10 Questions You Should Ask Before Signing a Lease

Hand with a pen next to a contract

Whether looking for a rental in Albuquerque or just outside Santa Fe, finding the right place to call home can feel daunting. Before you sign, cover all the bases by knowing what to ask before renting an apartment and thoroughly discussing the terms with your potential landlord.

1. What Are the Lease Terms?

When considering a rental, start by asking your landlord about the length of the lease. The lease term length will determine how long you commit to living in that rental. While some operate monthly, others can lock you in for a year or more. Knowing the length upfront can help save money and time if you only need a short-term lease.

2. What Does the Rent Include?

You’ll want to know if you need to pay utilities separately, if they come bundled with the rent and if any other costs are associated with living in the property. If looking at a condo, you might need to pay a monthly fee for common area maintenance. Also, be aware that some apartment buildings charge additional fees for parking or storage space.

3. How Do Tenants Pay Rent and When?

Some buildings require tenants to pay rent on the 1st of every month, while others ask for payments on the 15th or 25th. Before committing to a new location, ask which method your landlord uses so you can stay prepared.

4. Can Tenants Have Pets? Are There Any Restrictions?

Whether a current or future pet owner, you should inquire about your landlord’s pet policy. You want to avoid being surprised by a fee when you move in or discovering that your landlord won’t allow cats or certain dog breeds.

5. What Notice Is Required Before Vacating?

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to move out of the apartment before the end of your lease, you’ll need to know how much notice is required. In most cases, if you plan on moving out early, landlords will require a minimum of 30 days’ notice. This notice may vary based on the lease agreement, so ask about the potential for early termination before signing.

6. Can I Alter the Apartment’s Appearance?

Sometimes, you want to make your apartment feel a little more like home. Whether replacing the light fixtures or painting the walls, you can discover creative ways to upgrade your rental. However, your landlord may stipulate what you can and cannot change, so knowing ahead of time will help you avoid any unpleasant surprises after moving in.

7. Will the Security Deposit Be Refunded in Full After I Move Out?

One of the most important questions to ask when leasing concerns the security deposit, as it is often your biggest expense when signing a lease. Know that many landlords will deduct from your security deposit for any damage or missing items upon move-out. If you want to ensure your landlord won’t keep any of your deposit, ask them what you can do to ensure you receive it back in full.

8. What Renters Insurance Is Required?

Renters insurance protects you from financial losses if your possessions are stolen or damaged in an accident. A landlord might require you to purchase this coverage as a condition of the lease agreement.

9. Who Do I Contact in Case of an Emergency?

In case you have an emergency related to the dwelling, ask the landlord or property manager for the phone number of their emergency maintenance line. You should also ask for the name of the person you would be talking to if you called in a situation where there was a fire, flood or other catastrophic occurrence. The landlord should give you this information without hesitation.

10. When Can I Move In?

The answer to this question will depend on several factors, including the availability of your new home, the length of time you plan to live there and whether you have a lease agreement ready. If you’re planning on moving ASAP, you’ll want to confirm the availability and ensure that there are no issues with the lease terms before signing.

Find Your Dream New Mexico Rental Today

Now that you know what questions to ask when renting an apartment and what to look for in a management group, it’s time to start looking for your dream New Mexico rental. Browse current rental listings from Elevated Management Group, LLC, today!