Home Renting Tips Edmonton
With thousands, if not tens of thousands, of adults in their 30s & even in their 40s going back to school, renting is on the rise more than ever before. Even for working professionals, renting has increasingly become a more attractive option relative to facing the costs & other hassles of buying an accommodation.
When deciding to rent an accommodation, first order of business is to find yourself a realtor or agent. When hiring a realtor, one has to be extra careful of agents who ask for brokerage charges & other dubious fees for services rendered. Negotiate & bargain with your realtor & do not accept his or her commission figure as sacrosanct. As a customer, you have the right to ask for a fair deal & return on your investment.
As a rule of thumb, your landlord-to-be will traditionally ask for one month’s rent as deposit & one month’s rent in advance. Slight deviation from this norm is commonplace but any substantial deviation to this universally accepted practice should be avoided at all costs.
Before signing upon the dotted line, make sure that you have read your tenancy agreement astutely. What are the rules & regulations that you have to adhere to when living upon the premises? Are you allowed to bring pets? What are the rules behind the visit of family & friends? By what date of each month is the rent due? What are the valid grounds for eviction & what is the notice period towards vacancy? Many landlords often prefer Joint Agreement of all tenants in which case, every tenant shares a joint responsibility towards the lease. In a Joint Tenancy, when a tenant defaults on payment of rent, maintenance or any other bill, the said deficit is jointly borne by the remaining tenants. Your landlord is entitled to keep withhold your security deposit or at least a portion of it if some other tenant had defaulted on any kind of payment even if it not your fault at all.
As per laws across most western developed countries, when you submit a security deposit, your landlord is expected to invest the same with a financial instrument within a stipulated period of time from the date of payment & intimate you about the complete details of the same. Usually this is in the form of some government run tenancy deposit protection scheme which safeguards your cash.
Furthermore, these schemes & services run by the government also offer dispute resolution provisions should any arise between landlord & tenant over said deposit.
If you are a student or a minor in some form, your landlord may choose to ask for a guarantor – a person who will vouch to cover the deficit if you default on your payments or cause damage of any form. When a guarantor agrees to vouch for a tenant in a Joint Agreement, he thereby automatically makes himself liable to the collective responsibility that holds every tenant responsible. For example, your guarantor – mom, dad etc. could potentially be held responsible for the wreck that any other tenant could reap upon the property if the agreement so stipulates. Of course, guarantors can protect themselves against such provisions by incorporating proper clauses into the agreement in advance.
When going through the tenancy agreement, make sure to evaluate the stated inventory very closely. This doesn’t just include the items mentioned on the list but also the conditions in which they are being given to you. Should an inventory not be readily available, make sure you draft one yourself to avoid any future hassles. Either way, ensure that the document is signed by an independent witness before you hand over a copy of the same to the landlord.
When dealing with the monthly bills over & above the rent, make sure that you are getting a fair bargain. Research into the competitive fees that internet carriers charge for Wi-Fi, energy suppliers charge for electricity etc. If a cheaper & more viable option is available in your locality, bring it to the notice of your landlord & ask him to make the switch. If he refuses, ask him to share the reasons why. Insist on getting a bargain on your bills. Many landlords purposefully subscribe their tenants on more expensive plans or schemes & take a cut in commission from the provider in return.
Before renting an apartment, ensure that all safety precautions are in place & functional. This pertains to infrastructural provisions such as an emergency exit, electrical provisions such as fire alarms, sprinklers, hygiene & sanitation arrangements such as water hose, fire extinguishers etc. Check with the landlord for all relevant documents pertaining to the complex such as building insurance, ownership agreement, registration of the property as a tenancy outlet etc.
If possible, keep video or photographic record of the apartment in the condition in which the landlord hand overs the property. This will come in handy should any form of dispute arise when vacating the premises.
Last but not least, when leaving the premises permanently, make sure the landlord hands over your security deposit to you within a reasonable time (not more than a fortnight) after relinquishing possession. If you have occupied said premises for a duration of, say, one year then the wear & tear that is a result of time & usage cannot be held against you & your landlord will not be able to deduct any amount from your deposit. Only when it can be proven that there has been breakage or damage of otherwise functioning property will the question of forfeiture arise.
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