Rental Agreement Negotiation Tips for Your Lease

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Rental Agreement Negotiation Tips for Your Lease OK, you’ve found the perfect pad, it’s the right size, you know just where you’ll put the sofa and your collection of African tribal masks, it’s on the right side of town and it’s at the right price – bingo! Sign on the dotted line and call the removal firm. Whoooa, hold your horses a minute, keep that deposit firmly in your pocket for just a little while longer, you might want to just take your time to study the lease and make sure that everything is covered. Once you sign the lease it’s binding, and you have to make sure that all of your little verbal agreements are down in black and white, just to be on the safe side for you and your landlord.

Price – ok, if you’re renting in a large apartment complex the rent might be fixed, but if you’re renting a private apartment or duplex, for example, there might be a little room for negotiation. All landlords need to have their properties occupied, and if they think that they’ll get some good tenants by giving a small price concession they might just agree to it, especially if there are a large percentage of empty properties in the area, or better still, in that block. Try it out, you never know. Some landlords will agree to a small reduction if you promise to pay the rent before the first of the month for example, you never know what financial obligations they have themselves. NB – maybe you didn’t negotiate the price before you moved in to your rental property, but there’s nothing to stop you from having a go before you renew your lease is there, especially if you’ve been a model tenant and always paid your rent on time!

Maintenance – anything which is verbally agreed must be written on the contract in order for it to be binding. If it is the landlords responsibility to keep the garden tidy or clear the snow from the path, for example, make sure that it’s all down in black and white before the first flush of winter and you find yourself snowed in! Likewise any communal areas, if it is the responsibility of the landlord to keep them clean, make sure it’s down in writing otherwise you could soon find yourself having to trek through a pile of litter just to get to your front door.

Tradeoff Agreements – people who are good with their hands (not like that!! what are you lot like?) might be able to trade a few odd jobs in return for a reduced rent when necessary. Make sure that this is in the lease too, as well as who is responsible to fetch and pay for any materials.

The Walkabout – I don’t mean when the Australian aborigines disappear for weeks on end, I mean when you and your new landlord walk about the place and agree on what’s there, what’s good and what’s not!  Just remember that your security deposit goes towards paying for any damages, so if there is any damage already evident in the place make sure that you point it out and get it in writing. You don’t want to be charged for a new hand washbasin to replace the cracked one if it was cracked in the first place do you? As you go through each room, don’t just think about where you’ll put your stuff but look at the actual state of what’s there. Carpets can be a big problem, you need to know whether it will be viable for you to have the carpets cleaned before you eventually leave the property so that you can be sure of your deposit being returned. Outweigh the costs against each other.

Decorating – ask if you are allowed to paint the walls, for example, if necessary. The important thing is to get everything down in writing so that both you and your landlord know exactly what is permitted and what is not, that way you can save the both of you lots of trouble and cash.

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