What to ask before signing a lease - AmericaNowNews.com

What to ask before signing a lease

Let's assume you've done your homework on the neighborhood where you want to lease. 

You've called the chamber of commerce, maybe the police precinct serving that neighborhood -- getting a feel for safety, schools and amenities.

You've had a chance to surf sites like the ones consumer resource LifeHacker recommended -- sites like PadMapper and Apartments -- to whittle it down to just the right community.

You've checked the landlord's Better Business Bureau record, if applicable, and you've determined the local neighborhood association allows homeowners to rent or lease their properties.

The landlord's on the up-and-up. You've toured the property. You're ready to sign.

Not until you've asked these five questions, according to LifeHacker and Consumer Union's The Consumerist:

* HOW OLD IS THE WIRING? Is it the original electrical system, or has it been repaired, maintained or replaced? Are their enough outlets and power to accommodate your electronics?

* HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN VACANT? The longer it's been empty, the more likely it's hiding some problems.

* DO ALL OF THE APPLIANCES WORK?

* HOW DO I REPORT EMERGENCY MAINTENANCE? If the toilet clogs on New Year's Eve, do you call your landlord, a plumber -- or are you on your own?

* WHAT DO YOU DO FOR PEST CONTROL? Does the landlord have a treatment contract? If so, what kind of treatment? What kind of chemicals? Is there a separate contract for termite treatment and prevention?

One more thing:  read that lease line-by-line. I mean, really read it. You might even have a lawyer look it over.

Because I'll bet your first month's rent that noisy neighbors, a missing security system, break-in's and previous tenant abuse are not grounds for canceling it. 

Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.

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