Five Things You Need To Know Before Your Family Signs A Lease

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Whether you are renting for the first time or are a highly experienced tenant, you still need to do your research before signing your name on that dotted line. The last thing you want to do is put yourself and your family in a miserable situation because you choose a landlord whose policies you find disagreeable. Before you and your family sign your lease, there are five questions you must ask.

What Is Included With Your Rent?

What is included with your rent will vary considerably between landlords. Some landlords will cover all utilities while others will only cover just water or electricity. Some landlords will cover trash pickup while others require you to pay for a service to remove your garbage. Sometimes, other amenities are part of your rent such as pool access, parking, and storage. Other landlords may require you to pay additional fees for such amenities. It is important that you ask what is covered as part of your rent so you know what you will be responsible for paying.

What Is Your Rent Policy On Guests?

Many landlords have different rules regarding guests. Some landlords will only allow for brief stays while others are more flexible and do not care if guests stay over for extended periods. Some landlords do not allow guests at all. Ask what the policies are concerning guests before signing your lease, so you do not find yourself in a Precarious situation if you invite friends and relatives to come to stay. If you violate the guest policy, you risk voiding your lease and needing to quickly find a new place to live.

Ask If Rental Insurance Is Required

While there is no state or federal law mandating that you have a renters insurance policy, many landlords today require that you have rental insurance to rent from them. Some landlords will include a clause in their leasing agreements stating that proof of a policy is required, and the policy must be maintained throughout the entire duration of your stay. There are six reasons why landlords may require you to have renters insurance.


  1. Renter’s insurance provides coverage that protects the tenant’s personal effects. Many tenants argue that they do not need renters insurance and believe that requiring it is unfair as some will even go as far as asking the question, “Does landlord insurance cover tenant damage?” While landlord insurance will cover property that the landlords own, such as apartment buildings, townhomes, and single family homes, in the event they become damaged by tenant actions, natural disasters, or some other act of God; however, landlord insurance will not cover any damages to tenant-owned property.
  2. Having renter’s insurance lowers the likelihood of lawsuits. If there is a fire in the property that causes tenants to lose their personal belongings, they may try and sue their landlords to recuperate the cost. If all tenants are insured, the chances of lawsuits are slim as the tenants can just file a claim with their insurance companies to recover what they have lost.
  3. Renter’s insurance provides personal liability protections for landlords. If guests get injured while on the landlord’s property, tenants may try to sue the landlord to recover the cost of damages. Renter’s insurance provides personal liability coverage that will pay for medical and legal expenses if someone is injured.
  4. Renter’s insurance covers relocation costs if tenants cannot stay in the unit for a time due to repairs needing to be made. Sometimes, unfortunate events occur that require tenants to vacate their homes and reside in hotels for a time. Having a renters insurance policy frees the landlords of the responsibility of paying relocation costs because renters insurance policies provide loss-of-use coverage that will pay for lodging, laundry, and food during the time the tenants must remain out of their homes.
  5. Renter’s insurance makes it more enticing for landlords to allow pets. Many renter’s insurance policies have pet liability coverage. If you have pets you want to move with you, landlords will e more likely to adopt pet-friendly policies and allow your pets to stay if you communicate that you have a policy with pet liability coverage because landlords will have peace of mind that they will not be held responsible if your pets bite or injure someone.
  6. Renter’s insurance proves tenants more reliable. Even if you encounter landlords who do not require renters insurance, they will be impressed if they see that you carry a renters insurance policy because this conveys to landlords that you are responsible, cautious, and care about your surroundings.

How Much Notice Do I Need To Give Before Moving Out?

How much notice you need to give depends on the terms set forth in the lease. Some landlords require that you provide one month’s notice while others will require you to provide as much as three months’ notice. Additionally, ask if there are any provisions if you need to relocate on short notice such as if you need to move to care for a sick relative or you have received an offer for a job you cannot resist. You want to confirm these terms before you sign your lease so you do not wind up in a bine later if you need to relocate.

What Is Your Policy On Pets?

Pet policies can vary significantly between landlords. Some landlords may only allow cats. Other landlords may allow dogs but have restrictions on size or breed. Many pet policies only allow for a certain number of pets. Some landlords will require you to pay a pet deposit along with pet rent while others will require you to pay nothing additional. It is a good idea to ask about such policies before signing your lease.

Asking these questions before signing your lease will ensure you choose a landlord that will be the right fit for you and your family. Your renting experience will be more enjoyable because you will know what to expect, and you will choose a landlord whose policies will not impact you negatively.