Anyone who has looked for a rental home at least once in their lives knows that the best deals should be snapped up as soon as they appear. When you find a place you like for a reasonable price, the rush to close the lease can often mean you make some silly mistakes, accepting terms you may come to regret later.
Here are the ten things you absolutely must avoid when renting a property:
- Not reading the rental contract from top to bottom: You should read the lease agreement carefully not once, but several times over. So as not to have the pressure of reading it in front of the landlord, you can ask for a copy to be mailed to you.
- Renting from (or renting out to) a family member, friend or acquaintance without a contract: Renting the property to or from someone you trust at a reduced price may seem like a good idea, but you never know what could happen.
- Not negotiating over the price or raising any issue that worries you: If you think that the price is too high, try haggling over it, or if one of the clauses in the contract is unfair, you should say so. You lose nothing just by saying it and can avoid unpleasantness later on.
- Accepting verbal agreements that the landlord doesn’t want to include in the lease: If the landlord promises you something verbally but refuses to include it in the contract, there is no guarantee that they will keep their word. It is always better to have everything in writing.
- Not signing all the pages of the contract: The experts recommend signing both copies of every single page of the contract so that the content cannot be changed.
- Not checking the condition of the flat before signing the lease: The deposit you pay to the landlord is used to cover damage caused to the property by the tenant. To avoid being accused of breaking something that was already damaged, it is best to check the condition of the apartment first.
- Not putting all the defects of the property down in writing: Make a list of all the property’s defects and include this as an annex to the contract.
- Paying in advance: Never pay anything in advance until you see the house and sign the contract. If you’re required to put down a deposit to reserve the place, it is very important to specify the reasons for the payment, how much it is and what happens if, for instance, you don’t end up moving in.
- Accepting all the landlord's conditions: There are owners who are so scared of renting to the wrong person that they cross the line between safe rent and unfair conditions. Do not accept a contract like this, but try to reach an agreement with the landlord for better conditions.
- Agreeing to pay for expenses you don’t owe: Before renting an apartment, it is best to check carefully what expenses the landlord owes and what expenses the tenant owes. The contract should specify the repair costs to be paid and who pays them.
From the original Spanish article: 10 errores básicos a la hora de alquilar un piso