Five points to check before signing a lease agreement

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Finding the right place to call home that ticks all the boxes and suits your budget is a big ask.

When you do find your new home, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement and rush into singing a new lease, without checking the important stuff that might come back to bite you later on. Before you put pen to paper, make sure you’ve checked the following five points: 

Don’t rely on verbal agreements: During the process of viewing and agreeing to rent a certain property, many conversations are had between agent, landlord and tenant. Topics might include the allocation of parking, repairs, or even the removal of certain items of furniture. It’s vital that all of these items are documented in the final lease agreement to avoid any misunderstandings or surprises down the line.

Create a relationship with your agent: Chances are high that you’ll be in contact with the property professional assigned to manage your property – so get to know the agent. Take a moment, while deciding on the property, to get to know your agent and understand how they work. How do they want you to pay rent? What are their procedures when something goes wrong? Do they perhaps make use of a property management platform like PayProp, offering a tenant portal to make your life easier with automated invoicing, payment tracking and professional money handling?

Go back for a second viewing: Seeing the property more than once, at different times of the day, is crucial. If your first visit was in the morning, possibly on a warm sunny day, visit the property again under different conditions. An evening visit or a colder day will help you understand how light and temperature affect your new home. 

Spend time documenting the condition of the property: Once your lease agreement expires, an inspection of the property will be done to see if there has been any damage. In the event that damaged or faulty items are found, the cost to repair these items will be deducted from your initial damage deposit, unless they were listed in the property inspection at the start of the lease. As a tenant, you should accompany the agent for this inspection to ensure that nothing is missed, and make sure you’re happy with their report before signing. 

Ask about additional charges: Tenants are responsible for various additional charges that are included and itemised in the lease agreement. These often include electricity usage, water usage, refuse removal, sewerage and sanitation, and sometimes Wi-Fi, parking or a surcharge on maintenance. When you budget for your rented accommodation, include all the additional costs that you are liable for as well as the rent.

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