For long-term rentals (typically 12 or more months), you’ll find a wide variety of options on listings portals.

Does the property have roller doors or shutters? Check to see if they are electronic or if you have to manually open and close them.

If there is car parking, check how many spaces.Have a look at the local parking signage as you may require a parking permit. If in doubt about anything, ask the agent. Avoid making assumptions which may lead to headaches later.

Question of the Week:

Can you explain what a lease agreement is and what it contains.

A lease agreement is essentially a contract spelling out the terms of your rental including when it begins and ends, the amount of deposit and how it is to be treated, who (if more than one resident will live in the unit) is responsible for payments, rules on the use of space, what is and isn’t included (utilities, for instance) and other factors.

Many aspects of a lease are negotiable, ranging from the lease term (or length of time you’ll live there) like one month free on a 12-month lease or reduced-price parking. You can even negotiate for the landlord to tackle light remodeling or let you paint the walls for a fee. Landlords may also place conditions before accepting you as a renter.

Typically, when you move in, you provide the landlord with a security deposit equivalent to one month’s rent as well as the first month of rent. The deposit must be returned to you at move-out. If you damage the home beyond “normal wear and tear,” the landlord may retain part of the deposit. A “normal wear and tear” varies by landlord. But generally, it might mean the place could use a light carpet cleaning or paint touch-ups, while excessive wear and tear might mean the carpet is so stained it needs to be replaced or that walls have holes in them where you installed a piece of art or furniture.

In some markets, if you use a broker or real estate agent, you need to pay a fee for their services. Depending on the one you choose, fees can vary from a flat 5 per cent of the lease amount.

Source: Freehold

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